His name may not be instantly familiar, but Hideki Matsutake has had a huge influence over Electronic music. Starting his career as the assistant of Japanese Electronic Music master Isao Tomita in the early 70s, he went on to work with Ryuichi Sakamoto and then Yellow Magic Orchestra as their keyboard programmer and unofficial fourth member. In 1981 he started his own Logic System project recording "Venus" that year in Los Angeles with Don Grusin, Nathan East and Michael Boddicker, brilliantly mixing Synth Funk, Ambient and Boogie with a touch of Fusion Jazz predating Vaporwave by a mere 30 years. Wewantsounds is delighted to reissue this visionary album, which
comes remastered from the original tapes and features Pater Sato stunning artwork including the rare beautiful 8-page insert with an exclusive interview of Hideki Matsutake by Hashim Kotaro Bharoocha.
The early 80s were prolific for Hideki Matsutake. As the go-to keyboard programmer for the tokyo music scene, he worked on Akiko Yano's "Gohan Ga Dekitayo", YMO's "BGM", Ryuichi Sakamoto's "B-2 Unit", Mkwaju Ensemble's "Mkwaju" and found time to record two Logic System albums in 1981. While the first album, "Logic" had a harder techno feel, the second one "Venus" was different affair. Recorded in Los Angeles at the new state of the art Yamaha Studio, it was loosely themed on the Greek goddess Venus and had a funkier more organic sound. For the album Matsutake had asked a handful of American musicians to provide songs he would then add his synth magic touch to. Michael Boddicker, Don Grusin, Nathan East and Roger Powell duly complied and also played on the album.
The updated sound was achieved by switching from the Moog III to the E-mu modular System (which Matsutake brought over to LA) and other synths like the Prophet 5, the Roland MC-8 and TR 808 and the Yamaha GS-1, a forerunner of the DX7.
The result is an amazing futuristic mix of electronic music and early 80s funk, announcing many genres to come, from techno and house to French electro and Vaporwave. From the breezy ambient synth of "I Love You" to the city pop edge of "Be Yourself" (originally written by Nathan East for Debra Laws) and the vocoder-led Daft Punk-ish "Take A Chance", Venus is a fascinating album that both pushes the boundaries of electronic music and is yet strangely accessible and beautiful.
The other key elements of Venus is the artwork designed by Japanese legendary illustrator Pater Sato. Sato had started in Japan in the early 70s doing many album covers for Japanese artists including Tatsuro Yamashita's cult Spacy LP before moving to New York in 1979 to pursue a career in fashion and advertising. His airbrush style became hugely influential over the years and in 2018, Stella McCartney dedicated a whole Men’s collection based on his Venus. Star make up artist Pat McGrath also regularly posts his artwork to her 3 million fans on her instagram.
The original album came with a beautiful 8-panel insert illustrated by Sato which Wewantsounds has reproduced on this deluxe reissue also featuring remastered sound, OBI strip and a second insert featuring credits and line up plus liner notes by Hashim Bharoocha. The notes will feature an exclusive interview with Hideki Matsutake reminiscing about the making of this visionary album which Wewantsounds is delighted to reissue.