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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Kenji Omura -- Maps

I was watching the concert video of Yellow Magic Orchestra at the Budokan around 1980, and of course, the guys played all of the favourites such as "Rydeen" and "Technopolis". YMO also had their cadre of musicians along to help them on their tour which included singer-songwriter Akiko Yano(矢野顕子), synthesizer whiz Hideki Matsutake(松武秀樹)and the late guitarist Kenji Omura(大村憲司).

Speaking of Omura, he got a chance to perform a solo during the Budokan concert and at first, I'd thought that he was singing a YMO tune that I had never heard before...which is pretty difficult nowadays. But as it turned out, it was actually Omura's own tune, "Maps", from his 1981 album "Haru ga Ippai"(春がいっぱい...Spring is Nearly Here). Maybe he was trying it out in concert before recording it for the album.

Written by Chris Mosdell and composed by YMO drummer Yukihiro Takahashi(高橋幸宏), "Maps" has got its share of synths in there, but I think that it's more of a New Wave tune that had me thinking of David Bowie at that time. There are also hints of The Fixx in there, too. I don't think that Omura is a particularly great singer, especially when it comes to concert performances, and in the above Budokan video, he sounded rather muddled. However, "Maps" makes for a nice little trip into nostalgia land with all of those spooky synths and spangly guitar work. Still, if push comes to shove, I will probably always go with Omura's fusion fare with his previous album in 1978, "Kenji Shock".

Oh, how I would have loved to have gotten one of those YMO shirts as you can see in the Budokan video, though. I did have an opportunity once, though, but I let it go. Just as well...considering how slim those guys were back then, that shirt on sale would have been screaming in horror at the prospect of trying to encompass my girth.😖

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