The 25th anniversary of Towa Tei’s solo debut is fast approaching, and the influential Japanese DJ and producer has two big celebrations in-store that mark the occasion. On Nov. 6, Tei will release a new compilation album primarily collecting songs he’s composed for other artists, while also putting out a new vinyl edition of his debut album Future Listening.
— huginc. (@huginc) October 9, 2019
Arbeit spans two discs and gathers songs that Towa Tei has done for others, or remixes of songs that have popped up over the course of his two-decade-plus career. The first half zeroes in on the prior, featuring numbers he worked on for KOJI1200 and Geisha Girls among many others (the one twist included on the tracklist? Kobe artist tofubeat’s “Suisei,” which samples KOJI1200’s “Blow Your Mind,” produced by Tei). While Tei is mostly known for his solo work and his various group projects, he boasts a pretty stacked credits list, and Arbeit appears to try to highlight some of the best of his work for other artists, plus some examples of his influence tricking down, into one packed-tight offering.
Even more significant is a new vinyl edition of Tei’s debut album, 1994’s Future Listening. Following his time in the New York group Deee-Lite, he pivoted into a solo career. His first offering falls right in the sweet spot between house music and the then-burgeoning Shibuya-kei movement, flirting with the retro-obsessed sound favored by artists such as Cornelius and Kahimi Karie but also having one foot in the club world. It remains one of the better and fresher sounding Japanese albums from that decade — celebrated as such by many magazine lists trying to sort through the ‘90s best albums — and this new version will allow those with a love of records the chance to experience once again.