Tag Archives: METAFIVE

2016, in review

Alas, 2016 has now drawn to a close, an event which ought to make everyone say “finally, thank God”.  Though make no mistake, 2017 could very well be worse; as much damage as Trump has done to our country this year, just imagine what could happen when the man actually holds executive power.  From a music perspective, who knows – hard to imagine we’ll lose as many legends as we did this year, though to be frank here all the stars of the 60’s and 70’s are really getting up there aren’t they?  Granted, some of these deaths were particularly tragic – Bowie kicking off a week after releasing his best album in decades; Prince passing despite remaining as youthful and busy as ever; Keith Emerson dying by his own hand.  Christ, who’s next?  (12/8/2016: turns out I didn’t have to wait long – it’s Greg Lake.)

So it’s bittersweet in a sense, but 2016 was really a great year for new music (so long as what.cd wasn’t your primary source), though I say that with my usual disclaimer that I’m not even close to caught up on the year yet.  My year end list is going to look a lot different than everyone else’s, mostly because I’ve heard like three of the albums that are mainstays on the yearly Top 50s.  So I’m just going to split this up into the stuff I really liked, and then everything else I feel like writing about.  And we’ll just call it at that.  Rather than prattle on about the respective qualities of all these albums (many of which I’ve already written about on this site…follow the links on the titles if you want to read those), I’ll tackle them from the perspective of time, since a lot of these are from people that have been around the block a few times.  I mean, a lot of these acts I’ve been a fan of for over a decade; I turned 30 this year, my son turned 2, I have a daughter on the way…time is marching on.  So let’s start:

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Metafive – Meta (2016)


Top row, left to right: Keigo Oyamada, Leo Imai, Yukihiro Takahashi
Bottom row, left to right: Towa Tei, Yoshinori Sunahara, Tomohiko Gondo

Who else could put together a band like this? Not only has Yukihiro Takahashi made connections all over Japan, he’s also one of the country’s most influential musicians, having maintained a slighty-ahead-of-the-curve approach for over four decades. Metafive formed in 2014 as a tongue-in-cheek supergroup, a band full of successful technopop musicians who grew up listening to Yellow Magic Orchestra (with the exception of Leo Imai, who was born in the year of Technodelic), playing faithful renditions of songs mostly from Takahashi’s classic 79-82 period. Techno Recital was the group’s first release, a live album featuring many of Takahashi’s best songs from that period both YMO and solo, plus some more recent tunes, alongside covers of Dylan and The Beatles. Like many of Takahashi’s live albums it’s very good and well worth a listen or three, though I questioned why he would put together such an accomplished and talented group just to essentially be his backing band.

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