Japanese 1LP Limited Edition Release Date: 2/12/2020 Label: Universal Music
Mixing elements of progressive rock, spacy new age atmospheres, and electro-pop, Susumu Hirasawa is known for his time in bands including the chart-topping new wave group P-Model, as a soundtrack composer, and as a charting solo artist. After hitting number one in Japan with P-Model's second album, Landsale, in 1980, he made his solo debut with 1989's Water in Time and Space. Hirasawa maintained a solo career thereafter and branched into anime, scoring with projects like the '90s series Berserk, while continuing to release music with P-Model, the latter issued their final album, Music Industrial Wastes: P-Model or Die, in 1999. With a vibrant style that's playful as well as intense, Hirasawa's scoring work in the decade to follow included Berserk-franchise video games and the anime film Paprika (2006). In the meantime, his 11th solo album, 2009's Planet Role Call, cracked Japan's Top 50. Still climbing the charts in his sixties, he reached a solo career-high number 32 with 2015's The Man Climbing the Hologram, his 13th solo album. Born in Tokyo in 1954, Susumu Hirasawa took up the guitar 11 years later and, inspired by the Ventures, joined his first band in 1966. In his late teens, he enrolled at Tokyo Designer Gakuin College in 1972, the same year he started playing in Mandrake, a progressive rock group inspired by the likes of King Crimson, Yes, and Pink Floyd. He found music stardom after forming P-Model in the late '70s. Their first album, In a Model Room, arrived on Warner-Pioneer in 1979. The project went on to release a dozen albums by the end of the '90s but they had their biggest chart success in Japan with the debut's follow-up, Landsale (1980), their only album to reach number one. After the next year's Potpourri, P-Model changed labels and lineups frequently, though it was often essentially a solo project for Hirasawa. He released his first official solo album, Water in Time and Space, on Polydor in 1989. Also issued under his own name were 1990's The Ghost in Science and 1991's Virtual Robot before he returned to P-Model for an eponymous eighth album in 1992, also on Polydor. It saw the return of founding bassist Katsuhiko Akiyama from the group's first two LPs. In the meantime, Hirasawa's various side projects included tracks for compilation albums and composing music for things like advertisements and events. His first major TV series was the three-part animated action mini-series Detonator Orgun (1991-1992). Back with P-Model, he presented Big Body (Polydor) in 1993. His fourth solo album, 1994's Aurora, became his first to crack the Top 100 in Japan, reaching number 98. He did negligibly better on the album chart with mid-1995's Sun City, which was followed at year's end by another P-Model release, Fune (Nippon Columbia). Continuing to alternate between band and solo albums through the end of the '90s, he offered his own Siren in 1996 and P-Model's Electronic Tragedy: Enola in 1997. That year also saw the release of his popular soundtrack album for the anime series Berserk. He would return to the franchise for subsequent video game scores. He issued the solo LP Technique of Relief in 1998 before P-Model's twelfth and final album, Music Industrial Wastes: P-Model or Die, was self-released in 1999, coinciding with the project's 20th anniversary. Following the example of P-Model or Die, Hirasawa self-released 2000's alchemy-inspired Philosopher's Propeller. In 2001, his remix album Solar Ray was recorded in a home studio newly powered completely by solar panels. Influenced by recent and ongoing wars, 2003's Blue Limbo had a dystopian theme, and in 2004, Hirasawa revived a solo version of P-Model for the first in a series of recordings billed as Kaku P-Model or Susumu Hirasawa & Kaku P-Model. The project's full-length debut was entitled Vistoron. His tenth solo studio album, 2006's White Tiger Field, shared two songs with the anime film Paprika, which Hirasawa also scored. His next full-length, Planet Roll Call, landed in the Top 50 of Japan's album chart, peaking at 42. He reached 43 with 2012's The Secret of the Flowers of Phenomenon. That same year, he provided the music for the second film of the Berserk: Golden Age Arc, The Battle for Doldrey, and he revived Kaku P-Model for second full-length Gipnoza in 2013. It was well-received, reaching number 31 on the Japanese album chart. Seeming to maintain a consistent fan base between projects, his 13th solo album, 2015's The Man Climbing the Hologram, hit number 32. A year later, Ash Crow collected material dating back to the late '90s that he had written for the Berserk franchise. A third Kaku P-Model long-player, Kai=Kai, appeared in 2018 and went to number 26 in Japan.
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