Long out-of-print 1979 Japanese fusion excursion from Haruomi Hosono with Masataka Matsutoya (Seaside Lovers, Tin Pan Alley) and accomplished session guitarist Takahiko Ishikawa. Sort of a spiritual successor to Pacific recorded just 1 year previous, here Harry & squad set their course for the titular Aegean Sea, that mystical Mediterranean inlet spanning the southern coasts of Greece and Turkey. The record picks up right where Pacific left off, trading in similarly breezy jazz fusion sounds but oozing with balearic grooves and elements of traditional Greek music (“Man, back off the Greeks. They invented civilization”). You can practically taste the salt blowing in off the coast. Side 1 track 1 “Aegean Fantasy” opens with some wistful strings, giving way to crashing waves and some rustic plucked string instrument (lute? mandolin? who knows), whisking you away to a stark white beach where you’ll be drinking grappa and eating feta cheese clumps by the handful in no time. “Reggae Aegean Woman” slips into familiar YMO-esque slinkiness, deploying some Holger Czukay-grade quirky boogie vibes in what is probably the record’s most straightforward dance floor joint. “Image” is capital-F fusion, like Weather Report penniless and stranded in some Greek resort being forced to play for a bunch of Japanese tourists, while “The Rose Between Waves” rides a mellow jazz-funk groove on par with Donald Byrd’s 70s-era Mizell Bros work. “Daybreak” and “Aphrodite’s Mourning” sport the most trad Greek influence, the former thumping with a Cerrone-ish pulse and the latter making use of Ishikawa’s classical guitar chops over some tender piano and harp trills. “Mykonos Bride,” with its crazy synth arps and tender strings, is by far the greatest takeaway from the record and obviously our fave. An oft-forgotten but revelatory chapter in Hosono’s bottomless and constantly inspiring catalog, official 2020 reissue on clear vinyl imported from Japan, recommended.
- clear vinyl pressing
- limited edition Japan import
- cut by Bernie Grundman
- includes obi strip + printed insert
- music label: Great Tracks / Sony Japan 2020
reviewed by sunrise mart 04/2019