P-Model/Susumu Hirasawa appriciation station

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If you don't know who P-Model is:

P-Model was a Japanese techno-pop band started in 1979 by frontman Susumu Hirasawa. The band has included many lineup revisions over the years but Hirasawa was always at the helm of operations. P-Model officially disbanded in 1999 (20 years after its formation), although many of its members continue to release solo albums and collaborate with each other on different projects.

I discovered the guy several years ago (once Polysics covered one of their songs) and they quickly became one of my favorite technopop groups. Their first album is basically quirky New Wave in the vein of early XTC. However Hirasawa really stepped up his songwriting and vocal abilities since then and has gone into some pretty fascinating directions. He's done a number of anime soundtracks that have earned him a little bit of fame outside of Japan, but he's still largely unknown. But the music is so damn epic and melodic that I had to start a thread hoping others would discover the music. Not only is the music incredible, but his discography is a hell of a piece of work (P-Model has a 16-disc boxset out; Hirasawa has done 11 solo albums and a bunch of soundtracks)

His music doesn't really sound like anything else out there, but imagine a fusion of Cardiacs and YMO and I guess you're there.

To help you along, here's some of P-Model's music...I want to limit this to 5 for now

"No Room" (1992): I couldn't find a recording of "Art Mania" from their 1979 debut, which this song is more or less based on. Great technopop...can't help feeling a little jittery after listening
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6as7e2-lB4

"Dance Subomp" (1985): A good example of one of his songs that is kind of minimal but very epic. Love the vocals here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFcpy3t5Uwc

"Cyborg" (1985, recorded 1992): One of SH's trademarks is the use of Turkish marching rhythms, here was one of the first:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs3MaVgFo0M

"Ashura Clock" (1997): Just because I posted this in another thread, this is techno at its most epic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1qzfB7YEZY

"Logic Air Force" (1999): Can't really do this one justice...listen for yourself
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MaYy2Spctg

frogbs, Friday, 4 February 2011 05:11 (eight years ago) link

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:)

acoleuthic, Friday, 4 February 2011 05:15 (eight years ago) link

oh yeah forgot this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOVmMSNaWik

frogbs, Friday, 4 February 2011 12:52 (eight years ago) link

'Logic Air Force' is a photon bomb to the neural cortex of my happyplace ^_^

acoleuthic, Friday, 4 February 2011 15:13 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCmtP7dpk4I&feature=related

whoa...definitely can shred

frogbs, Thursday, 24 February 2011 13:24 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkatzRzages
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE9zvOSTCtU

I discovered Hirasawa, like a lot of people through Paprika, which is one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard. I was delighted to discover P-Model but I dont actually own anything by them yet, not much is on amazon or ebay and what is there is too expensive so I think I'll have to do with CDJapan. Hirasawa and P-Model are poorly represented on Itunes too, I dont know why more japanese acts dont put themselves on our mp3 services.

Both these songs are from One Pattern, which is their own least favorite album but these are my favorite P-model songs. I'd love to see this concert on DVD someday.

The most widely available thing I have seen is the P-Model/Big Body comp, which takes off one track from the original P-Model album. I cant see any places to buy the individual albums.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 31 July 2011 17:54 (seven years ago) link

The only real option for those of us in the US is the $300 box set with 16 discs that covers basically everything they ever recorded, obviously that's super expensive, but it works out to about $20 a disc which isnt bad (as every disc is about 70-80 minutes long). I picked it up because I'm crazy and had a lot of money to spend at the time, but it's out of print now, so really there aren't any real options that don't cost like $50-60 per album (besides the Paprika OST)

Check out this thread: Japanese New Wave listening club - new albums every Monday

I've uploaded a few of his solo albums (plus the two disc P-Model/Big Body comp) in there. His soundtrack stuff is very good but they are usually based on his solo albums, which are incredible. I dig One Pattern; probably one of their worst albums but even still it's got a few awesome tracks on it (the other one is "Drums", which foreshadows the direction he'd go in over the next two decades). Luckily most of his work is available on youtube if you're into that, including this performance (which is a song from the final P-Model album), which is incredible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUhBOdgtB00

frogbs, Monday, 1 August 2011 02:33 (seven years ago) link

I couldnt find that box set anywhere, it is always sold out, I'm not sure I'd buy it at that price. CD Japan's prices seemed reasonable for me, I'll probably buy everything from there.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 4 August 2011 21:19 (seven years ago) link

Have you heard any of his prog music he did in Mandrake? I'd really like to hear that stuff, I cant even find samples of it.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 4 August 2011 21:27 (seven years ago) link

