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, July 7, 2021

Casiopea -- Make Up City (track)


Those must have been some heady days for the fusion bands and the fusion fans at the turn of the decade from the 1970s into the 1980s. Spyro Gyra is one band from the United States that I used to hear fairly often on the radio, and they were formed just across Lake Ontario in Buffalo, New York.

Of course, across the Pacific Ocean, there were bands such as The Square and Casiopea, and from the latter group, here is the title track from their 4th album "Make Up City" released in November 1980. Created by guitarist Issei Noro(野呂一生)and with a guest appearance by synthesizer whiz Hideki Matsutake(松武秀樹)from Yellow Magic Orchestra, "Make Up City" is the melodic version of strolling through an activity-laden downtown with all of its funk and jazz during a summer afternoon. A listener on his/her Walkman might want to alternately strut and glide on the concrete.

I've seen the cover for the album for years now and I was interested what it was all about. According to the J-Wiki article on "Make Up City", it's a depiction of a city in the not-too-distant future although from my first glance at it, I thought it looked more like the inside of some technological device. At one point, I thought it even resembled a bird's-eye view of a TARDIS control room. 

As for the title, Casiopea had wanted it to express the creation of a city, but apparently drummer and member of the band Fourplay, Harvey Mason, who would produce the band's 5th album "Eyes of the Mind" for release in 1981, put a shock into everyone when he saw the title and blurted out "You guys wanna clean up a city?". I'm assuming that Mason took "make up" in the same vein as "make up your bed". I had also initially seen the title as a bit off because it was missing a definite article and assumed that it had something to do with cosmetics, and strangely enough, according to that J-Wiki article, that was exactly what Casiopea had been thinking as well: applying make-up to the city in the same way that make-up is applied to the face to beautify it.

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