Sep 6, 2015

Sundaze 1536


Today a renowned Japanese musician. He is best known internationally as a member of the rock band Happy End and the pioneering electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra with Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Hosono has also released many solo albums covering a variety of styles, including film soundtracks and a variety of electronic ambient albums. As well as recording his own music, Hosono has done considerable production work for other artists such as Miharu Koshi, Sheena and the Roketts, Sandii and the Sunsetz, Chisato Moritaka and Seiko Matsuda. The coming weeks some of that will be here to...... N'joy

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Haruomi Hosono (細野 晴臣 Hosono Haruomi, born July 9, 1947 in Minato, Tokyo), also known as Harry Hosono.

Hosono is the grandson of Masabumi Hosono the only Japanese passenger and survivor of the sinking of RMS Titanic. Hosono first came to attention in Japan as the bass player of the psychedelic rock band Apryl Fool, alongside drummer Takashi Matsumoto, who released the album The Apryl Fool in 1969. Hosono and Matsumoto then formed the influential folk rock group Happy End with Eiichi Ohtaki and Shigeru Suzuki. One of the songs he composed for Happy End, "Kaze wo Atsumete" (1971), later appeared in the American film Lost in Translation and on its soundtrack in 2003. After Happy End disbanded around 1974, Hosono worked with a loose association of artists making "exotica"-style music under the title Tin Pan Alley.

His involvement in electronic music also dates back to the early 1970s, when he performed the electric bass for Inoue Yousui's folk pop rock album Ice World (1973) and Osamu Kitajima's progressive/psychedelic rock album Benzaiten (1974), both of which were electronic rock records utilizing synthesizers, electric guitars, and in the latter, electronic drums and rhythm machines.

In 1977, Hosono invited Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi to work on his exotica-flavoured album Paraiso, which included electronic music produced using the Yamaha CS-80 polyphonic synthesizer and ARP Odyssey synthesizer. The band was named "Harry Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band" and, having been recorded in late 1977, Paraiso was released in early 1978. The three worked together again for the 1978 electronic album Pacific, which included an early version of the song "Cosmic Surfin".

In 1978, he released an innovative electronic soundtrack for a fictional Bollywood film Cochin Moon, together with artist Tadanori Yokoo and future YMO band members Ryuichi Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake. Inspired by a trip to India and "the exotic, luxurious, and seemingly wonder-filled scenarios played out in Indian cinemas," it was an experimental "electro-exotica" album fusing exotic Indian music (reminiscent of Ravi Shankar and Bollywood music) with electronic music, including an early "synth raga" song entitled "Hum Ghar Sajan" (from a Guru Granth Sahib phrase). The same year, he contributed to Sakamoto's song "1000 Knives" for his solo album, The Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto, which experimented with fusing electronic music with traditional Japanese music in early 1978.

He was one of the first producers to recognize the appeal of video game sounds and music. YMO's self-titled debut in 1978 contained substantial video game sounds and after YMO disbanded an early project was an album simply titled Video Game Music containing mixed and edited Namco arcade game music and sounds. Video Game Music was released in 1984 as an early example of a chiptune record[9] and the first video game music album. That same year, he also produced the theme song for Hayao Miyazaki's popular anime film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, "Kaze no Tani no Naushika", with vocals by actress-singer Narumi Yasuda. In the late 80s and early 90s, the influence of world music on his music deepened, and he worked with international singers and musicians such as Amina Annabi.

He has produced a number of short term band projects as a band member. His first post-YMO band was Friends of Earth. As with most of his projects he combines musical styles he's interested in. F.O.E. seemed to be a combination of Funk and Techno and included a collaboration with James Brown and Maceo Parker for a remake of the song "Sex Machine". Another notable band project was 1995's Love, Peace & Trance. Members were Mimori Yusa ("Love"), Miyako Koda ("Peace"), Haruomi Hosono ("&") and Mishio Ogawa ("Trance").

In the 1990s he started the Daisyworld label to release a wide range of experimental artists from Japan and the rest of the world. Hosono collaborated on many of the releases, such as World Standard, a trip into Americana; HAT, a supergroup (the acronym stands for Hosono, Atom Heart, Tetsu Inoue),and "Quiet Logic", by Mixmaster Morris and Jonah Sharp. The Orb also paid tribute with a series of remixes including the notorious "Hope You Choke on Your Whalemeat".

In 2002 Haruomi formed the duo Sketch Show with his YMO band-mate Yukihiro Takahashi. They have released two albums, one of which, Loophole, has received a UK release. When the third former YMO member, Ryuichi Sakamoto deepened his involvement it was decided to bill those collaborations as Human Audio Sponge.

In the spring of 2007, his fellow YMO members and other artist paid tribute to Haruomi with a 2-disc album titled "Tribute to Haruomi". That same year, the animated film Appleseed Ex Machina was released featuring a soundtrack performed and supervised by Hosono.

