Colored Music – Colored Music, 1981

Anomalous! A collaboration between Atsuo Fujimoto and personal hero jazz pianist and vocalist Ichiko Hashimoto, this was Colored Music’s only official release, though apparently they scored a 1984 movie called Kougen ni ressha ga hashitta (高原に列車が走った)–if anyone has a copy of this, I’d really love to hear it!

Sinister and strange throughout, Colored Music defies genre, ranging from the scronky, free-jazzy “Anticipation” to the spaced-out, reverb soaked “Sanctuary” to the more explicitly new wave “Too Much Money,” flirting briefly with progressive rock along the way. Vocals include a haunted, warbling mermaid choir, sputtering Broadway theatrics, and faraway pirate chants buried deep in the mix. The standout is the shimmying, agitated “Heartbeat,” held together by a warped and weird house beat that gets shredded in half by an almost unlistenable piano meltdown. A little challenging, but totally worth it.

Bil Vermette – Katha Visions, 1984

An album filled with absolute jammers which range in sound from intimate and solitary to expansive and cosmic. The album traverses genre too: new age, minimal synth, and progressive rock. Bil’s unexpected vocal entrance on the minimal wave-y track Someday Soon is a highlight

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Osamu – Benzaiten, 1974

A seamless blend of traditional Japanese music with jazz, prog rock, and funk, Benzaiten takes off into new age, with sparse electronic drumming, bells, and synth sweeps. Hosono on synths. Benzaiten takes its name from the Buddhist equivalent of Saraswati, “goddess of everything that flows: water, words, speech, eloquence, music and by extension, knowledge.” Epic.

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