Ten Thousand Yen – headed by Doc Daneeka – is a wonderful label I’ve become aware of within the last year or so. Starting from 10” presses in 2010 and gaining steam along the way, the imprint has featured some truly functional dance music gems time and time again. Of course, the label’s first release of 2017, Letters from Rimbaudian truly did not disappoint.
The sort of groovy minimal-house fusion, which has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, is on full display here. While the tracks are looped and layered with out much evolution in the drums, the melodies are delicate and ghostly. Perhaps the way 10 hours of this kind of music can pass by in what feels like five minutes is why it has been at the forefront of DJ sets at world renowned parties like Re:Solute in New York City.
Things are kicked off on the A-side with “She Taught Me How to Love” – an apt name as the track feels like a splendid new romance; those moments when things seem to be absolutely perfect and effortlessly flowing in the right direction. A simple four bar piano loop sets the tone, while a gorgeous arp flutters around the arrangement growing and falling, grasping for space and then giving it back to the listener just as quickly. Like fresh love, the tune feels like at times it is moving too fast in the best sort of way.
Cut 2 “Drop It On Em” switches gears to a more compressed and warm drum machine arrangement. The vibe of the first track is not sacrificed, though, as even when the drums are more aggressive, the emotional piano loops make a return accompanied by faint pop RnB female vocals. A string section comes in, lending another layer of feeling and thoughtfulness.
“I Would Do Everything I Did Again and Again” can be found on the first grooves of the B-side and further solidifies the motifs already established by the first two cuts. Expert piano work languishes around more sentimental vocal wisps while a tape hiss creates the dated (but modern) sound so many artists are after in today’s dance music world. A cutting shaker encourages the footwork from listeners, but it never excels into true dance-floor rhythm. The tune is so easy to get lost in as it truly reflects the feelings of the title – a constant wondering of what things could have been like, but an optimistic pride they happened to begin with.
Things wrap up with my personal choice tune “I Said Goodbye to Dreams of You at The Shore”. All the sounds of the record are once again present: the moving piano, the soulful vocals of love lost, and the washed out drums that manage to incite a veritable urge to dance despite never truly entering party mode. The piece brings this record full circle from excitement of new romance to the depression following it’s departure, to the somber acceptance of the situational reality.
This record is incredibly beautiful, and made for those unforgettable after party moments. Reminiscent of times when the strangers from the club have left your atmosphere and you’re now surrounded by your loved ones – close friends and significant others. The music plays like a very personal look into someone’s pains and frustrations but also their happiness and joys.
The record is available on Decks.de if you’d like to bundle it with other slabs you’ve had your eye on, but of course the best way to support the release and label is to buy it straight off their Bandcamp page. This is the kind of music that can bring you to tears for realizing all the love you have in your life; a record that will play just as well now as it will in 10 years, and a firm reminder to love freely, love often, and never be scared of doing so.
Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Nick States, of Boston, bought his first vinyl record in 2010 and has been hooked ever since. The record shop tends to be his first stop in an any city he visits.