Various Artists: Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR And Boogie 1976-1986 (Coloured Vinyl 2xLP)
Various Artists: Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR And Boogie 1976-1986 (Coloured Vinyl 2xLP)

Various Artists: Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR And Boogie 1976-1986 (Coloured Vinyl 2xLP)

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When Light In The Attic released Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986 in 2019, it was the first collection of its kind to be released outside Japan. It proved to be just what music fans had been waiting for—a compilation of sought-after tracks that had been nearly impossible to obtain unless you were well-connected with dealers and collectors, or traveled regularly to the countless record stores in Japan. 

Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.

Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.

Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited repress also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.

Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed TearsJapanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss.

  1. Tomoko Soryo - I Say Who
  2. Taeko Ohnuki - Kusuri Wo Takusan
  3. Minako Yoshida - Midnight Driver
  4. Nanako Sato - Subterranean Futari Bocci
  5. Haruomi Hosono - Sports Men
  6. Izumi Kobayashi - Coffee Rumba
  7. F.O.E. - In My Jungle
  8. Akira Inoue, Hiroshi Sato, Masataka Matsutoya - Sun Bathing
  9. Hiroshi Satoh - Say Goodbye
  10. Yukihiro Takahashi - Drip Dry Eyes
  11. Masayoshi Takanaka - Bamboo Vender
  12. Shigeru Suzuki - Lady Pink Panther
  13. Haruomi Hosono, Takahiko Ishikawa, Masataka Matsutoya - Mykonos No Hanayome
  14. Yasuko Agawa - L.A. Night
  15. Hitomi Tohyama - Exotic Yokogao
  16. Tazumi Toyoshima - Machibouke

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