Hosono House

Hosono House

Hosono House, from 1973, isn’t just a landmark in Japanese pop—it’s become a kind of beacon for singer-songwriters who think about the singer-songwriter trope a little differently, whether Harry Styles (who named Harry’s House in tribute) or Mac DeMarco, whose deadpan, lackadaisical sound is one of Hosono’s closest modern analogs. Hosono was a fan of naturalists like Neil Young (“Boku Wa Chotto”), but he also liked old Hollywood soundtracks (“Rock-A-Bye My Baby”) and funk (“Bara To Yaju”), New Orleans R&B (“Choo Choo Gatagoto”) and Duke Ellington (“Jūsho Futei Mushoku Tei Shūnyū”)—sounds whose bright, almost slapstick sensibility gave his music a sense of color and character totally at odds with the prevailing naturalism of the singer-songwriter paradigm of the time. (The closest you got was probably Van Dyke Parks—himself an odd man out no matter where he went.) From Hosono House, Hosono went in a bunch of different directions: the lounge/exotica leanings of the mid-’70s, forays into ambient and “global” music, his work with techno-pop pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra, his quaint, old-timey jazz. If nothing else, Hosono House is, in retrospect, a map: Here are all the places Harry will go in the 50-plus years to come.

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