Shinichi Atobe exists out of time, producing material that’s both inimitable and genuine. “From The Heart, It’s A Start, A Work Of Art” was released in May and is perhaps the most unique and enduring of all of his output over the years – easily ranking among our favourite releases of the year. Curiously, it has origins going all the way back to early 2000, when three of the tracks here were originally produced and cut to acetate at D&M in Berlin (in an edition of 5!), presumably lined up as a follow-up of sorts to Atobe’s legendary “Ship Scope” 12” for Chain reaction from the same era. Alas, it wasn’t to be, and almost two decades later these tracks, re-mastered from that original acetate, make up the centrepiece of this amazing record alongside mesmerising newer productions.

The tracks here are effectively some of the Japanese producer’s earliest work, showcasing the sort of tender, feminine pressure that would bubble up on the Ship-Scope EP and later be revealed in his new productions, Butterfly Effect and World yet, for many reasons, would lay sunk in his archive for the next 17 years.

The tracks taken from that acetate are labelled First Plate 1-3 and are quite remarkable, having taken on so much added weight over the years that the incidental crackle of surface noise imbues proceedings with an added dimension that’s hard to fathom. it basically sounds like a lost transmission making its way from Paul-Lincke-Ufer at the turn of the millennium to a new, completely changed world all these years later.

The patina of crackle lends a mist-on-bare skin feeling akin to summer garden parties at Berghain in the stepping First Plate 1, and gives a foggier sort of depth perception to the hydraulic, Maurizian heft of First Plate 2, but it’s the submerged euphoria of First Plate 3 that hits the hardest; a heady, bittersweet reminder of days gone by.

The other four tracks are crisply transferred from master tapes, relinquishing a sublime, impossible to categorise House variant that recalls everything from DJ Sprinkles to Ron Trent, yet with that weird, timeless production style that by now has become something of a signature for this most distinctive and hard to categorise producer. For our money, it ranks among the finest and most distinctive in the Chain Reaction / Shinichi canon.