Formed by Ichiko Hashimoto and Atsuo Fujimoto shortly after their previous band toured with YMO and eventually tore up their record contract, Colored Music released this self-titled album in 1981 before going on hiatus for 36 years. Hashimoto and Fujimoto are the principle songwriters and musicians, but Colored Music features an array of session players; notably the alluring percussionist Pecker (to what degree, we’re not exactly sure) and Prism drummer Mansaku Kimura. Much of the album features Kimura’s drumming on top of the 808 and various other drum machines, creating a unique rhythmic palette inspired by the combined man & machine grooves heard on Sly Stone’s Fresh album. The top line consists of Hashimoto and Fujimoto taking turns on vocals over deep funk-inspired basslines and an omnipresent layer of celestial pads courtesy of the Roland Jupiter 4. Inspired by Roxy Music, Miles Davis, Brian Eno and Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, the album is a colorful mix of adventurous improvisation (“Third Eye / Clear Light”), jazz-funk greatness (“Love Hallucination”), jagged post-punk guitar shrieks dressed up in rapid-fire 808 beats (“Ei Sei Raku”) and even proto-house music (“Heartbeat”). They veer from Kate Bush-inspired balladry (“Sanctuary”) to cocky blues-rock à la ZZ Top (“Too Much Money”) from one track to the next, and the moods swing just as effortlessly within the course of a single song; check out the uptempo avant-funk grooves breaking out into gorgeous piano-led cascade on “Anticipation.” Long revered in Tokyo’s jazz cafes and the nu-jazz fusion scenes of Europe but never released outside of Japan, Colored Music finally sees an official reissue courtesy of WRWTFWW (who else?) with new liner notes by legendary digger Chee Shimizu detailing the story behind this truly one-of-a-kind album. Recommended.
- first time on vinyl outside of Japan
- printed inner sleeve w/ extensive liner notes in English & Japanese
- housed in Stoughton tip-on jacket
- music label: WRWTFWW Records 2018
reviewed by sunrise mart 09/2018
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