The price is indeed steep, but it works out to about $20 a disc, which is actually kind of cheap for an import. I don't blame you though. His label website: http://teslakite.com/e/index_cd.htm has a lot of this for cheaper, under $30 a pop, though it only covers the last 10 years or so. I'd love to pick up some of the DVDs (though they are pricey and probably won't play on my DVD player)

I have the Mandrake stuff; haven't really heard it enough to get a good feel for it, it is kinda lo-fi and distorted, but it's good. I do think this one is actually for sale on his own site. IIRC one of the tunes is based on the riff that became "The Great Brain" on In a Model Room which is pretty neat.

frogbs, Friday, 5 August 2011 14:56 (seven years ago) link

six months pass...

http://s14.directupload.net/images/120304/rspryqt5.png

meisenfek, Sunday, 4 March 2012 19:41 (seven years ago) link

I really want that so badly (not as bad as the Ashu-On set, but still). I have a lot of the scans that came with the CD-ROM Music Industrial Wastes disc and it's fascinating, there's like a 100-page history of Hirasawa in there, with notes on every song and live performance, but it's all in Japanese so I can only admire at the ridiculous amount of band photos that it comes with. If this Dome was translated into English I'd drop the cash without a second thought!

frogbs, Thursday, 15 March 2012 20:34 (seven years ago) link

ditto!

original bgm, Friday, 16 March 2012 00:10 (seven years ago) link

Thirded!

sleigh tracks (1933-1969) (MaresNest), Friday, 16 March 2012 08:53 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

I recently discovered his "Switched-on Lotus" album which is mostly a bunch of re-done Sim City/Siren era tracks with boosted up production and more vocals; you gotta give the man credit, he really seems to get what the best parts of his own songs are. The title track (which is new) is seriously one of the most gorgeous things he ever wrote, check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgLQwE62_Q4

frogbs, Friday, 13 July 2012 14:06 (seven years ago) link

ten months pass...

I wrote a long, sprawling article on this dude for PSF. Check it out!

http://www.furious.com/perfect/susumuhirasawa.html

frogbs, Friday, 31 May 2013 14:11 (six years ago) link

nice one! didn't realize hirasawa does custom software/hardware. makes sense. he really has a pretty singular sound.

original bgm, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 03:46 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

I made a 4-CD "best of" Hirasawa set which splits his output into four periods: the early P-Model years (79-86), the beginning of his solo career and the P-Model de-freeze (89-94), the period in the second half of the 90's where he was putting out awesome material both solo and with some form of P-Model (95-00), and his recent years of solo albums + remake projects and soundtracks (01-10). It combines for over 5 hours of listening but I can't cut anything, to me it still plays like a pretty awesome document of his entire career in fast forward. Anyone interested??

Abstinence Hawk (frogbs), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 01:20 (four years ago) link

Hell yea!

MaresNest, Wednesday, 11 February 2015 13:43 (four years ago) link

seven months pass...

Hey frogbs, can you help, where to start with this guy's soundtrack material? I just heard 'Parade' from the Paprika soundtrack and the militaristic sounding mid section gave me real 'Sing To God' vibes, I liked it's maximal sound. Thanks!

MaresNest, Thursday, 17 September 2015 17:03 (three years ago) link

His soundtrack work draws mostly off the concurrent studio albums, sort of remixing the work or sometimes including it wholesale. Otherwise a lot of them are filled with shorter more pointed bits that aren't a lot like his other stuff, its nice but . I think the Milennium Actress one is my favorite, but again, that's essentially a remix album of Philosopher's Propeller. Have you checked out his 2006 album Byakkoya? I think that's maybe more what you're looking for, the track "Parade" is on it, and the title track is the other song from Paprika that everyone seems to remember. Check this tune out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzuQKDhm-ow#t=39

frogbs, Thursday, 17 September 2015 18:16 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

I never said thanks for that last post frogbs, how rude! Sorry man, Byakkoya is excellent.

So I'm making an hour long SH mix for our little internet radio show and was wondering what the absolute must have tracks are, from P Model to present day, suggestions welcome!

MaresNest, Sunday, 22 November 2015 10:39 (three years ago) link

I didn't know you had a radio show! Where at?

I'd find that a little difficult, I couldn't even get it down to five hours when I was making the fake anthology (which I still haven't posted, but uh..I'm still working on it. He keeps releasing new stuff)

Is the idea to provide an introduction to the guy? Or show the way he's evolved over the years? Or just the best tracks full stop?

frogbs, Monday, 23 November 2015 14:32 (three years ago) link

I didn't want to shill on ILX (although I might have mentioned it somewhere else), if you have a look here you can find the details, I think it might be congruent to your interests :)

https://www.facebook.com/JapanAlternativeSessions/

The Hirasawa thing, it's just a tip of the iceberg one hour mix, no context/curation. I did a YMO/Solo one the other day so I understand your pain with the format length.

