Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
First off: YES, THAT IS THE REAL ALBUM COVER. I confirmed this only through years of painstaking research.
I'm at pretty much of a loss to describe this one. While a large percentage of Japanese pop music is simply tired echoes of Western sounds, a few bravely trudge on in the other direction and make some of the more extreme music that you're likely to hear. This debut from Magical Power Mako is about as weird as you're going to get for psychedelic music in 1973. While there are hints of a rock band on the album, any semblance of a recognizable framework goes flying out the window as we mix in found sound, Japanese folk tones, odd electronic noise, children singing, and more.
Let's see if we can't take a quick tour of the album. We start with a news report a little like Hendrix's "ESP," but without the screaming flying saucer guitar sounds. This plunges directly into what sounds like a Japanese summer festival at its drunken height (and probably the ingestion of the wrong kind of mountain mushrooms), interrupted by a variety of odd noises and found sounds that eventually envelop the song. It's practically indescribable and completely unclassifiable. It has the potential to actually drive you mad. The next track, "Tsugaru," manages to scale things back with a wild koto and strange muttering. In fact, nothing here is identifiable 'rock' until a bit of space jamming at the end of "Flying," which is the sixth track. "Retraint. Freedom," while still completely demented, sound positively normal in this context with its discernible drum rhythm and churning guitars. This is immediately followed by what sounds like a Japanese "You Can't Always Get What You Want" backed by a local elementary school. After a few more tracks of various flavors of oddness, "Look Up the Sky" takes twelve minutes to shift from solo piano, to something kind of Berlin school-like, to an utterly strange wall of sound.
Nothing I write is really going to capture the tone of this album. It's a completely unhinged journey into whatever trip as flowing through Mr. Magical Power at the time. I can't promise that you're going to dig it, but something here will managed to bend space-time and blow your mind; probably frighten you a bit as well.
Magical Power Mako - 1973 - Magical Power Mako