UP-TIGHT Live At The Lucrezia (Last Visible Dog) dvd 9.98
First dvd release from both Up-Tight and Last Visible Dog, sees (or allows us to see) one of our favorite heavy Japanese psych trios kicking out the jams live in Tokyo. There's 52 minutes of footage here, the band performing four songs: "Day Dream Believer", "Cool Eyes", "Never Come Morning", and "Sweet Sister". Musically Up-Tight are their usual dark and distorto-delic selves, some of this an amped up assault, some of it achingly beauty displaying their softer side, all in all a pretty awesome performance from them. And visually this is very cool too, the raw video having been given a psychedelic special FX treatment done tastefully enough to enhance, rather than distract from, the experience. And no matter where you live, this all-regions dvd should be compatible with your TV, as it's double-sided, PAL on one, NTSC on the other.
UP-TIGHT Lucrezia (Alchemy) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Dark, heavy Japanese guitar psych!! We love it. If you do too -- we're talking bands like Fushitsusha, White Heaven, Kousokuya, Shizuka, and grandaddies of 'em all, the deservedly-legendary, decades-old Les Rallizes Denudes -- then this new release on the Alchemy label by Tokyo's Up-Tight comes highly recommended. We reviewed their US debut release, the aptly titled Five Psychedelic Pieces, just a few months back, and have been looking forward to this new album, a Japanese import, ever since. It doesn't disappoint. If anything, a lot of this has got an even heavier, dronier edge than what we heard on the last one. Super fuzzed guitars, sad ballads, grinding distorto epics. Not to be messed with. Along with that other great up-and-coming Tokyo psych outfit with an admittedly better name whom you probably also dig, LSD-march, these guys are the heirs to Les Rallizes' black-clad, acid-fried, downer dirge throne. Drop the (figurative, laser) needle on this and soon you'll be transported to the cloudy peak of their majestic solid rock night-black mountain, where maybe you'll find a guru willing to show you how to conquer your fears and walk on those clouds... Five tracks, four in the 8-10 minute range, culminating in a final 23 minute tour de force.
"Song For Lucrezia I" MPEG Stream:
UP-TIGHT & MAKOTO KAWABATA s/t (Galactic Zoo Disc) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The dark shadows cast by this underground Tokyo psych trio have been getting longer of late. We've had two cds from them, both of 'em well-received by the AQ community (the excellent US release Five Psychedelic Pieces on Static Records, and then the maybe even better Lucrezia on Japan's Alchemy label), and some of us here were also just lucky enough to get to witness the power and intensity of Up-Tight's live show when they played in San Francisco quite recently, bringing their melanchoic vox, mantric drum beating, rigid bass pulsations, and guitar-heavy sadness and squall to the tight confines of the Hemlock. As displayed there, Up-Tight's sunglasses-at-night music is aligned with the likes of current Tokyo scene brethren LSD-March in worship of '70s Japanese distorto-psych legends Les Rallizes Denudes, and that's nothin' but a good thing. So another new Up-Tight document is cause for excitement. That this one also features the guitar and drones of Acid Mothers Temple beardlord Kawabata Makoto, is only the icing on a rather heavy cake. Jamming together on such co-compositions as "The Scat Singer At The Gate Of Midnight" (?) and "Rainy Day Girl #12 & 35", the Up-Tight/Kawabata alliance turns in a particularily anguished, feedback-filled set. Demons being exorcised here for sure. It's noisy and droney and dark, and the presence of guest guru Kawabata only further stimulates the spirits of Les Rallizes that swirl about Up-Tight's amps. Sure Up-Tight have their softer side, but with Kawabata on board, it's the destructive jet engine guitar sound that gets emphasized! AMT fans who haven't heard Up-Tight (but like the harsher, "Electric Heavyland" side of Kawabata's output) will happily "Mellow Out" to this! Produced and mixed by Kawabata as well, for maximum void-dwelling clangor. It's a limited edition disc, too, we're told...
