Media Condition: M
Sleeve Condition: M
Genre: Pop, Electronic, Jazz, Funk, City pop
Notes: First ever vinyl reissue of the 1983 Japanese City Pop Classic! Pink vinyl, includes 24"x24" fold out poster. Brand new and sealed. Even this reissue is a desirable and rare find!
If you like: the effervescent sounds of Japanese city pop from Anri to 1986 Omega Tribe to Sadistics–or perhaps if you are not familiar with city pop, even Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees or Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy–you’ll fall in love with the delightful Summer Breeze.
About: Led by guitarist/vocalist Keisuke Yamamoto, Piper was formed in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. A move to Tokyo was followed by the release of their first single on Yupiteru Records, thanks to original guitarist Yuji Suzuki who had became an A&R man for the label. Citing British bands like Wishbone Ash and Camel as influences, Yamamoto and Piper nevertheless conjured up classic American sounds on Piper’s recordings, utilizing unusual recording techniques and new technologies like Linn drums to effortlessly blend styles of funk, soul and fusion and simultaneously evoking summer vibes, autumnal breezes, and wintery shimmer.
Summer Breeze is Piper’s second album, originally released in 1984 on Yupiteru. Inspired by the sounds of Masayoshi Takanaka and Tatsuro Yamashita, as well as the concept of “BGM” (background music) championed by YMO, Summer Breeze was a conscious about face from their debut to create a new signature sound and become masters of summery resort vibes. Its smooth sounds belie the bevy of experimentation utilized on the recording, from vocoders and drum programming to recording guitars direct through the board. Even the iconic cover art, with the surfer wearing an impossibly short crop top, is deceiving in its simplicity – it was one of the most expensive jackets produced by the label at the time, due to its use of special spot colors and custom handlettering. The original album featured the marketing copy “Good Weather! Good Sounds!” which perfectly encapsulates the sounds contained on the album.*via Light In The Attic
Why it’s worth your time: Perhaps the album artwork and title itself give it away–Summer Breeze is a sparkling day-to-night soundtrack to summers spent pretending you know how to surf at a coastline somewhere in the mid-‘80s. That being said, this time spent in the waves is a far cry from the convergence of a Florida yacht club. Inventive and experimental, Piper renovates the oft shallow and commercial-sounding prospects of pop into sophisticated, irresistible pieces drenched in jazz, funk, and soul influence–punctuated by often repetetive lyrics (sometimes fed through a vocoder) almost in the same vein as a Lizzy Mercier Descloux-flavored no wave piece in which the vocals are rythmic and actually become a part of the instrumental landscape in and of themselves, albeit not as chaotic (i.e. “Hot Sand” or “Starlight Love”). It’s this recipe, along with a city pop sensibility, that allows for such a fantastic and addicting listening experience and retains this album’s allure despite the years passed.
A favorite track: Samba Night