From a deep affection for the composers of New Yorks Tin Pan Alley and Martin Denny's Exotica and impressed by what Dr. John had done with New Orleans Music on "Gumbo" and Van Dyke Parks' work on "Discover America" (Mr Parks also produced Happy Ends third album in 73) he invented himself as a solo-artist, as the "Tropical Dandy", in 1974 following the release of "Hosono House" a year earlier.
Three albums got released during this phase, the last one "Paraiso" already indicating what the further development would be by including both more traditional japanese and funkier themes.
Coined to "Haruomi Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band" it features performances by music-student and session-musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi, drummer of glam-pop-band "Sadistic Mika Band".
For the first time explicitly electronic elements show up and Hideki Matsutake, who would become the Yellow Magic Orchestras invaluable programmer in the days before MIDI, is appearing on the scene.
What was supposed to be a one-off project turned into a boiling pot of musical magic incorporating both computer-related production- and composing-techniques comparable to other Avantgarde-Pop like Kraftwerk or Philip Glass (with heavy hints of video-game-music) and a reflection of black music's departure into the future of dancemusic (therefore related to the work done by Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Talking Heads, Giorgio Moroder, Yello during the same time).
Between 1978 and 1981 Yellow Magic Orchestra released five albums (YMO, Solid State Survivor, Xoo Multiplies, BGM and Technodelic), became Japans leading figures of modern pop-music and at least the earlier more accessible works gained them success in the USA with various live-shows, an appearance on Soul Train and Quincy Jones having Michael Jackson sing on "Behind the Mask".
This Live Special tries to capture the development of their creativity during these years, starting with a Hosono-Exotica set from 76 and excerpts from three YMO live-shows staged between 79 and 81. During these shows they were joined by keyboardist Akiko Yano and guitarist Kazumi Watanabe, both exceptional artist in their own right, and back-uped by Matsutakes stacks of computers.
What happened to Sakamoto, Takahashi and Hosono in the following years can be found out easily all over the internet, this show should just serve as an introduction to all the awesomeness that happened further on the yellow magic planet.
They remain active, courageous and inspired until the present day.