“I’ve got this craving for you…” Harry Hosono’s first solo album since forming the Yellow Magic Orchestra with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi in 1978 was an attempt to synthesize an advanced style of pop music. Locking himself up in his newly-designed LDK Studio with unlimited studio time (“I’ve always liked making music in private spaces. That’s why I named it LDK: Living-Dining-Kitchen”), Hosono made extensive use of the E-mu Emulator’s primitive sampling possibilities, which drastically altered the course of the project when it was brought into the studio, yielding “Picnic” and the title track in the first session (Hosono paid tribute to the role of the Emulator and other revolutionary pieces of gear like the MC-4 and Prophet 5 by listing them as guest performers in the album credits). Hosono’s modern pop aspirations are realized on the ultra-catchy “Sports Men,” “Living-Dining-Kitchen” and the severely-hummable “Funiculi Funicula,” but it’s the more experimental wares we’re reaching for… The adventurous pastische of “Birthday Party,” “Philharmony” and “Air Condition” foreshadow Hosono’s sublime balearic techno works from the 90s; also check the Reich-esque passages “Luminescent / Hotaru” and “In Limbo.” Philharmony is a bizarre album for sure, but repeat listens reveal quite an expressive record, conveying Hosono’s unrelenting quest for new sounds as well as his loneliness in the studio (“Birthday Party” samples voices from various people who dropped by to visit him) and a ‘hunger for love’ (“Sports Men, “Platonic”). This deluxe Light In The Attic pressing includes an 8-page booklet with liner notes and an extensive interview with Hosono, obi strip and gatefold jacket including lyrics for all the vocal tracks, even loopy sampler experiments like “Luminescent / Hotaru” and “Picnic” (the lyrics are literally just the word “Picnic” over and over again…). First time on vinyl since the original 1982 pressing, and first-ever reissue outside of Japan on any format (when the album cover starts getting memed, it’s time for a reissue). Obviously highly recommended.
- first time on vinyl outside of Japan
- housed in deluxe gatefold sleeve w/ obi strip
- 8 page booket includes translated interview w/ Haruomi Hosono
- extensive liner notes + lyrics
- limited to 1,500 copies
- music label: Light In The Attic 2018
reviewed by sunrise mart 09/2018
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