Monday, 7 September 2020

Colored Music ‎– Colored Music (1981)

Style: New Wave, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Better Days, Columbia

1.   Colored Music
2.   Anticipation
3.   Ei Sei Raku
4.   Sanctuary
5.   Too Much Money
6.   Love Hallucination
7.   Third Eye - Clear Light
8.   Heartbeat
Bonus Track
9.   Colored Music (Instrumental)

Written-By – Atsuo Fujimoto, Ichiko Hashimoto

Obscure Sound, Chee Shimizu's book devoted to unusual music, is divided into sections far more evocative than standard genre tags: spiritual, cosmic, meditative, mellow, floating, pensive. Tucked away at the back of the book, in a section marked "groovy," is a self-titled album by Japanese outfit Colored Music. Released in 1981 on Better Days, it featured Ichiko Hasimoto and Atsuo Fujimoto, who together led the project, and a cast of supporting musicians. They're the latest '80s-era Japanese act to get another look following Mariah and Dip In The Pool. As with Mariah's Utakata No Hibi, Colored Music bears its influences—UK synth pop, US new wave and minimal, avant-garde jazz—but stands apart as a singular creation. 
Shimizu re-edits two songs from Colored Music, the title track and "Heartbeat," for a 7-inch on Japanism, a new label he's started with HMV Japan. His take on "Colored Music" maintains the original's slap bass-fuelled punk-funk. It's at once urgent and relaxed, catchy yet supremely odd, with a few wrinkles ironed out so it's easier to play in clubs. That said, it's not an overly sanitised edit: Shimizu keeps the screwy synth line, reminiscent of the industrial noise that made Severed Heads' "Dead Eyes Opened" too abrasive to be a mainstream pop hit. 
Shimizu nails it on "Heartbeat," a track that was also edited by Howard Williams, AKA Japan Blues, for Berceuse Heroique in 2014. Built around a drum machine loop, this version sounds remarkably like classic deep house. The beauty of these edits is that Shimizu has shaped them into club-friendly tracks while keeping the strangeness that made them so appealing in the first place.
Resident Advisor / Aaron Coultate