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Lab Overview

"The sun's in her hair, the warmth of the air, on a summer day..." Pacific is the cumulative effort of a who’s-who of Japanese musicians, notably former Happy End bandmates Shigeru Suzuki and Haruomi Hosono (fun fact I just learned about Harry: his grandfather was a Titanic survivor and the only Japanese passenger onboard), and city pop king Tatsuro Yamashita. The gang got in the studio in 1978 to create an album that would “evoke the atmospheres of the South Pacific islands, the kind of places Japanese people spend their vacations,” and the result is a rare full-length foray into breezy city pop, cerulean jazz and tropical fusion that’s (almost) entirely instrumental, unlike the players’ individual solo works from around this time. Hosono, Suzuki and Yamashita get top billing, but Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi play on nearly every track too, making this a precursor to Yellow Magic Orchestra (along with Hosono’s Paraiso, released the same year). “Kiska” is our personal fave of the set; a Herbie-grade synth funk groove drizzled with ace sax and guitar solos by Yamashita collaborators Hidefumi Toki and Kenji Omura. The nine-plus minute “Nostalgia of Island” suite beings with some slightly-unsettling surf guitar and synth pads straight out of David Lynch’s unproduced beach party flick, fades out to the sound of crashing waves and into some more upbeat (but still Lynchian) summery beach pop sporting a single Beach Boys-esque vocal refrain; the only vocals to appear anywhere on the album. Disco synth burner “Cosmic Surfin” (YMO would later re-record this one for their debut album) ends the record on a slightly more upbeat and nocturnal note, cuz beach bums gotta dance too. “Coral Reef,” “Slack Key Rhumba” and “Saigo No Rakuen” are other high points. Official 2022 reissue on blue vinyl imported from Japan with insert and foldout poster, recommended.

  • blue colored vinyl, 3rd pressing
  • high quality Japan import
  • cut by Bernie Grundman
  • includes obi strip, printed insert + giant foldout poster
  • limited edition
  • original release year: 1978
  • music label: Great Tracks / Sony Japan 2022
reviewed by sunrise mart 04/2019
UPC: 4560427454191


Review & Q+A


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