Harry "Haruomi" Hosono

N.D.E.

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Like his fellow Yellow Magic Orchestra alumnus Ryuichi Sakamoto, keyboardist and programmer Haruomi Hosono has a taste for exotic experimentation. But the similarities pretty much end there. Sakamoto's solo work runs to a sort of light contemporary classical music, and his collaborations have tended to be with pop musicians. On N.D.E., Hosono teams up with a host of sidemen both famous (bassist Bill Laswell) and obscure (saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu, violinist Arun Bagal) to create a beautiful, funky, and yet strangely creepy collage of electronic beats, modal melodies, and exotic samples. Not surprisingly, Laswell's is the strongest presence here -- on "Navigations" he pretty much takes over with his trademark punchy basslines and samples of North African ululations, while the textures and drones of "Edge of the End" recall his own Hear No Evil album of a few years earlier. Another strong voice here is that of Bagal, whose keening modal violin make "Strange Attractor" and "Aero" two of the most compelling items on this album. Highly recommended.

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