In September 2010 he performed at the De La Fantasia festival and played songs from his upcoming album.

In February 2011 it was announced that his new album, entitled "HoSoNoVa" was to be released on April 20. He also performed a special concert to celebrate its release.

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Cochin Moon is Haruomi Hosono's fifth solo album. Initially a collaboration between Hosono and illustrator Tadanori Yokoo, of whom traveled to India alongside Hosono; Yokoo ended up only drawing the cover, having been the worst victim of an outburst of severe diarrhea amongst the group during the trip, rendering this as virtually a Hosono solo album. Cochin Moon was written to be the soundtrack of a non-existent Bollywood film, a trait inspired by the artists' trip. The album includes performances by Tin Pan Alley keyboardist Hiroshi Satō and Yellow Magic Orchestra members Ryuichi Sakamoto & Hideki Matsutake.

Before performing with Ryuichi Sakamoto in classic Japanese synth pop outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra (or just YMO), producer and onetime session bassist Haruomi Hosono made his share of eclectic music. If you're familiar with YMO, you might imagine he was involved in Kraftwerk-influenced electronic music, or perhaps more traditional pop, but as it happens, he made his name as session bassist and playing in bands like the psychedelic Apryl Fool and folk rockers Happy End-- a far cry from the modernist slant of his reputation in the West. However, he also made a record in 1978 called Cochin Moon with keyboardist Shuka Nishihara, and future YMO bandmates Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake that is arguably more bizarre and forward thinking than anything he's done since.

Cochin Moon-- co-credited to Pop artist Tadanori Yokoo, who did the incredible Bollywood-style cover art-- is an electro-tropical soundtrack to a fake movie of the same name. That is, there was no film called Cochin Moon, but after visiting India, Hosono was inspired to make music suggesting the exotic, luxurious, and seemingly wonder-filled scenarios played out in Indian cinemas. However, the actual sound he and his cohorts came up with is often a world away from India: Imagine a totally electronic world of chattering bugs, fluttering birds, magic harps and drums that alternate between a thud and a blip. Hosono shares compositional duties with Nishihara, and Sakamoto's playing style is readily on display, as are Matsutake's considerable programming skills. As a historical document to YMO fans, Cochin Moon is interesting; as a slice of out-music stuck somewhere between Tangerine Dream, Wendy Carlos and Disney's Fantasia, it's almost classic.

Hosono's "Malabar Hotel" trilogy-- comprised of a "Ground Floor", "Upper Floor" and "Roof Garden"-- occupied the first side of the original LP. The brief "Ground Floor...Triangle Circuit on the Sea-Forest" begins with high-pitched insect-sirens, soft enough to mistake for crickets even when I know analog synths and primitive computers generate them. In the distance are waves breaking on a shore, and soon bass synth notes and alarms go off signaling the transition into the "Upper Floor...Moving Triangle". As a THX-esque sound test introduces fluttering percolations, an off-balanced, Indian-styled beat materializes. Half the beat is on the right, and half on the left; in between, where a snare should be, sits only the call of some robotic frog and a fly that just won't go away. This is tropical, and I can hear a pattern creep up from behind, and what sounds like men chanting. Filtered through an alien vocoder, it's difficult to decipher what they're saying, and as soon as I get close enough to make out the fuzzy, sonic outline of their words, they're interrupted by stuttering bass melody that eventually turns into a demi-cadenza, held afloat by ever more quickly percolating drum machine pulses. Bursts of angelic chord clusters accentuate the ends of melodic phrases, and from out of nowhere come electronic harp glissandi. Up and down, forward and backwards it runs, and soon the fizz of synthetic ocean mist drowns out the pulse, leaving only enough room for the pixie-bell harp, sudden eruptions of lava bubbles and that damn fly.

"Roof Garden...Revel Attack" is born out of the fly's orbit, and introduces squeaky (near glitch) underwater computer blips. They start soft and spaced out, but soon gather momentum, all the while turning the fly buzz into a chorus of warped jet trail. A human voice speaking Japanese dips above the cacophony, and someone appears to be unwrapping a small package on the right. Then, just as suddenly, a synth line reminiscent of the melody from the "Upper Floor" reappears, with digitally harmonized voices supplying watercolor fanfares. The harp returns, in counterpoint with helicopter pulse on the right. The helicopter, apparently not satisfied in its supporting role, grows larger, overwhelming the competing melodies with sprawling whirl, and soon with more watery mist, like a rainstorm called on by a village shaman. And after a while, the storm passes, marked by the toll of a gong. And the fly is still there, buzzing in its lowest register before the gong closes the doors of the hotel and the piece fades into black.

