The latest offering from Music From Memory, Broken Belief presents a curated selection of recordings made by Japanese multi-instrumentalist Toshifumi Hinata between 1985 and 1987. Co-compiled by Organic Music Tokyo’s Chee Shimizu, it’s a rather special collection, so much so that even the act of typing that feels like an understatement.
Having lived outside of Japan in the UK and the US, Hinata earned his stripes on the piano under the guidance of Patricia Laliberte, while studying at the Berklee College of Music. After graduating in 1982, he lost interest in classical music, and began to look outward, in the process falling in love with the potential for sonic futurism afforded by the latest analog synthesizers of the era.
As such, Hinata’s original thinking was to create an album with just a Prophet 5 synthesizer and a Linn Drum Machine. Although you can hear a framework indebted to that within the sleek mecha-boogie cinematics that underpin ‘Sarah’s Dream’ and ‘Midsummer Night’, his vision had to expand further. Thinking back to his classical training and acoustic music background, Hinata began to record violin, piano and other instruments to tape. Setting them against cybernetic dreamscapes, and filtering and sequencing his pieces with a sculptural sensibility, he began to, as he put it, “weave musical images.” This approach manifests itself in many ways throughout Broken Belief: the coastal shuffle of ‘Atarashii Yuhbokumin’, the rainy, piano-glazed city street flow evoked on ‘Pavement’, and the misted tint of ‘Colored Air.’
In the late 80s and early 90s, Hinata recorded several more CD-only albums, before shifting his focus towards music for TV dramas, commercials and documentaries in Tokyo. Given the command of mood and tone displayed across Broken Belief, it’s an incredibly fitting career trajectory. But for now, let’s enjoy revisiting the work from his 1985 to 1987 period, a watershed run for Hinata, and a crucial moment in the histories of both Japanese music and the global electronic wave.
Broken Belief is out now in LP format through Music For Memory (purchase here)