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Magical Power Mako - Super record CD (album) cover


Magical Power Mako

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars A familial album, not a familiar one. :-)

On this second shot by Magical Power Mako (not with his bandmates but with his family), his experimental trial as the previous work is suppressed but gets to be more sensitive and theoretical for music. That is, in my humble opinion, Mako might accept that everything eccentric is not alright but consistency of music should be needed. With featuring many kinds of instruments, he might consider the important thing is musical integration. Well, please listen to the first half named as 'Butch Side'. The stream-like starting of the first track Andromeda is the proof as above mentioned. Oh, I see, the integration could be constructed because he was the one and only player in this work. Tundra, with quiet and cold psychedelia, next Oriental chandelier Silk Road, and wonderfully hot and juicy Woman in South Island...all are made so compact, not scattered. Could they be easy for us to listen? Leaving Butch's voice behind (sorry), Pink Butch (Lalala) is a beautiful piece of cake. Very sweet, very melancholic, and very feminine. Maybe because Mako liked to show his feminine appearance on media...? :-) Long and a little boring refrain is, I suggest, as flowing to the 5th 'Music From Heaven'. The latter half, named as Rock side, is like a sandwich with Sound 3 and each track. Especially I should push Rock Baby In Meadow as Mako showing consideration for his baby Rock. Yes, therefore this is a familial album. Of course, with full of exotic flavour and Mako's humming (!) Majorica Resistance Song goes floating, and Cosmos Sandglass is his laidback heart... Feel that Mako play with relaxed style.

So far from experimental rock but this album can prove that his family was (is still now?) so spacey and psychedelic. :-)

Report this review (#212863)
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
4 stars Japanese More

Over the past couple of years I have completely fallen for the Japanese music scene. Starting out with the big names such as Flower Travellin' Band and Far East Family Band (much due to the connection with my much beloved Klaus Schulze), it then progressed into something more fickle and investigative. I had now begun my big Sherlock Holmes hunt for things far beyond the norm - things that make elderly ladies go WIIH and OHH - and have ever since collected albums from acts with names that sound like liquor for kids - or some strange new metallic fruit.

Magical Power Mako are, or perhaps more befitting, is one of the early artists that I stumbled upon, back when I was mostly into psychedelic music. This album presented itself to me as the second coming of something I knew like the back of my hand. In fact it still does. To me it genuinely sounds like a Japanese take on the old sandwich album/movie soundtrack from Floyd: More.

Sure you encounter some of those same orangy colours in the art work, but hiding underneath is an expressive, intimate and charming little bugger of an album, that on more than one occasion points a finger in the general direction of the Floyd boys circa 1969. There is a prevailing eclectic shadow hanging over these tunes, that apart from generating a haphazard feel to things, actually works like a strange mythical binding agent. Together but apart... Just like More, you get treated to all kinds of differentiating tempers, that vary on the individual tracks and how they flow, weave and stack up against each other. I'll be bold and say that Super Record feels connected and well-orchestrated, even if the proof in the pudding suggests otherwise...

The opening cuts cement the Japanese adoration for the occult psychedelic - the larvalling oozing presence of lethargic slow moving guitars, that push through your speakers like a pair of somersaulting black birds immersing from a wall of black currant marmalade. Had this music been put out in Germany from around the same time, it surely would have received recognition as being part of the Krautrock scene(remember, Krautrock was largely a label we modern folks have conjured up in order to alphabetise our music collections to better ask for directions in the lands of sonic experimentation).

Jumping almost casually from the big soupy psychedelic start, the listener is guided into a dream-like state of far East ragadelicious vibes with sitars and folk laden atmospheres with heaps of acoustic instruments, to the more western influenced parts of this album, where you get your rocks off while still feeling that oriental tinged feel of it all hovering above you like a see-through veil of sound.

Much like More, Super Record also has its fair share of interludes/epilogues, whatever you want to call them, and they are of a surprisingly high quality. They are extremely necessary to these ears. The Sound 3 track for instance coming on every once in a while, actually 5 times in all, acts as short moments of unadulterated simplistic beauty wherever you encounter it. It's merely a wobbly electric wah wahing guitar talking slowly and echoing to you, but it is just so infectious and riveting. Come to think of it, most of this record uses that same sort of musical laissez faire template. Apart from the obvious well- written ditties, you sense a wonderful open approach to music making that soaks everything in small glistening ornamentations. Whether it's done with a psychedelic electric guitar, sitar, sparse squeaking synthesizer or a relentless tapping flow of natural sounding clay drums, there's always a tremendous emphasis on the simplistic and natural within this album.

Now when I say 'natural', and have mentioned time and again the electric guitar - as well as a synthesiser, you can probably guess, that I mean something of the sort that pushes through in other areas than the factual ingredients of the album. I am of course speaking about the general vibe - the flow of things - how you feel transported out in the breathtaking natural wilderness of the far East - mountains, cherry blossoms, misty morning fogs flying overhead and all that you can possibly imagine transcribing in the natural environment around above and beneath you.... Just add a gazillion sonic fuelled rainbow colours swirling peacefully about in a constantly moving mosaic.

Report this review (#784849)
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The music of Magical Power Mako never crossed my radar until I stumbled across his 1995 album "Lo Pop Diamonds" in my local library (in suburban Buffalo, of all places) and later discovered he was a featured artist in these Archives. That first encounter proved a less than ideal entry into the alternate universe of MPM, elsewhere known as Makoto Kurita when he isn't hiding in his bedroom studio, conjuring his Magical Power.

Thankfully this 1975 effort is something else entirely. And by "something else" I mean an almost uncanny funhouse-mirror reflection of his Western role models: something not uncommon in post- war Japan but elevated here to its creative zenith, where simple translation becomes original mutation. A blind headphone test would leave me convinced I was hearing a long-lost, early '70s Krautrock LP, instead of a home recording by a reclusive Japanese teenager with a tacky fringe haircut and a near-visionary understanding of his own interior cosmos.

The album was recorded over a period of several years, and the music is (literally) all over the map, from backwoods Azerbaijan to rural Switzerland to beyond the Andromeda Galaxy...everywhere, apparently, except his native Japan. But Mako's controls were set mainly for the heart of counterculture Germany. The album opener "Andromeda" reveals a kinship with Manuel Göttsching and ASH RA TEMPEL; the musical caravan of "Silk Road" carries echoes of Michael Karoli and CAN (in its strummed baglama and laser-beam electric guitars); and in "Pink Butch (LaLaLa)" the subtitle conveniently spells out the song's entire lyrical content, breathlessly sung in the style of a narcoleptic Klaus Dinger.

The latter half of the album alternates even more eclectic detours - medieval Normandy in "Majorica Resistance Song"; a child's nursery in "Rock Baby in Meadow" - with pieces of a split interlude titled "Sound 3", divided into five parts but totaling under four-minutes in combined length. Separating the tracks this way only increases the album's overall sense of stylistic dislocation, appropriate for an artist described by psychedelic fanboy and "Japrocksampler" author Julian Cope as a "musical hermit".

After first hearing the skewed tinker-toy electropop of "Lo Pop Diamonds" (worth at least one spin, for the unexpected novelty) I was relieved, and more than a little thrilled, to be reminded that there are still magicians among us, weaving their powerful spells.

Report this review (#1378026)
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2015 | Review Permalink

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