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.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tomita Lab -- Shiplaunching

Hard to believe that it's been over a year since our Caribbean cruise. Harmony of the Seas was a fine ship but for me at least, I think that I've had my fill of cruises for the immediate future.

One of the earliest articles I've written for "Kayo Kyoku Plus" was the one for Tomita Lab's(冨田ラボ)"Shipbuilding", the first album by musician/producer Keiichi Tomita(冨田恵一)under his current nom de plume from 2003. He basically invited a wide array of singers including Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実)and Hanaregumi(ハナレグミ)to join in some of his cool and groovy music. Loved the music so I ended up getting the album.

Well, a sequel came out three years later titled "Shiplaunching". The only thing is that I have yet to buy it but that will probably be rectified soon enough. Still, listening to a couple of the tracks that already have representation on YouTube, I felt energized enough to talk about the album.

For instance, Track 2 right after the short introduction is "Placebo C'est Si Bon"(プラシーボ・セシボン). Continuing the tradition from "Shipbuilding", Tomita Lab has recruited New Music vets Yukihiro Takahashi and Taeko Ohnuki(高橋幸宏・大貫妙子)to talk about that wonderful narcotic called love. Bringing in this duo who got their start in the 1970s was a grand thing since the music by Tomita is so Steely Dan, it hurts. Takaki Horigome(堀込高樹)from Kirinji(キリンジ)provided the lyrics. The video could almost be a compressed episode out of a typical Wednesday night Japanese comedy-drama.

Right after "Placebo C'est Si Bon" is "Like A Queen" featuring the R&B sister act from Hokkaido, SOULHEAD. Now I have to say that despite the music video here looking a whole lot less fancier than the one that adorned Takahashi and Onuki and the song being much shorter, I actually like "Like A Queen" even better.

Bizarrely, "Like A Queen" launches like a New Wave synthpop number but it quickly reveals its true self, a gloriously groovy tune with lyrics by the one and only Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子). Once again, love is shown as being the true way of things while Tomita's music is the true accompaniment for a drive on the highway. The only thing I regret is that it wasn't a little more longer.

Well, take a gander at the concert version with Tomita providing a guitar solo. In any case, "Shiplaunching" is on the to-buy list, and I know that there is at least one more track with a video on YouTube but I will leave that for later. Compared to "Shipbuilding", which peaked at No. 96 on Oricon, "Shiplaunching" went higher up, hitting No. 51.

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