MaresNest, Monday, 23 November 2015 14:45 (three years ago) link

very nice!! if it's just a tip of the iceberg thing with no context I think you could do a lot exploring how esoteric the guy is, while picking top-notch tunes all the way. here's a mix I tried out today that sounded really good:

1. Nice Nice Very Nice (ICE-9, 2005)
2. Venus (Water in Time and Space, 1989)
3. P-Model - Chevron (Big Body, 1993)
4. P-Model - Art Mania (In a Model Room, 1979)
5. Sekai Turbine 2 (Solar Ray, 2001)
6. P-Model - Ashura Clock (Ashura Clock single, 1997)
7. P-Model - Personal Pulse (One Pattern, 1983)
8. The Man From Narcissus Space (Technique of Relief, 1998)
9. The Man From Memories (Byakkoya, 2006)
10. Goes on Ghost (Totsu-Gen-Hen-I, 2010)
11. Ride the Blue Limbo (Blue Limbo, 2003)
12. P-Model - Different not equal Another (Potpurri, 1981)
13. Caravan (Sim City, 1995)
14. Ringing Bell (Aurora, 1994)

A lot of contrasts in sound from track to track but I think it flows well. The idea is to pick out some of the most ear-catching things he's done. First 2 tracks are very pretty, then it moves into his best technopop tunes - "Chevron" is also pretty, but then it gets more and more manic, hitting "Sekai Turbine 2" and "Ashura Clock" which are two of his fastest tracks. After that I figured I'd go with some more symphonic stuff, "Personal Pulse" I love because it foreshadowed this whole sound, going from more epic and grandiose to whimsical ("Ride the Blue Limbo" whose hook includes a big "boiiing!"). Last three tracks show him as his most insane, his most hooky, and his most achingly gorgeous, so yeah cool contrasts there. Hope this helps!

frogbs, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 03:08 (three years ago) link

Great choices, I had a couple in mind from your picks but I knocked it together today and it sounds really good, how would you feel if I went with your order and credited you when it airs?

MaresNest, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 19:50 (three years ago) link

go ahead! and thanks! hope it manages to convert a few people!

frogbs, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 20:24 (three years ago) link

I was under the false impression that Golden Best misses out a few tracks from P Model & Big Body, so I never bought it; but it's actually that two tracks aren't translated and one is a hidden track. I shall buy it tonight!

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 21:15 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Heya Frogbs, I think your SH mix will be airing this Friday!

MaresNest, Sunday, 31 January 2016 20:31 (three years ago) link

oh nice, I'll have to tune in for that

frogbs, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 15:04 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Finally listening to P-Model + Big Body.

"Nice mmm-hmmm
nice mmm-hmmm"

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 16 February 2018 18:14 (one year ago) link

p model is so siqq they sound like a japanese oingo boingo

kurt schwitterz, Friday, 16 February 2018 18:38 (one year ago) link

オインゴ ボインゴ

MaresNest, Friday, 16 February 2018 19:04 (one year ago) link

they had the most classic look during those years too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfbjxwHQ-Uk

those albums hold up remarkably well considering how pretty much everything else in the early 90's that sounded like that really hasn't

frogbs, Friday, 16 February 2018 19:17 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Taken me a while to realise in "Biiig Eye" he's singing "I'm screaming in the lens" like Singing In The Rain.
https://www.whosampled.com/sample/461050/P-Model-Biiig-Eye-Aphrodite%27s-Child-Loud%2C-Loud%2C-Loud/

I think I prefer Big Body to the selftitled album.

"2D Or Not 2D" and "Lab=01" are a lot of fun from P-Model. But Big Body has 5."Welcome to the House of 'Time's Leaking Through Equal Distance Curve' (時間等曲率漏斗館へようこそ Jikantō Kyokuritsu Rōtokan e Yōkoso, Welcome to the House of Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum)"
, "Binary Ghost" and "Homo Gestalt"

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 March 2018 00:07 (one year ago) link

love the way they use the sample on that track. "shouting - AAAAAAAAH!!!" one of the few times he acknowledges one of his influences.

and yes, track 5 is quite great. love "Homo Gestalt" a lot too though I can't help but notice the similarity to "Wire Self"

you might like the stuff by Kaku P-Model, which is just Hirasawa under a different name. basically, he wanted to return to the P-Model sound, but didn't want to work with other people. the track "Big Brother" is maybe the most insane track he ever did - the only thing comparable is Dan Deacon.

