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Japanese City Pop Collection on Pink Double LP!
TAS Rated 3.5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the May/June 2023 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Light in the Attic's Pacific Breeze series has supplied the world's growing legions of Japanese music fans with an expertly curated selection of the most sought-after city pop recordings - the mesmerizing and nebulous genre of Japanese bubble-era music of the '70s-'80s that encompasses AOR, R&B, jazz fusion, funk, boogie and disco. These familiar sounds are spun through the unique lens of optimistic, cosmopolitan fantasy colored by Japan's affluence at the time. Much of the music has previously been nearly impossible to acquire outside of Japan and continues to captivate listeners with its unique blend of groove-laden escapism, even birthing wholly new genres such as vaporwave.
Pacific Breeze 3: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1975-1987 marks the latest chapter in the famed series and features holy grails plus under-the-radar rarities. The collection bursts at the seams to reveal some of the greatest Japanese tracks ever laid to tape, pushing towards the edge of city pop to reveal glimmers of the next waves of styles to spring forth from the country's creative minds. The appearance of Pizzicato Five hint at the emergence of Shibuya-kei while the influence of hip hop and electro as an emerging global trend are also evident here through the prevalence of heavier programmed drum beats on tracks such as "Heartbeat" by Miho Fujiwara.
This volume of Pacific Breeze, like its predecessors, is a female-forward offering with many tracks being voiced by women who would become household names in Japan as actresses and pop idols. Their songs here subvert the norm and brim with an innovative spirit that shatters gender roles in favor of sonic transcendence. Techno-pop classics from Susan, Miharu Koshi and Chiemi Manabe sit alongside sublime funk from Atsuko Nina and Naomi Akimoto while Teresa Noda slides into the mix with a sultry reggae jam. The genre span is stretched wider with hypnotic jazz fusion by Parachute and Hiroyuki Namba, a synthesizer fantasy from Osamu Shoji, and magnetic pop by Makoto Matsushita and Chu Kosaka.
Although not front and center, the visionary members of Yellow Magic Orchestra are still very present on Pacific Breeze 3, with Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Yukihiro Takahashi taking up producer and musician roles on many of these tracks. Pacific Breeze 3 serves up a captivating musical journey that adds an essential chapter to the iconic compilation series.
One of the strengths of Light in the Attic's third Pacific Breeze compilation is that it expands the notion of what city pop sounded like outside of what styles are typically included on a city pop mix. While the opening track, 'Bewitched (Are You Leaving Soon)' by Naomi Akimoto, kicks off the compilation with a quintessential city pop sound, it is followed by Atsuko Nina's 'Tonkachi,' which displays harsher beats more akin to new jack swing. Influence from new wave appears as well, such as 'Scandal Night' by Miharu Koshi, which brings to mind the Talking Heads with its uncanny sound effects and pulsing bass. Pacific Breeze 3 proves that Japanese city pop, AOR, and boogie are not definable by one set of features but instead contained sprawling styles that reflected the increasing cross-cultural transfer of the rapidly globalizing music industry of the late 70s throughout the 80s.
Curators Yosuke Kitazawa and Mark McNeill drew from a deep well of sounds for this set. In the mix this time around are famed shibuya-kei act Pizzicato Five, synth enchanter Osamu Shoji, jazz fusion act Parachute and a variety of pop chanteuses like Teresa Nada, Miho Fujiwara and Naomi Akimoto. If you don't know any of those names now, one spin of this set will have you filling up your Discogs wishlist with city pop rarities.
- Double Vinyl LP
- Pink Vinyl
- Remastered Audio
- Cover Art by Hiroshi Nagai
- Extensive Artist Bios by Yosuke Kitazawa
- Compiled by Yosuke Kitazawa & Mark "Frosty" McNeill
- Deluxe Wide-Spine Jacket
- Full-Color Inner Sleeves
- Custome Die-Cut OBI
- Naomi Akimoto - Bewitched (Are You Leaving Soon)
- Atsuko Nina - Tonkachi
- Miho Fujiwara - Heartbeat
- Miharu Koshi - Scandal Night
- Chu Kosaka - Shirakechimauze
- Teresa Noda - Tropical Love
- Makoto Matsushita - Business Man Pt. 1
- Susan - Ah! Soka
- Yukako Hayase - Suiyoubi Madeni Shinitaino
- Parachute - Kowloon Daily
- Hiroyuki Namba - Tropical Exposition (Who Done It? Version)
- Pizzicato Five - Boy Meets Girl
- Mari Iijima - Love Sick
- 1986 Omega Tribe - Cosmic Love
- Osamu Shoji - Pub Casablanca
- Chiemi Manabe - Untotooku