Nishihara's pieces are a bit less exotic, but no less interesting. "Hepatitis" is a shiny, bouncy piece of computer pop that might work well as a soundtrack to a Pixar sci-fi short about robotic fish. The bubbling sound effects are everywhere to be found, while cartoon-y melodies and state-of-1978 synth programming turn what might otherwise overwhelm itself with its own goofiness into something more bizarre. "Hum Ghar Sajan" (apparently, taken from a phrase by Indian guru Granth Sahib) is understated synth raga, as if informed equally by Kraftwerk and Ravi Shankar-- and accurately predicts Asa Chang & Junray's excursions into electro-exotica. A chanted vocal melody gives the song a mystical edge, and its recurring, high-pitched instrumental solo breaks sound straight out of Indian classical music.

"Madam Consul General of Madras" is more tribal, sounding like ritualistic gamelan music meeting head on with the electronic tone poems of Wendy Carlos. Gradually, layers are painted on top, including a spazzed out synth line and more percolated synth patter sounding leftover from the Malabar's lobby, and the piece dissolves into dizzying keyboard clutter and the cricket sirens from the "Ground Floor". And I guess you can check out any time you like, a classic.

Hosono & Yokoo - Cochin Moon (flac 265mb)

Malabar Hotel
01 Ground Floor, Triangle Circuit On The Sea-Forest 2:29
02 Upper Floor, Moving Triangle 8:46
03 Roof Garden, Revel Attack 8:57

04 Hepatitis 4:40
05 Hum Ghar Sajan 8:54
06 Madam Consul General Of Madras 9:05

Hosono & Yokoo - Cochin Moon  (ogg 122mb)

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If the title makes this CD sound like a selection of soundtrack work, you'd be right. Hosono, while not making the big splash in Western soundtrack work as YMO member Ryuichi Sakamoto, has kept steadily busy with music for installations, commercials, TV, even video games (Super Xevious for one). Hosono's melodies and choices of sonic pallet (mostly his banks of synthesizers) are quite close to Sakamoto in their reworking of Asian sounds, particularly on "The Man of China" and "Sayokoskatti." Elsewhere, listeners will be reminded of Eric Satie ("Normandia"), Claude Debussy ("Nokto de la Galaksia Fervojo"), or Nino Rota ("Pietro Germi"). In its own modest way, very satisfying.

Haruomi Hosono - Coincidental Music  (flac 186mb)

01 Lichtenstein's 0:31
02 Pietro Germi 5:30
03 Normandia 2:26
04 The Man Of China 1:50
05 Sayokoskatti 4:45
06 Mazinger "H" 3:14
07 The Plan 0:31
08 Nokto De La Galaksia Fervojo 1:31
09 George Don 1:01
10 Bio Philosophy 4:40
11 Memphis, Milano 10:27

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Mercuric Dance (1985) is all synth with a bit of percussion, though rather monochromatic. Recorded 1983-4. For a modern dance ensemble. A video version is also available.

Haruomi Hosono - Mercuric Dance  (flac 197mb)

1 Sunnyside Of The Water 3:09
2 Mercuric Dance 7:08
3 Formation Of The Venus 5:01
4 Down To The Earth 3:00
5 Fossil Of Flame -Fifty Bell-Trees 8:33
6 Prepared Quartz 3:03
7 Sea Of Tau 9:44
8 Windy Land 5:11
9 To The Air 5:10

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If you're into repetition, "Endless" is the operating word here. Endless Talking was made for an Italian art installation. 13 bright, quirky and repetetive synth pieces. Recorded 25 April 1985.

Haruomi Hosono - The Endless Talking (flac 180mb)

01 Mercury Fall 3:06
02 The Animal's Opinion 3:06
03 Insects Insists Insecurity 2:57
04 The Long Story Of A Humankind 3:14
05 The First One In Heaven 3:03
06 Sequential Opera Circuit 3:03
07 Trembling #1 3:08
08 The Endless Talking 3:03
09 Scratched - Szymanowski - Bird 3:05
10 Digitally Sampled Ethnography 3:04
11 La Pliocena 3:05
12 Birdoj 3:06
13 Trembling #25:43

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Anonymous said...

been searching high and low for his album called "GOOD SPORT" in flac - if you have it PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE post it

Anonymous said...

Sorry Anon can't help you there, i do have a low quality mp3 version of the album, prices at discogs range between 35 and 82 euros which isn't that expensive considering how rare it is.


Anonymous said...

flac link for The Endless Talking seems to be dead...can you fix Rho? Be great if you could please.

Rho said...

Hello Anon, looks like someone disagreed with endless talking and had it blocked, well i've re-upped it, a 30 year old album which was rare when it was released can do with some love..

Request said...

THANKyou v much for MD & ET

van said...

Hi. Do you happen to have Swing Slow by Haruomi and Miharu Koshi? Thanks!

Rho said...

Hello van, alas no Swing Slow i certainly would have posted it if i had.