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Friday, January 11, 2013

Makoto - Nside

Name:  Makoto
Album(s): Nside
Years: 1985
Style: Fusion, Jazz –Funk, R&B
Similar Bands:  
Billy Ocean
, Deniece Williams, Chaka Khan, Teena Marie, Kenny G
"One-Word" Review:  Smooth, Dated, Non-threatening
Based Out Of:  
Japan & California

Label: Qwest, Warner Bros.
Nside - Cover & Record
Nside - Back & Record
Nside (1985)
  1. Nside 3:45
  2. Rich Man, Poor Man 4:29
  3. Day In Day Out 3:48
  4. Tokio Dream 4:05
  5. Fragile Handle With Care 4:25/
  6. Mind Reader 4:37
  7. I Don’t Know (instrum.) 4:57
  8. Wings (instrum.) 4:55
  9. Yin & Yang (instrum.) 6:20
 Album Rating (1-10): 4.5

Members & Other Bands:
Billy “Shoes” Johnson – Drums (Maze & Frankie Beverly, MFSB, Billy Paul, John Lee Hooker, Peaches & Herb)
Phillip Woo – Keys (Maze & Frankie Beverly, Roy Ayers, )
Kav DeLuxe – Art Direction
Zand Gee – Art Direction, Design, Photography
Mary Ann Dibs - Design
Akira Kurosaki - Cover Art "Camouflage World 8"
Hiroyuki Shido – Bass
Makoto Horiuchi – Guitar, Producer
Peter Fujii – Guitar (Pharoah Sanders, LJ Reynolds)
June Kuramoto – Koto
Bernie Grundman – Mastering
Steve Williams – Mixing, Engineer, Recording
John Santos – Percussion
Brian Fessenden – Photography
Larry Schneider – Sax, Flute, Reeds
Claytoven Richardson – Vox
Portia Griffin - Vox
George Abe - Yokobue & Shakuhachi
Siedah Garrett - Vox
Michael Andre Ortega - Synth Programming
Jim Suhy - Simmons Drum Programming
Dale Ervinham - Engineering
Keith Seppanen - Engineering
Craig Burbridge - Engineering
John Chung - Business Manager
Gordon W. Chew - Stylist
Elanor Marie Chew - Make up
Quincy Jones - Sensei

Unknownness:  I’ve never heard of this band, but from the art deco design on the front, I’m guessing I’m not going to like it too much. Too pastel and I’ve never been a fan of the design. And the picture of the “band” on the back reminds me of something of the smooth jazz nature. Not sure why I picked this record up…only one way to find out what it is really like.

Album Review:
“Nside” begins with what sounds like a synth drum intro, and the song kicks in with an over produced 80’s smooth synth feel. The female vocals are very dated to the 80’s r&b style. The song is still somewhat catchy, despite it’s too clean style. The female vocals give it a real emotional edge that balances the xylophone and other electronic elements in the background. The chorus is a vocal chorus of female voices with a bit of call and response.
“Rich Man, Poor Man” keeps the stereotypical 80’s smooth pop style going with clean, non-threatening instrumentation, and a smooth r&b male vocal, reminding me of Billy Ocean. There are some hooks in the song, but the production is so bland that nothing really stands out.  Having the music on feels like background, incidental music. I cannot believe there are actually real instruments used here. Everything has that squiggly wah-wah effect that synthesizers place on music to give it an accent, which, novel for the time, just comes off as extremely dated.
“Day In Day Out” is a mystical dream sequenced song. A drum loop and tubular bell keyboard setting plod along behind the much more interesting female r&b vocals. Even the flute solo sounds completely produced, like all white stucco on a frame of a house, or like the fake TV’s and VCRs you’d see at IKEA.
“Tokio Dream” has some sort of picked instrument in the beginning, and swirling synth effects, that give a vague impression of Japanese culture. It feels like what the music for Sonic the Hedgehog would have sounded like if it were made 10 years earlier. It is mostly an instrumental, with the only voices a female chorus of the song title. Again the electronic wavering notes accent nearly every line of music. The music could continue forever, with minimal changes, and the song eventually fades out.
“Fragile Handle With Care” is a soft R&B ballad-duet. This is a slow dance at a middle school dance. Or a music video with lots of smoke, people in robes, and candelabras. It kind of reminds me of a slower, less catchy, adult contemporary version of the New Kids on the Block’s “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).” 

“Mind Reader” begins with more techno and almost industrial effects. Then the effects are minimized and the song becomes is a funky, overproduced pop song. It still feels like it is missing one big element that would make the song really catch and become interesting. But it just careens along a steady non-threatening path. Again, underneath the song could be some good hooks and ideas, but it feels like it is supposed to be a 3-D image, which has been, instead, flattened to 2-D.
“I Don’t Know” is the first time I can recall hearing synthesized electric guitars. The song is very progressive, with many slight pauses and time changes in the keys, slap bass and guitar sounds. It a very weird ironic  song, where the parts that are supposed to be bombastic and powerful are rendered down to meet the minimum energy as if to not stir the pot. An electric guitar then picks up and wails along in an interesting solo, which leads right back to the meandering prog song, which is really driven along by the bass line. Overall, it feels like a musical intro to some tabloid show or something from FOX news.
“Wings” is a much more calming, pool side lay-about, but the background “guitar” melody is so very familiar (later I figured that it is “Oveture” from Bjork’s movie Dancer in the Dark [at :36]). It never rises about gentle monotony. A smooth sax comes in about half way, further dating the song, and solidifying it as smooth jazz. This could be theme music to run-of-the-mill sit-coms from the late 70’s.
“Yin & Yang” is a new agey organic bell/guitar strumming sound, also included is a harp.  This could be on the echoes radio show on XPN. The main melody is driven by what sounds to me like a steel drum effect. The song continues to build in one of the early sections, going above and beyond where you would expect it to stop. Then it transitions into Cosby Show smooth, but energetic jazz fusion. The song employs its name sake by balancing smooth calm sections against the smooth energetic sections. This ends the album at an entirely different place than where it began. It is almost like these last three tracks were from a different album than the first 6. And it is not just because of the lacking of vocals, it is something about the production and prog/jazz feel of the latter three. The composition of the first 6 are also more pop-song oriented.

Stand Out Track: Nside


1 comment:

  1. Hello friend

    This album is from the year 1985 is a very good fusion jazz when I was 16 years ago, I first heard on a local radio station, if you do not like the cover art and content I offer you Give the gift me, we made an exchange