"Rainy Day Girl #12 & 35" MPEG Stream:
URABE MASAYOSHI The Flag Of Midsummer (PSF) cd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
URABE, MASAYOSHI Kampanerura (Utech) cd 14.98
We've reviewed a few releases by freaking intense, seemingly unhinged, utterly nihilistic Japanese saxophonist Masayoshi Urabe in the past, stuff released on labels like PSF and Tiliqua, including a collaboration with veteran Tokyo Flashback act Kousokuya, saying in one of our reviews that Urabe is "is pretty far out there in the field of free improvisation", which if anything is an understatement. So out there that he's been quoted as saying "Improvisation can eat shit", apparently considering his music something else entirely. Well, if you're up for some of whatever Urabe's output is, here's a new one from the man via the reliable Utech label, who know their out there eat shit improv all right. Painful beauty, delicate brutality, noisy silence╔ These are the extremes with which Urabe both enraptures and unsettles the once-innocent listener. And it's not all his anguished alto sax, in fact, the very first nine-minute-plus track is more of an incredibly lo-fi, uber-distorted electric guitar feedback freakout full of raw, choppy riffage. Urabe on this album also makes use of harmonica, bird calls, and even metal chains, the ominous rattle of which we also remarked upon when heard on one of his previous PSF albums. Furthermore, Aural Fit's drummer Teruhisa Nanbu shows up on two of the (longest) tracks here, as well. The skitter and skree can be quite lonely and lovely, for sure...but beware, as Urabe has his bloodthirsty side, too, as alluded to above (and below)! Making music 'difficult listening' is his mission. The usual nice, slim and oversized Utech packaging includes some, uh, motivational liner notes by Urabe ("If there's someone you want to kill, stop working out how you're going to do it and just do it"), in English translation by Alan Cummings.
"Kampanerura I" MPEG Stream:
"Kampanerura II" MPEG Stream:
URABE, MASAYOSHI Ware wa Seidai no Kyojyo zo (PSF) cd 22.00
Normally we don't like to quote too much from an album's press release or its liner notes, but we have to share this statement from Japanese improv saxophonist Masayoshi Urabe himself, which accompanies this release: "My joints ache so much that I walk weird. Improvisation?? Improvisation??!? I've never seen it, heard it, or played it. You say that you're uncomfortable. I felt so good that I stopped laughing. I love silence because I am so brutal, but because I breathe there can be no silence. I call it Rock 'n' Roll. Because I breathe -- because I have a mouth. Duo 1988, Ju/A Brute, Urklang, Soingyokusaiseyo -- Improvisation can eat shit, that's what I've always said. Musicians are the scum of the earth, and hell's a lie, that's what I've always said. Do you know a word that means both look at me and leave me alone? I'm so fuckin' glad that I've got no reasons, no dreams, nothing to believe in. I'm so fuckin' glad that I have no interest in the occult, in salvation, in playing my part, in meanings. I'm so fuckin' glad I met you and left you. I'm so fuckin' glad that I'm not you. What I really mean is that I'm so fuckin' glad that you're not beautiful. What I really mean is that I'm so fuckin' glad that you mean nothing to me." Whoah, dude. And there he is on the album cover, a knife clenched in his teeth and a maniacal glint in his eyes. We've been fans of his lost-n-lonely sax scrape in the past, and with this album he brings that style of sparse improv into more sinister focus, also gettin' intense with metal joints (?), chains, harmonica, and electric guitar along with the alto sax. Recorded live in Japan and Belgium, Urabe's sax a death-breath, the man clanking those chains like a ghost, this disc is an ominous work, the silence found within seeming like the loudest thing in the world until our man lets loose with some rough-and-tumble, high-end shrieking guitar grind. You'll believe every word he said, above, and like it. Apparently Urabe was accompanied by a dancer on these recordings, but you'll just have to use your imagination to see what sort of tortured moves he or she was making along to this music.
"track 4" MPEG Stream:
URDOG s/t (self-released) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We've been huge fans of Urdog since we first heard them a couple years back. Their shambolic, rambling folky krautrockishness pretty much pushed every weird music button we posess! We raved about both of their full lengths on Secret Eye (one of which is out of print for now) and everyone was so into them we finally managed to track down their first cd-r, which flew out of here and has been out of print ever since. Well, when Andee and Allan were in NYC for CMJ, they ran into one of the Urdogs and he happened to mention that he had a stash of the very last 30 copies of the Urdog demo, we grabbed all of 'em and got 'em here for you, the VERY last copies ever. Here's our review from when we first had this in last September: Everybody dug the Urdog record we listed a few lists back so when the band got in touch and let us know they had an earlier cd-r, we figured we oughta get that too. And we're glad we did 'cause it's just as good. Another rambling ramshackle collection of propulsive, fuzzed out psychedelic drone / krautrock. Super saturated keyboards, rumbling riffery and tribal drumming. A mix of Jewelled Antler foresty folk, Tarantula Hawk proggy pummel, and lots of druggy psychedelic filigree. Packged in a beautifully silkscreened sleeve with an extensive set of liner notes folded up and pacakged in a little hand stamped envelope. So nice.
