REVIEW: Mari Amachi – Whispering Green Leaves b/w Wishing Upon The Sea 7” (1973)

There is nothing too ground breaking or distinct about this 7”. Mari Amachi was considered “Sony’s Snow White” in Japan, as well as the start of Japanese idol culture in the 1970s/80s. Maybe from an outsider (both in time and place) this translates to a lack of appreciation for what would make this record in particular stand out.

Taking up the record’s a-side, a cinematic quality pervades Whispering Green Leaves. Instrumentation plods along, complimented by exciting flurries of strings. Whispering Green Leaves’s cinematic qualities are best exemplified by lush Mancini-esque string arrangements which thrust the composition into amplified emotions.

Nearly a decade prior to electro pop, this record manages to escape the fetishism of retromania’s preferred sonic tropes. Maybe this allows the listener to hear the record as objectively as possible. Even then, it’s impossible to eradicate personal tastes (however manipulated they may be).

B-side track Wishing Upon The Sea (海にたくした願い) is made-for-TV (70s TV, that is). I mean that as a good thing, somehow. Relying on my outsider’s ignorance, Wishing Upon The Sea’s 1970s trappings weren’t the antagonizing cheese of my childhood.

Backed by Sony’s impressive session musicians of the time, Mari Amachi’s singing is particularly beautiful here. Each piece of instrumentation compliments each other in hopeful melancholy. It’s not quite a powerhouse of emotional display, but still delivers a mildly entertaining listen.

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Perhaps it is as it appears to be, a mildly enjoyable but somewhat forgettable pop record of yesteryear. Whispering Green Leaves may not be heavily sought after in this day and age, but if you can get your hands on it, Wishing Upon The Sea is a delightfully pleasant b-side worth the occasional spin at home.

For fans of: Doris, Alice Dona, Stelvio Cipriani

Like Mari Amachi? Give these a listen: Giuliano Sorgini, Clothilde, Armando Trovajoli

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