Review Summary: Come again soon. You're welcome any time.
Harry is an old friend of mine. He sets down a tea for me – it was ready for my arrival – and smiles with earnest. He’s framed by the accrued knick-knacks of a storied life; photographs of friends. Keepsakes and trinkets from far-flung places. Musical regalia through the ages; a thumb piano, a melodica, a tape deck, a synthesizer. It almost feels like a museum, a collating of cultures and eras – only, it’s rare for a museum to offer up more than just a snapshot of then. “That was then
,” it says. “This is now
.” In this place though, it’s more of a composite, with one informing the other and in turn, as perpetual as the dance between the sun and the moon.
Some 45 years ago, Harry welcomed us into Hosono House and charmed with silky, lounge-tinted folk and country rock ditties. It only ever half-hinted at the creative output that would emanate from the chap in the decades to follow, with his involvement in the synthpop-seminal Yellow Magic Orchestra and his own new-fashioned experimentation on stellar works like Philharmony and Paradise View, but in its own right demonstrated his knack for all things groovy, melodious and enduring.
And here we are now, returning to the same homely domain, with these decades of fertile ventures informing a reimagination of those ditties. Hochono House never seeks to improve upon its spiritual predecessor, nor undo it. Some of its tracks sound vastly different to their earlier counterparts; that is, until you play them back to back. There are no ghosts of a song, nothing lost in the way of soul. These are fond recollections, memories living in the same space as today. To that end, it plays very much like a layered, learned reminiscence, a summation of the man’s entire career that doesn’t wave it over the horizon so much as bundle it all together for a two-step in the twilight.