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Magical Power Mako

This self-styled visionary and musical hermit has been releasing albums since the mid-70s. But the variety and here-there-and-everywhere approach of his attitude to record releases makes it difficult to grasp just who Magical Power Mako is, and what he does best. Mako’s career began auspiciously enough with thunderous applause for his first three LPs, but the slow nature of his recording techniques soon contributed to record company impatience with this often brilliant artist. Viewed by many as a legend and by others as a chancer, there’s no doubt that the extraordinarily varied quality of Magical Power Mako’s during the ‘90s contributed dramatically to compromising the public’s long-term perception of this charming artist.
Born Makoto Kurita around 1955, Mako grew up in the seaside resort of Izu Shuzenji, a sea coastal town similar to Brighton or Torquay. Throughout his childhood, he was an outsider who wrote much music and played piano and guitar while still in primary school. At junior high school, he decided to make a more concerted effort to realise his musical vision, and would return home after school to write songs every day. His house was situated in the mountains and looked down at the town’s hot springs. Mako became fascinated then obsessed by an octagonal hotel built near the hot springs. Visible from his bedroom, Mako believed that someone was observing him from the hotel’s 3rd floor. This sense of being observed spurred him further into musical activities and, at age fourteen, he began to record with a reel-to-reel, ping ponging the tracks back and forth in order to build up sound. The summer holidays of 1970 were spent in long recording sessions making his own LP. When it was finished, Mako wrote on the reel-to-reel tape box: ‘Summer 1970, things a 14-year-old boy thinks about’. The tape commenced with a song (‘I Bought An Extraordinarily Big Eye In The Town One Day For A Good Bargain Price’).

“One day, I bought an extremely big eye in the town, very cheaply,
When I saw the world through the eye,
Extremely small people were making noise,
Making a fuss about winning or losing,
What pathetic people who only have small eyes,
And they think the universe is the end of this world,
Not knowing that there is another world,
One Day I bought an extraordinarily big eye for a cheap bargain price.”

The tape contained the song ‘Open The Morning Window’ from the first LP. In this track, the lyric is about a human with a switch device for changing ways of thinking. He recorded enough songs for two LPs whilst still at junior high school. Then, Mako decided school was a dead end, and moved to Tokyo in the spring of 1971. While working in a steel factory and/or at the local pub, he formed a band named Genge with his brother. From September ’71, the band played at a mini-theatre Jan Jan, in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. His name began to count for something by April 1972, when he played his first major appearance at JIYU KUKAN(‘Freedom Space’). This so-called ‘modern music’ event took place at Nigata, in the north of Honshu. This event saw the flowering of a friendship with Keiji Heino (Two songs on the first LP (‘Restraint, Freedom’ and his high school song ‘Look Up The Sky’) featured his friend Keiji Haino.). From May 1972, Mako began to broadcast music for documentaries and radio dramas for NHK. In February 1973, Mako and Keiji Haino played live on a daytime chat TV programme entitled HIRU NO PUREZENTO (‘Lunchtime present’), and many viewers complained. In March 1973, Mako appeared on the NHK TV programme ONGAKU TO WATASHI (‘Music & I’), where he met composer Toru Takemitsu (b. 1930), then already in his mid-forties. Mako later took part in the recording of the music for Takemitsu’s THE FOREST OF FOSSILS. Mako’s relationship with Takemitsu blossomed, and in 1974, Mako took part in the music production for Takemitsu’s HIMIKO, a musical piece named after the first queen of Japan. His friendship with Takemitsu also saw him invited to participate in NHK-TV’s HERITAGE FOR THE FUTURE. It seems that Takemitsu’s recommendation to Polydor secured Mako’s first LP release. From the summer of 1973, he took up residence in a house belonging to the US Army, located in Fussa, Greater Tokyo. Mako began to record in this house, multi-tracking instrumental tracks endlessly. So many tapes were recorded that would not see the light of day for over twenty years, allowing new listeners to discover his old music. Even before the first LP, Mako recorded with Keiji Haino at the Fussa house.

Julian Cope
Discography:
  • MAGICAL POWER MAKO (Polydor, 1973)
  • SUPER RECORD (Polydor, 1975)
  • JUMP (Polydor, 1977)
  • WELCOME TO EARTH (East World, 1979)
  • MUSIC FROM HEAVEN (Marquee, 1981)
  • MAGICAL COMPUTER MUSIC (1985)
  • HAPPY EARTH (1985)
  • NEXT MILLENNIUM VIBRATIONS (1993)
  • TRANCE RESONANCE (Marquee, 1994)
  • BLUE DOT (Atavistic, 1994)
  • COSMO VISION (1994)
  • HUMAN! GET OFF THE EARTH QUICKLY (1995)
  • LO POP DIAMONDS (Marquee, 1996)
  • NO GOVERNMENT AFTER REVOLUTION (1997)
  • EROTIC ELOHIM (Kero Jetter, 1998)
  • MAGIC (1998)
  • HAPMONIYM 1972-75 (5CD Box Set) (MIO, 2002)
  • COZMO GROSSO (2004)
  • Magical Power Mako - MAGICAL POWER MAKOMAGICAL POWER MAKO
  • Magical Power Mako - SUPER RECORDSUPER RECORD
  • Magical Power Mako - JUMPJUMP
  • Magical Power Mako - WELCOME TO EARTHWELCOME TO EARTH
  • Magical Power Mako - HAPPY EARTHHAPPY EARTH
  • Magical Power Mako - NEXT MILLENNIUM VIBRATIONSNEXT MILLENNIUM VIBRATIONS
  • Magical Power Mako - BLUE DOTBLUE DOT
  • Magical Power Mako - LO POP DIAMONDSLO POP DIAMONDS
  • Magical Power Mako - HAPMONIYM 1972-75 (5CD Box Set)HAPMONIYM 1972-75 (5CD Box Set)

Images
  • Hapmoniym 1972-1975 #2
MoM-005(1993)1st press
  • Hapmoniym 1972-1975 #3
MoM-005(1993)1st press
Link
Comments
Petrified Forest 1973
MPM helped score the Masahiro Shinoda movie "Forest of Fossils" better known as 'Petrified Forest' released in 1973. This bizarre love and murder Japan style movie is interesting but not essential. It is available on DVD in the Shinoda Toho Collection with good English subtitles - Region 2, NTSC. (note: You wouldn't recognise the score as MPM)
Posted by MC, Sep 04, 2007
Lo Pop diamonds CD Kao yo
http://www.atavistic.com/albums.php?id=90
Posted by chemoman, Feb 27, 2008
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