Credits

I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, December 19, 2016

T-Square -- T-Square plays The Square


"Hibike Euphonium" brought me here.

Well, to be more accurate, "Hibike Euphonium"(響け!ユーフォニアム)brought me to "Takarajima"(宝島...Treasure Island)which brought me here tonight. Yep, after hearing anime's favourite high school band for this year perform a jazzed-up version of T-Square's "Takarajima", I was inspired to buy any album with that song by the band. And it wasn't too hard to find one. I got their cover album "T-Square plays The Square" from October 2010 via Tower Records. Just to reiterate, The Square was the old name for this fusion band before it decided to drop a couple of letters.


So I gave it a play on the stereo. Of course, "Takarajima" was truly the treasure for me. I can give this one track a goodly amount of listening. As I mentioned in its article, I believe I had heard excerpts of it on various variety shows over in Japan for years without getting to know the whole McCoy.


But that wasn't the only song that had me thinking about the past. What has stood out for T-Square has been that instrument played by band member Takeshi Ito(伊東たけし). I referred to it lazily in the other article as "that weird woodwind" but its official name is a wind synthesizer. And taking its distinct sound into consideration since I had heard it before with another song, I played a hunch. The hunch paid off.

It turns out that T-Square had already been in my memories for decades without me officially knowing about the band. The band was responsible for one of the most famous sports coverage themes in Japanese history, thanks to their creation "Truth" which was the title track of their 12th album in 1987 as well as the band's 10th single from 1991. The rousing song with that wind synthesizer was used as the theme song for Fuji-TV's Formula 1 racing show from 1987-1998. And a cover version of it is in "T-Square plays The Square". Talk about old friends (that song, my memory) coming across one another after so long.


"Omens of Love" which starts the album off was a 12-inch single released in June 1985. And it sounds so 80s! In fact, it sounds like the perfect theme for a coming-of-age high school drama set in California back in those days...big hair, mullets and all. Pianist Hirotaka Izumi(和泉宏隆), the same fellow behind "Takarajima" was also responsible for the creation of "Omens of Love".The song was also a track on the band's 10th album "R・E・S・O・R・T" from April 1985.


The winter has hit with a vengeance here in Toronto so I wouldn't be surprised if the entire population of the city has that hankering to flee to the Aloha State. Well, I don't have any air tickets but here is another track by The Square "Hawaii e Ikitai"(ハワイへ行きたい...I Want to Go to Hawaii), which not only is on this album but also on their 6th album from November 1982, "Kyakusenbi no Yuuwaku"(脚線美の誘惑...The Temptation of Shapely Legs). I don't really get any hints of Hawaii here from this song created by guitarist Masahiro Ando(安藤まさひろ)but I get this really nice and funky City Pop vibe.


My final track for tonight is "Tomorrow's Affair" which provides a wonderful performance by Ando who also composed it. The original version was a track from T-Square's 4th album from 1980 "Rockoon", and with that homemade video above, it seems to fit as a proud city anthem for Tokyo. Plus with that blistering Ando guitar, I couldn't help but think about the theme song from the crime movie "Goodfellas" but that didn't come out for another 10 years following "Rockoon".


"T-Square plays The Square" is my first J-fusion purchase and it's a proud one. I will have to give it some more solid listening to glean some more insights but at first blush, I've enjoyed my first full experience. And I've got to thank an anime that will be wrapping up its second season in less than a week for my introduction. Now let's see about that Casiopeia album.


And for the record, the lineup for T-Square is guitarist Masahiro Ando, saxophonist Takeshi Ito, keyboardist Keizo Kawano(河野啓三)and drummer Satoshi Bando(坂東慧)although the members have shifted in and out over the years...just like The Avengers!

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