The Yellow Magic of Haruomi Hosono

While most of us in the West are acquainted with Haruomi Hosono as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, back in Japan his vast body of work outside of the band is well documented. There he enjoys a revered status as a solo artist, an innovative producer and a pioneer of electronic music. Yakob Bakker walks us through some of the more compelling work Hosono has put out over his illustrious career.

With a musical catalogue spanning almost half a century, Haruomi Hosono is regarded as one of the most innovative Japanese pop and electronic artists of his time.

Hosono first emerged in Japan as the bass player of the psychedelic rock band Apryl Fool in the late 60s, following that up with his first solo album, the exotic rock vinyl Hosono House in 1973. Over the years, Hosono has accumulated well over 30 albums under his belt, including solo releases, compilations and collaborative efforts in a diverse range of styles from pop and rock, to ambient and exotica. His extensive record dates back as early as 1969 up till the latest in 2013.

At the ripe age of 69, Hosono is still going strong today. He is highly productive and has frequently found interesting collaborations throughout his career, such as his work with the experimental and legendary Yellow Magic Orchestra. Hosono has also created soundtracks for films, games and music lovers; from early incarnations of chiptune to exotica. Check out the rest of Hosono’s extended discography and pick your own favorites!

Here is my shortlist of essentials:

Hosono House (1973)
Hosono’s first solo-album released in 1973. A very innovative exotica album.

Tropical Dandy (1975)
Continuing in the same tropical style as Hosono House is his second album, which is of equal quality to his first, only calmer and more melodious.

Chocin Moon (1978)
An innovative “electro-exotica” album. Named after the fictional Bollywood film Chocin Moon, to which it is the soundtrack.

Philharmony (1982)
Hosono’s first real electronic album with ambient instruments.

Omni Sight Seeing (1989)
An ambient electronic album with a world music feel, made up of a diverse collection of tracks with vocals in Arabic, French, English and Japanese.


N.D.E (1995)
Excellent electronic/techno album. Absolute essential for electronica and techno lovers.

Medicine Compilation From The Quiet Lodge (2009)
Great compilation of Hosono’s music, some refreshingly edited.