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The Mystery Kindaichi Band

The Adventures Of Kindaichi Kosuke

    The highly sought-after Japanese disco funk soundtrack from 1977 featuring the cream of the Tokyo scene gets officially reissued for the first time outside of Japan. The ‘imaginary’ soundtrack to the adventures Of Kindaichi Kosuke, the cult detective book series by writer Seishi Yokomizo is on many DJ want-lists. Arranged by soundtrack master Kentaro Haneda and featuring a mysterious group of the best 70s Japanese Funk musicians, the album is pure undiluted Disco Funk. This reissue is the album's first official release outside of Japan. Remastered from the original tapes, it features artwork by renowned illustrator Ichibun Sugimoto, OBI strip and a 4 page insert with a new introduction by Anton Spice Writer Seishi Yokomizo is an institution in Japan. He could be compared to Agatha Christie with his series of novels based on the adventures of detective Kosuke Kindaichi. The fictional character was born in 1946 with Yokomizo's first novel in the series and solved mysteries until the late 70s under Yokomizo's pen before the death of the writer in 1981. Kindaichi is a peculiar character. He is a sort of goofy, yet scrupulous detective, not dissimilar to Columbo, and has become legendary in Japan over the decades. Yokomizo's novels have been a prime source for film and TV scenarios, so when, in 1977, Japanese label King Records decided to record a concept album based on the Kindaichi novels, it made complete sense. The writer was slightly surprised though. As he wrote on the back of the LP sleeve "When I first heard an album was being made based on my novels, I felt very strange. I could understand if my novels were turned into films and then soundtracks were recorded based on these films. But this time, the music created was directly inspired by my novels. I felt very intrigued, yet very excited." The concept album was arranged by pianist Kentaro Haneda, a key TV and film composer who has worked on many anime films and is also famous outside of Japan for composing the music for the video game 'Wizardry'.

    For "The Adventures Of Kindaichi Kosuke" album, he assembled a supergroup of some of the best Tokyo funk and City Pop musicians. The long list includes jazz pianist Hideo Ichikawa who played on the 1971 'Joe Henderson In Japan' album, Jun Moriya (ds), who is on Joe Hisaichi's cult 'Wonder City Orchestra' album, Tadaomi Anai (perc) who played with Disco singer Eri Ohno, Koji Hadori (tpt) who's featured on Haruomi Hosono's "Pacific" album. Also present on the album are Takeru Muraoka (sax) who plays on many Tatsuro Yamashita cult albums including "For You" and "Spacy", Kimiko Yamauchi (koto) who's on Akiko Yano's landmark "Japanese Girl" and, last but not least, Koji Yamaguchi (fr horn) who plays on Yazuaki Shimizu's "Kakashi" album Together they lay the funk on ten instrumentals filled with pur disco and funk breakbeats, making the album one of the highly-coveted Japanese LPs on international cratedigger scene. This reissue which Wewantsounds is delighted to officially put back on the market, features OBI strip and a four page insert faithfully reproduces the original artwork plus audio remastered from the original tapes.

    Donna McGhee

    Make It Last Forever

      When it comes to underground New York Disco, Donna McGhee's highly sought-after 1978 LP, "Make It Last Forever," ranks among the best in the genre, thanks to Donna’s singing and the production skills of legendary producers Greg Carmichael and Patrick Adams. Featuring five songs penned by the producing pair, it's got their quintessential Disco sound of the late 70s topped by Donna McGhee's superb vocals. These have also blessed recordings by The Fatback Band, Phreek, Bumblebee Unlimited and The Universal Robot Band around the same time. The album has been an elusive affair since it first came out in 1978 and this is one the first times in decades it is widely available in its original form with newly remastered audio.

      Donna McGhee has been one of the key female singers of the New York disco scene, gracing several cult albums with her superb singing. The Brooklyn native began her career singing Gospel in her grandmother's choir from an early age, honing her skills and making a name for herself locally as a talented singer. Her first break in the industry came when she was spotted by bass player Johnny Flippin, who invited her to join his band. The group was none other than The Fatback Band led by drummer Bill Curtis. This was 1975 and the album was "Raising Hell." McGhee's vocals can be heard throughout the album including the dancefloor classic "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" and after this initial collaboration, she stayed with the group for a another few years recording “Night Fever” in 1976 and touring with them all around the country. Following an encounter with producer Greg Carmichael, Donna McGhee jumped ship and started working with the prolific producer and his partner Patrick Adams.

      A string of collaborations followed with singles and albums that have become the stuff of legend over the years: Donna can indeed be heard singing with Bumblebee Unlimited, Universal robot Band and on Phreek's classic self-titled album from 1978, singing on the track "May My Love Be With You." In 1978, After Greg Carmichael set up his own label, Red Greg Records, he and Adams decided to get McGhee in the recording studio and produce her first solo album. With the pair playing most of the instruments, they got five tracks out of the session. The result, "Make It Last Forever" is an all-time Adams/Carmichael classic: funky disco arrangements with a touch of synths over a pulsating groove magnified by McGhee's superb sexy singing. All five tracks have become classics in their own right. 

