Iroha Ni Konpeitou
Label: We Want Sounds
Catalog: WWSLP 018LP
2022 repress; LP version. Obi strip; Includes insert. Wewantsounds present a reissue of Akiko Yano's Iroha Ni Konpeitou, originally released in 1977. Another superb Akiko Yano album and one of her funkiest, highlighting her singing and songwriting talents. Iroha Ni Konpeitou is perhaps Akiko Yano's best-known album in the Western world not just because of its striking front cover -- a shot by famed photographer Bishin Jumonji featuring Akiko holding an inflatable dolphin. A slick mix of Japanese pop and New York funk, the album was recorded in Tokyo except for the title track which was recorded in NYC with an all-star line-up consisting of Rick Marotta, David Spinozza, Will Lee, and Nicky Marrero.
For the rest of the album, Akiko is accompanied by some of the best musicians from the Tokyo music scene gravitating around the groups Happy End and Tin Pan Alley: the ubiquitous Haruomi Hosono on bass, Tatsuo Hayashi on drums, Shigeru Suzuki on guitar, to name just a few. Interestingly, two Hosono compositions are featured on the album: "Ai Ai Gasa" which he recorded on his 1973 landmark debut Hosono House and "Hourou" originally recorded in '75 by singer and musician Chu Kosaka, on the eponymous album Horo. Last but not least, Hideki Matsutake is handling the keyboard programming duties on the album as Yano is playing a wide array of keyboards: Moog IIIc, Mini Moog, String Ensemble, on top of the Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, and Yamaha CP7C.
Matsutake would soon become programmer in chief for Yellow Magic Orchestra, touring and playing with them around the world (like Yano herself). Although the album feels very accessible and funky, there are complex keyboard layers underneath as on the first short introduction "KAWAJI", a short electro fantasy, or on such tracks as "Ai Ai Gasa" and "Kino Wa Mou" on which Akiko is playing bass with her Moog, making the album a richly textured and inventive one once you scratch its surface. The tracks on the album flow effortlessly also highlighting Akiko Yano's superb songwriting and knack for creating fascinating pop song. "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" sounds as fresh and beautiful as when it first came out more than forty years ago and will please the growing circle of Akiko Yano fans around the world as a welcome addition to her brilliant discography. Remastered sound. First release outside of Japan.