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Sampling Masters Presents Julianna's Tsunashima :: Review by Chris

Sampling Masters Presents Julianna's Tsunashima Album Title: Sampling Masters Presents Julianna's Tsunashima
Record Label: Troubadour Records
Catalog No.: TTRC-0033
Release Date: August 6, 1999
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Sampling Masters Presents Julianna's Tsunashima -Fake Discotheque in Tsunashima- Vol. 1 is an interesting collaboration between the four Sampling Masters artists. It intends to emulate the feel of a DJ session at a club and get people into the middle of a rave. There is a succession of electronic dance tracks composed by Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, Takayuki Aihara, and Nobuyoshi Sano, albeit under pseudonyms. Uniquely, each tracks transitions to the other without pausing, creating a continuous 48 minute beatfest. Ten years on, there still isn't a sequel and there probably never will be, so Sampling Masters Presents Julianna's Tsunashima suffices as a more concise title. How would the album fare in a club context and what about for stand-alone listening?


Sampling Masters' set is presented by an announcer in Nobuyoshi Sano's short but effective opener "Welcome to Julianna's Tsunashima". Subsequently Shinji Hosoe takes the lead for three tracks to get people on the dance floor moving. "Night in London" seems ideal for doing this, initially offering a lightly stimulating beat before taking things up a notch with the introduction of a heavy anthemic bass line and further elements. The transition to "Control the Unitbath" is smoothly done and maintains the pace and energy. However, the piano-led trance-inspired secondary section also provides the first of several sweeping interludes on the album. "Sotteldomnation" takes a more hardcore approach with distorted accelerating beats. The persuasive vocal samples are reminiscent of "Return of Rottel-gem" from the first Sampling Masters album except without the Indian influence. Either way, this sort of eccentricity is probably just right to make the crowd go wild on the dance floor.

Ayako Saso subsequently makes quite an impact with "James Brown's Still Dead". She assimilates samples from the three main electronica artists referencing him — L.A. Style, Holy Noise, and Traumatic Stress — into a silly crowd-pleasing mix. Now that James Brown is actually dead, though, some might find this even more tasteless than before. And once again, Saso was audacious by incorporating a little explicit language into her mix. "Get Lady For Us" is far more diverse and emotional in terms of vocal use, particularly towards the passionate ending, and is one of the major highlights of the album. The track briskly transitions to Takayuki Aihara's first contribution, "EMU8", an acceptable time-filler with hardcore beats and the occasional arousing lyric. Following onwards, "Don't Bamboo Death" would surely have electric effects during a rave given its darker chord progressions and expressive vocal interludes. It just adds that emotional intensity needed towards the end of a great night.

Moving towards the end of the session, Aihara offers the hard trance item "STHASIA". His most ambitious contribution of the set, the rapid beats and continual contrasts inspire imagery of flashing multicolored lighting on a packed dance floor. Nobuyoshi Sano loses some of the energy of Aihara's contributions with the relative light-hearted "Sesame's Treatment", but maybe this is a good thing to bring the most out of the climax. He still builds up the energy again with intense layering and atmospheric countdowns only to release it again. "The Healing" is the most introspective track on the album with warm wavering synthpads and evocative vocal performances. The last item before the finale, it's bound to get the emotions rising on the dance floor. "On a Ragga Chop" finishes things quite effectively with thrusting rhythms, hyperactive vocals, and emotional interludes. It's not exactly a grand finale, but maybe the night just wasn't meant to end there what with volume 2 once planned...


Whether used on the dance floor or treated as a stand-alone listen, Sampling Masters Presents Julianna's Tsunashima is a great experience. It has the hard-edged tracks needed to get listeners moving, the darker and reflective tracks needed to add to the emotions of the night, and a few quirky additions to make the crowd go wild. It'd be fascinating to see this played in an actual alternative club as the response could be quite spectacular. It's nonetheless just as enjoyable as earlier Sampling Masters albums on an individual level thanks to the emotion, variety, and experimentation found within. It's just a pity there wasn't a sequel since the artists did a great job here and were clearly preparing for the mix to continue. All in all, a great purchase for fans of electronic dance music.

Overall Score: 8/10