      Ryuichi Sakamoto's first solo album originally released in 1978 on the sought-after Better Days label. Sakamoto was a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra at the time but the group hadn't released their first album yet. Featuring Sakamoto on a wide range of synthesizers and keyboards programmed by Hideki Matsutake, and accompanied by a few musicians including Haruomi Hosono and Pecker, "Thousand Knives" was a blueprint for the YMO sound and includes cult classics that were to become live favourites. Save for a small-scale release in 1982, this is the first time the album is being released on vinyl outside of Japan. Remastered from the original tapes by renowned producer and engineer Seigen Ono, the LP edition comes with original artwork including OBI and 4p insert with a new introduction by Paul Bowler.

      1978 was a key year for Japanese music. Haruomi Hosono, one of the country's most innovative musicians had just formed Yellow Magic Orchestra pursuing the sonic experimentation he had started with his solo album "Paraiso." The album, credited to "Harry Hosono and The Yellow Magic Band," had been recorded between December 77 and January 78 and featured both Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi. Hosono quickly invited both musicians to form YMO but before the group could release their first album, Sakamoto entered the Nippon Columbia studios in April 1978 with a plan. Sakamoto had become an in-demand session musician after studying composition at the Tokyo University of Art and had played in many key albums of the time: Taeko Ohnuki's "Sunshower" and Tatsuro Yamashita "Spacy" to name just two famous albums. This led to an invitation by Hosono to feature on "Paraiso". A penchant for avant-garde and improvisation had gotten Sakamoto interested in Electronic Music early on and with “Thousand Knives”, he decided to get Hideki Matsutake on board as he had mastered the art of synth programming following a stint with Electronic Music pioneer Isao Tomita. “Thousand Knives” took several months to record as Sakamoto would be busy during the day with his session work and would only record at night. Named after Belgian-born poet Henri Michaux’s description of a mescaline experience, the album is a reflection on how synthesizer technology might come to change the face of music. 


      One of the key Japanese albums of the 70s, Yukihiro Takahashi's debut solo album 'Saravah!' was released in 1978 at a key time when, following his tenure with Sadistic Mika Band, Takahashi had just joined the nascent line up of Yellow Magic Orchestra. A sophisticated mix of Disco Funk, synth Pop, Ambient, French Exotica and Bossa Nova, the album has the stylish feel of a night out clubbing in Paris circa 1978. It’s the missing link between the City Pop scene of the late 70s and the synth sound of YMO which was about to revolutionise the world.

      The month before recording the YMO debut album that would help alter the course of music, Yukihiro Takahashi entered the studio with his fellow band-members Ryuichi Sakamoto and HaruomiHosono to record 'Saravah!' together with the cream of the Japanese scene. He drew his inspiration from globe-trotting French musician Pierre Barouh who had introduced Bossa Nova in France in 1966 with "Samba Saravah" (featured in soundtrack the Oscar Winner A Man And A Woman which he co-wrote) and subsequently launched Saravah Records.

      'Saravah' starts off with a couple of French and Italian exotica classics ('Volare' and 'C'est Si Bon') with delicious touches of synth while 'Saravah!' a nod to Pierre Barouh, is a languid Bossa Nova with beautiful soulful strings arranged by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The album gets hotter with 'La Rosa' a superb mid-tempo ambient funk featuring Takahashi's beat backed by HaruomiHosono's bumping bassline, Sakamoto's Hammond Organ and Shigeru Suzuki's fluid guitar. The first side ends with an amazing exotica-synth version of the standard 'Mood Indigo', announcing the midi revolution that was to come before things get funkier on Side Two starting with Ryuichi Sakamoto's superb up-tempo Disco instrumental ‘Elastic Dummy’ featuring soulful strings and horns with solos by Sakamoto and guitarist TsunehideMatsuki. The album then moves on to the ambient synth-pop of ‘Sunset’ before switching back to Disco Funk with 'Back Street Midnight Queen’ which. like 'Elastic Dummy' has become a dancefloor cult classic over the years.' Saravah! ends on a perfect note with the beautiful 'Present' a perfectly crafted pop song which Takahashi wanted to do in a City Pop mode, featuring a superb melody and high-class production.

      Wewantsounds release Hiroshi Sato's ultra rare synth masterpiece, "Orient", originally released in 1979 on Kitty Records in Japan only. Digitally remastered from the original tapes it features the cream of Japanese musicians including Shigeru Suzuki on guitar, Haruomi Hosono on bass, Pecker on percussion and Sato himself on keyboards and synthesizers. This highly sought-after album is a superb breezy mix of Japanese synth-pop with a subtle touch of mid 70s Herbie Hancock-style funk and AOR. It's what gets our resident Horse Beacher Ryan PLUS our Balearic connosair Patch really rocking (surely reason enough for you to own a copy...!)

      Recorded during a fruitful period in Japan, when Sato, Hosono and Suzuki were fresh from playing in the group Tin Pan Alley and Haruomi Hosono had just formed YMO; the album is a unique balance of various styles. It has become one of the most sought-after Japanese LPs on the global Balearic scene and is now exchanging hands for astronomical prices. The album also features on Gilles Peterson’s 'Significant Album List'. Fully remastered from the original Kitty Records tapes by Universal Japan, the album will come with its original 4-page colour insert including English translations of the original liner notes by leading Japanese journalist Yasufumi Amatatsu plus the full track-by-track musician line up. The album includes such cult tracks as “Son Go Kuw” and “Do-Jo” - hugely popular on the international DJ scene.



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