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MP3: Haroumi Hosono & Tadanori Yokoo-Malabar Hotel...Upper Floor...Moving Triangle
Remember a few months ago I posted about a dreamy Anime film about cats and the afterlife called Night on the Galactic Railroad? Well it got proper under my skin and I've watched it twice since. One of the many exquisite things about this film which intrigued me was its stately soundtrack by Haroumi Hosono. I didn't know much about the composer so I banged his name into spotify (the good old days eh?) and found out that, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto, he was a member of the fuppin' mega 70s electronic group, Yellow Magic Orchestra.
I also found out he released a remarkable album called Cochin Moon. And when I say remarkable, what I really mean is set your eardrums to WTF. This stuff is off the map. From what I can gleam, Hosono went on a jaunt around India in 1978, and by all accounts it was a bit of an eye-opener. When he returned to Japan, he was so full of the sights and sounds of the place that he set about making the lush soundtrack to an imaginary Bollywood movie (Cochin Moon) with some help from the other dudes in Yellow Magic Orchestra and the pop artist Tadanori Yokoo.
The album starts off with an astonishing suite of tracks which are musically and thematically linked (they're named after a hotel he stayed in). I included the second of these above. It's a piece of music which gives you an idea of the awesome intricacy, downright weirdness and plain brilliance of this project. Starting with a creepy insect buzz, the track takes off in a complete vertical ascent buoyed by overlapping helicopter rhythms and distorted snippets of what sounds like a voice saying "boomshakalaka". By the time a bubbling keyboard melody starts bouncing off the walls and gasping alien vocals join the fray, Hosono has left base-camp so far behind that he's in oxygen mask territory.
MP3: Haroumi Hosono & Tadanori Yokoo-Hum Ghar Sajan
Another gloriously bonkers thing about the album is that with the exception of one track - the gorgeous raga chant Hum Gar Sajan - it doesn't sound even vaguely Indian. Waiter, I'll have whatever he's on please.