The Giant Who Dominates The World Of Music
Began with “Aiaigasa – Broken Radio Version”—the very song which ended the original version— and ended with “Rokka Bye My Babi – New Ver.”—the first song on the original version’s side A—Haruomi Hosono’s latest rework of “HOCHONO HOUSE” seems like the very duplicate of the infinite Mobius strip which doesn’t have an end nor a beginning. Despite being Hosono’s remake of his first solo album which was released in 1973, the artist’s latest release isn’t just a simple overwrite, but rather, a statement, a clear testimony for the artist’s hope to seamlessly carry the essence from the past to the present, and from the present to the future. What’s in the past might as well be those that will exist in the future. As they continue to play throughout the space, the songs in this new release seem to have become an icon that exists for eternity, unaffected by the passage of time. Even as a big fan of Hosono himself, I find myself becoming helpless as the current of melodies from this great giant penetrates through my body. No, my body couldn’t take it. Facing such dominating music, frustrated as I may feel, it’s my complete lost.
Hosono’s first album, the “HOSONO HOUSE,” is released on May 1973, right after Happy End disbanded. Consisting of Hosono, Masataka Matsutoya, Shigeru Suzuki, and Tatsuo Hayashi, the Tin Pan Alley, which was formed in 1972, is the very reason leading to the album’s release. Interestingly, “Aiaigasa” was originally the instrumental version of the song recorded in Happy End’s final original work “HAPPY END.” In other words, “HOSONO HOUSE” was, seamlessly, a story that continues Happy End’s legacy. Even more surprising, recorded in “HOSONO HOUSE”, both of the songs “CHOO CHOO Gatagoto” and “Rose & Beast” once again appeared in Tin Pan Alley’s album, and, later, became the group’s classic songs. However, this fact doesn’t imply Hosono’s embrace of his own music…. Rather, it implies the complicated philosophy of the artist’s post-modern thinking which does not include the definition of the past, the present, and the future. Throughout his career, Hosono has repeatedly conveyed his doubt: is the passage of time, in other words, the very axis which includes the past, the present, the future, something that no creature can resist?
Remade from the original release in 1973, Hosono’s latest release isn’t just a simple new album. That’s because the sounds, the melodies encompassed within the album might be the very sounds of 50 years in the past or that of 50 years into the future. Not mentioning the performance, Hosono himself took on both the mixing and mastering process of the album. As a result, including the sounds which completely deviated from the original release and recent trends, the album also contains songs which make use of the demo clips from the original release such as “Juushofuteimushokuteishuunyuu (New ver.)” and songs which utilized live performances such as “Party (New ver.).” While there are songs whose lyrics were completely changed, there are also many whose lyrics remain untouched. With such changes and complexity, no single listener can tell exactly which song comes from which age just by blindly listening to them. However, that doesn’t mean the songs are remixed to confuse the audiences. Instead, they were remade with an aim to paralyze the very passage of time, such that the song can continue to exist for eternity. It’s no exaggeration to say there’s no need for a time machine with Haruomi Hosono in the house. All of the past, the present, and the future will become meaningless in front of this giant.
Speaking of which, Hosono became a topic of talk as he involved himself in the sampling process for “TALKING Anata nitsuite no oshaberi are kore” which is included in Vampire Weekend’s “2021.” This song, originally included in the cassette book “Hana ni Mizu” which was released in 1984, was once used as the BGM for “Muji,” whose business just took off at the time. Maybe it was because the ambient and minimal style of the song fitted to well with Vampire Weekend’s playstyle that this band from New York decided to include the record’s sampling in their release. This very event showed just how important and influence Hosono’s works are.
On the other hand, about 30 years ago, Pizzicato Five also included “Party” in their classic hit “This Year’s Girl.” Interestingly, Hosono also participated in the song’s chorus part where he sang “The party is held at my home, today♪” before accidentally sang “… So Difficult!”（The correct lyric is “Mukashi…” which literally means the past. However, the word’s pronunciation bears a close resemblance to that of “Muzukashii” which literally means difficult in Japanese）. This recorded part remained unchanged and became a part of Pizzicato’s “Party”—a classical hit. Both of Pizzicato’s “Party” and Vampire Weekend’s song became the greatest proof for Haruomi Hosono’s philosophy of “just being there.” Hosono will always “be there,” even if it’s in the past, the present, or the future. That just shows how large, how influencing, and how giant the artist is.
This year, Haruomi Hosono will be celebrating his 71 years old birthday. Unrestricted by his age, Hosono still continues to hold on to his clear and significant directions, earning him both respect and affection from younger generations. Unaffected by time, Hosono and all of other leading figures including Happy End, Hachimitsu Pie~Moon Riders, and Sugar Babe will continue to be the greatest stimulants for young artists. This fact will remain true for many years to come. There’s nothing that could be done about it. Hosono is a giant. Even at the very moment, his works are being reissued in all over the world, earning him great acclaims as if they were the music from this modern time. In addition, Hosono is holding a live event in New York this May. Even more surprising, all of the tickets for the event have already been sold out. There’s no other choice for me but to give up. Hosono will continue to live on as a true giant of the musical world, unfazed by the passage of time. (Shino Okamura)