If anyone could lay claim to being Japan’s greatest post-war contemporary musician, perhaps that would be Haruomi Hosono. Born in 1947 he has been at the forefront of developing and pioneering new styles of music for nearly 40 years, from folk and world to dance music via electronic, exotic and technopop.
Constantly way ahead of the times, Hosono has been Japan’s Bob Dylan and Brian Eno rolled into one, although that doesn’t really tell half the story. From the late 60s as bass player in Apryl Fool who arrived at the tail end of the Group Sounds movement, in the early 70s the seminal folk-rock group Happy End, one of the first groups to successfully put Japanese lyrics to western style folk music, through to early world music mixtures and exotica in the mid 70s, in 1978 he was one of the founders together with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi of the highly influential technopop trio Yellow Magic Orchestra. He went on to produce a number of artists, create soundtracks and music for video games and bring out a succession of eclectic releases from New Orleans r&b to ambient and lounge. The last ten years or so have been some of his most prolific to date with the formation of Sketch Show (with Yukihiro Takahashi), Human Audio Sponge (with Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto) HASYMO an amalgamation of the latter with YMO, the group Tokyo Shyness and latterly World Shyness. His place as a huge influence across the board has been cemented with two tribute albums featuring an array of musicians from both Japan and abroad and a tribute concert.