When U.S. label Palto Flats reissued Japanese band Mariah’s album “Utakata no Hibi” (“Ephemeral Days”) in 2015, it wasn’t the first time an obscure record from the bubble era had been given new attention. However, the critical praise that followed the release triggered new interest in Japanese artists whose work is a mix of ambient, new age and world music elements.

Haruomi Hosono, formerly of pioneering rock band Happy End, developed an interest in the 1950s “exotica” sounds of American composer Martin Denny, who tried to imagine the music of Asia for middle-class Westerners. Hosono played around with this idea across his “Soy Sauce Music” trilogy of albums in the mid-1970s by exploring music from the Caribbean, North America and Asia, adding his own Japanese perspective to each.

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