Studio Mule


2019 repress. "Studio Mule present a re-recording of Motohiko Hamase's Intaglio, recorded in Japan, 2018. Originally released in 1986. Currently the rediscovery of long-forgotten Japanese electronic, jazz, and new age music is at a peak like never before. Although many reissues have already hit record stores, the large, diverse musical culture of Japan still got some gems in store that are really missing. For example, the work of Japanese bass player, new age and ambient musician Motohiko Hamase. When the now 66-year old artist started to be a professional musician in the 1970s, he quickly gained success as a versed studio instrumentalist and started to be part of the great modern jazz Isao Suzuki Sextet where he played with legends like pianist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto or fusion guitar one-off-a-kind Kazumi Watanabe. He was also in the studio when legendary Japanese jazz records like Straight Ahead of Takao Uematsu (1977), Moritato For Osada of jazz singer Minami Yasuda (1978), or Moon Stone of synthesizer, piano, and organ wizard Mikio Masuda (1978) were recorded. In the 1980s Hamase began to slowly drift away from jazz and drowned his musical vision in new age, ambient, and experimental electronic spheres in which he incorporated his funky meditative way of playing the bass above airy sounds and arrangements. His first solo album Intaglio is not only a milestone of Japanese new age ambient, it is also a fresh sonic journey in jazz that does not sound like jazz at all. First issued by the Japanese label Shi Zen, the record had a decent success in Japan and by some overseas fans of music from the far east. With seven haunting, stylistically hard-to-pigeonhole compositions, Hamase drifts around new age worlds with howling wind sounds, gentle bass pickings, and discreet drums that mind remind listeners of the power of Japanese taiko percussions. Also, propulsive fourth-world-grooves call the tune and all compositions avoid a foreseeable structure. At large his albums seem to be improvised and yet are deeply composed. Music that works like shuffling through an imaginary sound library full of spiritual deepness, that even spreads, in its shaky moments, some profound relaxing moods. The release marks another highlight in Studio Mule's mission to excavate neglected Japanese music that somehow has more to offer in the present age than at the time of his original birth." - Studio Mule.
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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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