Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Great Hiro Yanagida's The Encounter with UFO, 1978









Obviously an artist who needs no introduction in prog circles.  So I'll go ahead and introduce him and his bio.

Note that he made 5 albums in the glory period of 1970 to 1973: Milk Time (the Gorilla album), Hiro Yanagida, Hiro, Hirocosmos, with the rare Sons of Suns being the one most are not aware of, though it turned out to be quite disappointing.  Personally I found 1973's cosmos to be the most perfectly and professionally executed with a minimum of filler.  Then there's a five year break until this record which is a homage to the Close Encounters UFO fad that those alive in the late 70s will well remember.

The record is divided into Musical Side and Dramatic Side, despite this both are quite similar funky fusion instrumentals with some quite gorgeous female vocalizing that recalls the Japanese artist Anri Sugano.  (I pray I wasn't the only one who hugely loved that particular album from her.)

A5's Crystal Ship is really stunning:




On closer listen some time later I noticed the lyrics are quite good, overall the song sounding like a poem set to music, so I transcribed it as best I could (note that the verso scan does depict them):

Drift, all in the darkness, in my empty heart
Look, for my bright world, with my lonely heart,
Light is always fade, darkness surrounding me,
I only stay in the narrows, without light or sound
I hear echoes of your voice, from the sky, from the stars,
Your voice is an indicator, of my virgin sail--
My Crystal Ship.

Sail, get a strong jet stream, my ship, runs so high,
Star of the Polaris, leading me to you--
Crystal Ship reflects, twinkling stars misty light
I only stay in the narrows, without light or sound
I hear echoes of your voice, from the sky, from the stars,
Your voice is an indicator, of my virgin sail--
My Crystal Ship.

So nice how, rather than a silly sci-fi account of flying saucers, the ship in question is her empty heart in dark space, waiting for the sound of her love's voice.  Well done, and so much more sophisticated and artistic than the English world's plentiful scifi / UFO albums, of which there were legion in the 70s.  Notice also how perfectly professional the electric keys solo and following this the electric guitar solo full of bent notes, are in the middle, sounding like absolutely the best studio musicians from off a British or American pop LP.
Well done, guys.

And then the B1 UFO Landing instrumental taken from the dramatic side is simply breathtaking:





Those of us who remember the simple silly theme song from Close Encounters and its soundtrack, which I bought at the time, will be shocked when they think of how much superior this album is, musically, but also how neglected it was, in the rest of the world-- obviously....
Can we right these wrongs of the distant past? I sure hope so.



3 comments:

  1. https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/k1lm9a

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  2. Thanks so much for this rarity, Julian.
    Do you happen to have Yanagida's album Hiro from 1972?
    Cheers!

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