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Piper

Gentle Breeze

    Scoring a hit with their second album Summer Breeze, Piper set out to record their follow up in a similar vein. Members remained the same: Keisuke Yamamoto (guitar, vocals), Takashi Shima (keyboards), and Wataru Ito (bass). Guest musicians included Kazuhito Murata and Hiroshi Koitabashi on chorus, and Tetsuaki Hoashi on percussion. Recording sessions for the third album began less than 6 months after the second, but the evolution of their sound was considerable. One reason was utilizing the skills of Yuji Toriyama for programming of the Linn Drums. This made it easier for the band to write and arrange their songs to their liking. Second was that the band members were beginning to enjoy making music in this style. Specific ideas were coming together to become distinct songs. The fact that they were able to transcend the BGM style that they initially aspired towards to create a distinct pop sound, is one of the important aspects of this album.

    The front cover photo of a snowy scene juxtaposed with the sunny pool scene of the back cover, also had quite an impact. This jacket design was a collaboration between (TV personality and jazz aficionado) Tamori, who took the photos, anddesigner Hajime Anzai. The two would go on to become the popular co-hosts of “Soramimi Hour” on Tamori’s variety show Tamori Club. The duo’s unique visual sense encouraged listeners to enjoy the sounds of summer in a wintery setting – which in turn had a hand in influencing Piper’s own sound as well.

    Gentle Breeze is in one way an extension of Summer Breeze, in other ways it’s one big step up. Many Piper fans consider this album to be their masterpiece. For fans who enjoy this phase of Piper, we encourage you to listen to the songs from Gentle Breeze and Summer Breeze on shuffle. That way the meaning catch copy on the obi – “Gentle Beat Pop” – should start to make sense.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Red and white splatter vinyl + 24" x 24" poster.

    Piper

    Sunshine Kiz

      Riding high on the success of Gentle Breeze, PIPER was eager to put out more new material. Keeping the same members and guest musicians, the band used its excitement and forward momentum – aided no doubt by its ever-growing experience and taste for experimentation – to produce its next album, Sunshine Kiz, within the tiny span of six months. And despite seeing no change in personnel for these latest efforts, PIPER’s musicality was constantly evolving.

      Perhaps most obviously, Sunshine Kiz showed the band beginning to break away from its signature style. Instrumentals were no longer the focus as more vocal-centric tracks made their way to the fore. Sunshine Kiz turned out to be a “song album,” and its lyric sheet saw a substantial increase in the number of words. A Drumulator replaced the LinnDrums, and the programmed percussion suddenly sounded more natural. Some songs actually featured live drumming, abandoning programmed beats altogether.

      It could be said that this all amounted to, at least partially, a return to PIPER’s roots. Or, maybe more accurately, it was something like PIPER circa 1981 filtered through the signature sound the band had forged with their two Breeze albums of 1983. The title track on Sunshine Kiz was released as their second-ever single – their first since “Far Away” from their debut album. And with this new single there even came a music video.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Exclusive pink vinyl with yellow splatter edition.
      Includes 24×24 poster.

      Piper

      Summer Breeze

        Led by guitarist/vocalist Keisuke Yamamoto, Piper was formed in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. A move to Tokyo was followed by the release of their first single on Yupiteru Records, thanks to original guitarist Yuji Suzuki who had became an A&R man for the label. Citing British bands like Wishbone Ash and Camel as influences, Yamamoto and Piper nevertheless conjured up classic American sounds on Piper’s recordings, utilizing unusual recording techniques and new technologies like Linn drums to effortlessly blend styles of funk, soul and fusion and simultaneously evoking summer vibes, autumnal breezes, and wintery shimmer.

        Summer Breeze is Piper’s second album, originally released in 1984 on Yupiteru. Inspired by the sounds of Masayoshi Takanaka and Tatsuro Yamashita, as well as the concept of “BGM” (background music) championed by YMO, Summer Breeze was a conscious about face from their debut to create a new signature sound and become masters of summery resort vibes. Its smooth sounds belie the bevy of experimentation utilized on the recording, from vocoders and drum programming to recording guitars direct through the board. Even the iconic cover art, with the surfer wearing an impossibly short crop top, is deceiving in its simplicity – it was one of the most expensive jackets produced by the label at the time, due to its use of special spot colors and custom handlettering. The original album featured the marketing copy “Good Weather! Good Sounds!” which perfectly encapsulates the sounds contained on the album.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: Originally released in 1985, this sophisticated Japanese classic from Piper has been at the top of the collective wantlist for years. Serving the City Pop cocktail with a resort twist, Summer Breeze shimmies through synth pop, fusion and AOR grooves to deliver a sound as iconic as that surfer’s crop top.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: Newly Remastered for Vinyl.
        LP Includes Huge 24" x 24" Fold Out Poster.

        Piper

        Piper - 3CD Collection

          Ship to Shore PhonoCo. is proud to present a 3CD box set featuring three of Japanese City Pop trio Piper’s most beloved albums.

          3xCD Box Set featuring Piper's "Summer Breeze", "Gentle Breeze", & "Sunshine Kiz" .

          Newly remastered audio .

          Housed in a deluxe box .

          Featuring newly remastered audio and housed in a deluxe box, each album is packed in a replica LP sleeve. The collection also includes a new booklet featuring newly translated interviews with the band about the making of each of these albums. It’s a collection City Pop fans will not want to miss out on!



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