Koss Ancient Rain

Kuniyuki Takahashi built a reputation through the '00s as a deep house producer and sound designer with a string of excellent twelve-inches on the Mule Musiq label. Under the Koss alias (yes, after the headphone company brand name) he explores the ambient drift typically weathered by Wolfgang Voigt or Thomas Fehlmann. In book ending tracks "Dream" and "Dream (real world)," Kuniyuki keeps things Eastern with gentle Koto arcs that skim through the fog of soft synth pads. The rest of the album has a gentle restlessness, moving between microhouse beats ("Ocean Waves"), wobbly dub accents ("Jumoku") and pure ambient spaciousness ("Ancient Rain"). What's available throughout are layers upon layers of minutia that might escape notice in a noisy room but, once those headphones are on, unlock in the cochlea. After the brief teases on the My Favorite Things label compilations, Ancient Rain is a definitive statement that separates Koss from the ever-thickening pack of serene-ists. (Mule Electronic)