There’s a certain melancholy associated with music albums which could’ve gone down as one of the finest in history but didn’t. A part of you feels that it isn’t fair that such albums haven’t been appreciated enough whereas another part of you is happy that these albums are still sacred, untouched and uncommercialised. Here, I’m going to introduce you to two such albums.
The first one is Lust by Rei Harakimi. Harakimi was a Japanese artist who produced mystical electronic music and was widely popular in Japan, but not so much outside of it. Lust, his last solo album, was his magnum opus. Built on the core of house, the music of Lust intricately imbued synths and pads to create sonically expansive tones which were surreal and unheard of previously. Lust comprised of ten songs, beautifully crafted on the SC88-Pro sound module, which produced something very characteristic of Harakimi’s music at a time when everyone was making the shift to software-based sounds.
One of the songs, ‘Owari No Kisetsu’ features vocals (sung by Harakimi himself), a first among all the four albums he had produced till date. The melodies of Lust were free-flowing rhythmically and clearer with a more dynamic pitch. The abstractness of the pieces towards the end of the album is indicative of venturing out to a place unknown, not to come back to the same place down the road. Lust is definitely one of the most underrated albums of its time and deserves a rank higher than most other electronica albums we know of.
The abstractness of the pieces towards the end of Lust is indicative of venturing out to a place unknown, not to come back to the same place down the road.
The second album is No Other by Gene Clark. Clark was a part of the Byrds and had decided to leave when they were producing their best work, a notable example being their popular single ‘Eight Miles High’. Little did he know that his much deserved fame would be ever-elusive. No Other was an album comprising of songs enchanted with soulful lyrics and complete with transcendental rock and folk sounds with a tinge of jazz and club rhythms. The story behind this album is exactly what led to it becoming an unheard masterpiece: Clark spent all his resources and an enormous amount of time producing the album. The production was over the top, featuring electric violins, multiple layers of keyboards and soaring gospel choirs. When the album finally released, there was minimal effort to market it and everyone’s patience was taxed. No Other was forgotten as soon as it had released.
Songs of the album were lyrically intense and emotional enough to reduce the ones with coldest of hearts to tears. A soothing undertone encompasses many pieces like ‘Silver Raven’ and ‘Strength of Strings’, and these contain an innate, dramatically beautiful crescendo.
“If you sell your soul to brighten your role, you might be disappointed in the lights” sings Clark in ‘Some Misunderstanding’ – words which he could relate to after the album released.
If you’ve been through grief, pain, and heartbreak, you will adore this album like no other. For those of you who love lyrical extravaganzas, I can’t recommend any other album more highly.
The intriguing and defining focal point of the two albums is the circumstances in which they were produced and the nature of the artists themselves. While one was ahead of his time, the other sought success through pedantry. Had any other popular artist released these songs, they’d have been scripted in the history of the greatest music ever produced. Alas! Some things aren’t meant to be.