Review

Various Artists

Wamono Disco: Nippon Columbia Disco & Boogie Hits 1978-1982

180g • 2024

The Wamono series return with their fifth compilation album, celebrating the best Japanese disco tracks from the legendary Nippon Columbia label released in the late 70s and early 80s. With Wamono loosely meaning vintage music made in Japan, the series continues the work by DJs Yoshizawa Dynamite and Chintam who released their 2015 book ‘A to Z Japanese Groove Disc Guide’ introducing over a thousand rare, Wamono records. It has become an encyclopaedia for the Japanese groove scene – a Resident Advisor feature ‘The Japanese reissue phenomenon’ explores this subculture in great detail.

For this next record focusing on disco, the vibe is fun from the first second to the last. Godiego’s ‘Monkey Magic’ begins with an arpeggiating synth that ripples into a big band sound, with the synth solos getting crazier throughout. »Disco Great Tokyo« harnesses the full power of the soaring strings section, whilst ‘This Is Hot’ feels like an ABBA disco track with the groove right on the pulse.

Soul Media’s ‘I Will Give You Samba’ honours Brazilian jazz funk with the piano riff adding a bounce for the bass to pop off to and the horns section to deliver slick stabs. The dramatic love song ‘Hazumi De Daite’ rounds off the album in the vein of Teena Marie. Wamono are developing a notoriety for producing some of the best reissues, and once again they catapult long lost Japanese hits back into our collections and onto the dancefloors.