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.
1. Volare (NelBluDipinto Di Blu)
3. C'est Si Bon
4. La Rosa
5. Mood Indigo
6. Elastic Dummy
8. Back Street Midnight Queen