Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hiroshi Sato - Super Market (1976)

Some readers may know the late Japanese pianist Hiroshi Sato from his excellent Awakening record with Wendy Matthews, or his work with folks like Haruomi Hosono and Tatsuro Yamashita (who, according the Japanese Wiki, called him Japan's greatest pianist). We have some other great, if more subdued albums of his however, starting with Super Market, his 1976 debut. There are some funky jams here, but nothing approaching the heights of the best Boogie or City Pop sounds that would appear in the next few years in Japan, in our opinion. What we're really digging are the Wilson-influenced, lightly fusion/"island sounds" rays caught from tracks like "レインボー・シーライン" and "Night in L.A.".

While it's difficult to find a detailed list of contributors without a physical copy, such notables as Shuichi "Ponta" Murakami, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Minako Yoshida, Kenji Omura, Yoshida Minako and
Kenji Takamizu appear on the record.

A3F. W. Y.
A5Night In L.A.
B1High Times
B5For Jun


"The Essential… Yellow Magic Orchestra"

Mikey IQ Jones has written a really nice primer on YMO and YMO-related music at FACT. Just the tip of the iceberg to be sure, but still worth a read. Even includes an obtuse reference to this blog at the end--I think.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wax Mask Megamix Vol. 01 - Spain

"La Movida Madrileña" refers to the mid-to-late 70s flowering of subcultural rebellion in post-fascism Spain. With Madrid at core, the movement inspired the creation of liberated music, cinema, comics, literature, etc. By the 80s, the music had mutated beyond punk into various zones and waves. This mix spans the decade, representing new wave and synth pop, power pop, and general upbeat weirdness and provocation. '83 seems to be the peak of creativity, considering how many tracks on this mix were released in that year. I've included some tunes which sound more old-garde classicist pop (Parchis, Jeanette), as well as some late decade, mild mainstream jams. While I stand by all the music on a sonic level, I imagine that the orchestral pop hits here provided the space to move "from" for Alaska and the other scene stars of the movement, with lush production and simple love-song themes. Landing full circle, the jams from '85 and beyond (a decade post-Franco) perhaps represent the dilution of earlier transgressive material. I encourage readers to research individual artists, as riches will surely be discovered. I don't speak Spanish, and I am by no means an expert on this music or its context, so this broad selection will likely seem odd and unfocused to the expert listener. That said, this is an incredibly thrilling 24-track survey of some brilliant music, I can promise that.

I'm very psyched to present the first in a series of Wax Mask era-specific mixes. I put a lot of work into this, so check it out! While a lot of this music I found trawling forums and Filestube, I want to specifically thank the blogs Nuevaola 80s and Toda mi Musik.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Mahjong Touhaiden/ The麻雀・闘牌伝 OST


The seminal VGM podcast, The Legacy Music Hour, has just ended. It's a great show, and has turned us on to a lot of tremendous, obscure video game music in the past year or so. Episode 122: Mahjong Games is a personal favorite, and we owe Rob and Brent big time for leading us to the haunting, experimental soundtrack for Super Famicom game The麻雀・闘牌伝/ The Mahjong Touhaiden. The first track the show played from Mahjong Touhaiden, "Mister Diviner" (or "Mr. Oracle") is an odd, transfixing blend of buried spoken-word vocals, Reichian minimalist composition--Music for 18 Musicians is referenced explicitly--Noh percussion and orchestra hits. Other standouts are "Female Pope", "Dancing Princess", "Dark Side King", "Match 2" and the sublime "To the Waves". To our ears this music recalls at times Saeko Suzuki's score for Jun Ichikawa's No Life King.

Developed by Micronics and released on April 16 in 1993 by Video System/Khaos, The Mahjong Touhaiden is one of many anonymous mahjong games which never stood a chance to be localized for any market outside of Japan. LMH lists as composers Soushi Hosoi and Pirowo. SNESmusic.org doesn't list any other credits for either composer. The SPC file, from which I've ripped these tracks, can be found here.

01. Opening (1:30)
02. Gambling Place (1:12)
03. Item Shop (0:34)
04. Great Rocker (0:57)
05. Force of the Tiger (3:52)
06. Mr. Oracle (4:56)
07. Female Pope (3:55)
08. Dancing Princess (4:43)
09. Good Luck Queen (4:33)
10. Dark Side King (3:17)
11. The Star (4:17)
12. Naniwa no Mahjong Shokunin (2:55)
13. To the Waves (5:10)
14. Path of Royalty (7:57)
15. Match 1 (2:22)
16. Match 2 (3:27)
17. Match 3 (0:47)
18. Match 4 (0:38)
19. Match 5 (1:13)
20. Match 6 (0:37)
21. Match 7 (1:57)
22. Match 8 (1:10)
23. Match 9 (0:38)
24. Fanfare 1 (0:05)
25. Fanfare 2 (0:04)
26. Fanfare 3 (0:09)
27. Ending (0:49)

(more posts soon, promise)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

TT/RS - D-H (1976)

By request. ENJOY.

A Few Things

Check out Pajjama, a good Norwegian band that takes influence from Technopop and game music. The album Starch is well worth owning. Grab the cassette here, or a digital copy.

Jeff over at Convertible to Yokohama has been doing some amazing work, check out his Dip in the Pool mega-post, which I provided some materials for. The blog's really got me beat in both design and research. It's the best.

More posts soon, I swear.