I lucked out and found some dude who ripped a bunch of Hirasawa DVDs to MP3, so I'm currently going through those. The Vistoron Live show is very nice and contains a number of 92-93 era tracks. Kind of bummed out that live stuff from 81-86 exists - I have a boot from the Karkador era and it's incredible, but the sound quality is atrocious! I wish they hadn't stopped the Virtual Live series at Perspective...they were just getting interesting!!

frogbs, Saturday, 24 March 2018 02:24 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Is there any place where the MP3 rips of DVDs are available? I haven't had the money to pick up any live DVDs yet (I have bought The Method of Live 2 however, which has a live version of Sim City and Gardener King which are both breathtaking), but some of the live versions of past songs are absolutely wonderful!

In particular, some of my personal favourites are,
This version of "Clear Mountain Top" from the PHONON2550 live shows, it's an absolute crime this wasn't featured in the PHONON2550 CD.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfP1DEJe6b0

This version of "Rocket", which looks like it's also from the PHONON2550 live shows (yet it was also not included in the CD, what a shame).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK0wv5QpYh8

This version of Siren *SEIREN* from the Planet Roll Call live shows. The performances of the guests (particularly in the chorus) in this song are beautiful. Hirasawa's choice to overlay Delay Lama over bits of the song is a little suspect though haha, it doesn't quite work all that well in my opinion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOTTnNpxbcQ

This version of Lotus from PHONON2555. Unrelated to Lotus, but the Phonon 2555 Vision DVD includes a performance of Dune from Hirasawas first album, which I would love to hear, I've always been a sucker for Hirasawas early solo material.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4-95kK8D5M

I'm also very curious about the 9th Mandala memorial card, since apparently it includes a 2017 version of Archetype Engine and a bunch of other songs, like Adios and Byakkoya. Unfortunately you had to be present at the live show to get your hands on it, but I'm hoping it'll eventually go on sale for everyone like the WORLD CELL 2015 memorial card did.

WIRESELF, Thursday, 26 April 2018 09:09 (one year ago) link

hello WIRESELF :)

you on soulseek ?

frogbs, Thursday, 26 April 2018 13:05 (one year ago) link

I just created an user on it, the username is WIRESELF

WIRESELF, Thursday, 26 April 2018 17:41 (one year ago) link

search for a user called "Bonzalez". should be online now, if not it'll be later tonight

I've grabbed a lot of the stuff from his website in the past, even though the prices & method of delivery has been pretty odd. Had to jump through a lot of hoops just to spend $15 on some alternate versions of Blue Limbo tracks. Wish he'd just chuck everything up in some easily accessible place but Japanese musicians tend not to do things like that :)

frogbs, Thursday, 26 April 2018 17:51 (one year ago) link

Haha yeah I feel you, the sites can be a bit iffy and he has some weird things restricted from the international shop, like having only AURORA3 available for purchase off of the Live Byakkoya memorials package internationally.

Thank you for the leads, it's much appreciated! I'm also glad to find that I'm not the only one who enjoys Hirasawas works to a great degree.

WIRESELF, Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:02 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

I know I'm probably talking to a mirror here but if you haven't heard the latest KAKU P-Model album you really should...its one of his most bonkers, and I think one of his best (obviously I don't say that lightly)

every single track on it is good but this one is my favorite right now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_or3uyB3CA

frogbs, Saturday, 11 May 2019 03:10 (two months ago) link

Cant see it on amazon uk or ebay.

Most original P-Model albums still cost a fortune but there's quite a bunch of solo stuff for £20-£30. I can do that but not too often. Happy to see Ash Crow is all the Berserk soundtracks in one.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 11 May 2019 10:38 (two months ago) link

Is it really true that Japanese music sellers are selling common stuff at scalper prices? If I went to big stores in japan, would all this stuff be so expensive?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 11 May 2019 10:41 (two months ago) link

One look at Hirasawa on CD Japan looks like an average of about $25 for a CD, not scalping but pretty high.

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/person/700102636?s_ssid=e36c625cd73da8f416

MaresNest, Saturday, 11 May 2019 21:26 (two months ago) link

you can get some of them on Japan iTunes but their selection is pretty spotty. ultimately you're going to have to pay $25-30 for the CDs. sadly the Ashu-on P-Model boxset is no longer available, because that was actually a pretty decent value (about $15 a disc I think, many of which had 2 albums on them)

frogbs, Monday, 13 May 2019 13:36 (two months ago) link


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