"DMZ" MPEG Stream:
V/A Alchemism (Alchemy) 2cd 30.00
V/A Alchemism (Alchemy) dvd 36.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. BACK IN STOCK! Now this is a freakin' treat for all Japanophile music fans like ourselves!! Osaka's Alchemy label, home to so much great Japanese noise, punk, and psychedelic music over the years, has gone and put out a DVD collection for your enjoyment. It's pretty much all live stuff (with the notable exception of a strange MTV-style music video clip for a track from label boss's Jojo Hiroshige's most recent solo album!!) recorded at gigs dating all the way back to the '80s, up to this past year, depending on the band in question. So this covers a pretty good selection from the Alchemy label roster, new and old. Here's the line-up, in part: Masonna, Doodles, Up-Tight, Christine 23 Onna, Ultra Bide, Omoide Hatoba, Sekiri, The Genbaku Onanies, Angel'In Heavy Syrup, Subvert Blaze, Hoburakin, Hijokaidan, S.O.B. Kaidan, Incapacitants, and more... Something for everyone. Highlights for us include the intense fuzz guitar psych dealt out by Up-Tight, the hippy metal of Subvert Blaze, the absurd noise-fest of Hijokaidan's 25th anniversary performance, the wonderful delicate psych-pop of all-girl duo Doodles, and the guitar-smashing, cymbal-chucking noise trance tantrum of the infamous S.O.B Kaidan performance (noise mongers Hijokaidan joining forces with the ledgendary Japanese thrash-metal outfit S.O.B. in 1989). And special mention must be made of Christine 23 Onna's punked-out, super-distorted '60s psych groove assault, which culminates with Maso Yamazaki jumping on, and knocking over his synthesizer before taking a dive into the crowd! Since we'd guess that only a few AQ-customers have been lucky enough to attend very many shows at clubs like Osaka's Eggplant or the Shinjuku Loft in Tokyo over the past two decades, this is even more essential if you're at all a fan of this scene... 117 minutes, NTSC, all regions.
V/A Amaterasu (Fractal) 2cd 32.00
From mind-expanding psych drone to extended folk meditations to (opium-)poppy songcraft, "Amaterasu" is all you need for at least a few evenings, nights, and/or mornings of audio-induced bliss. Subtitled, somewhat misleadingly, "A Musical Panorama of Japan", this compilation is hardly an overview of everything from Taiko drumming to J-pop. Not at all. Rather, it's a collection of stuff from the psych-pop-folk-drone underground in Japan, in keeping with Fractal's previous releases of Japanese origin like Acid Mothers Temple -- and many AMT-types appear here as you might expect! It's a really fine collection indeed, well worth the 32 bucks to anyone enamored, as we are, of the retro-psych scene that's currently so vibrant in Japan, as previously documented by PSF's Tokyo Flashback compilation series for instance. There's sixteen tracks in total here, many of them pushing ten minutes in length, and thus spread over two discs. The fragile melodicism of Mineko Itakura (of Angel 'In Heavy Syrup abd Slap Happy Humphrey), singing solo backed only by her own acoustic guitar, is for us the gorgeous highlight of disc 1, though there's plenty else on here quite worthy as well: Overhang Party, Mitsuru Tabata, Space Machine, Makoto Kawabata, Seiji Nagai (ex-Taj Mahal Travellers), and Kengo Iuchi. Disc two is also packed with cosmic-calibre talent, featuring Chie Mukai, Masayoshi Urabe, Kousokuya, Totsuzen Danball, Miminokoto, Jun Kuriyama, Naoaki Miyamoto, and more Mineko Itakura (yay!). Almost everything is exclusive to this compilation, which comes complete with English language liner notes by the knowledgable Alan Cummings, who explains the concept behind the compilation -- Amaterasu is the Shinto sun-goddess, and her mythology was the inspiration for these songs. Quite recommended.
ATSUSHI TSUYAMA "Confession of the Sun (Taiyo-Zange)" MPEG Stream:
MINEKO ITAKURA "Heart Of The Flower"
V/A Amplify (Erstwhile) box set 197.00
This is really gorgeous and it's taking a lot of self control to keep us from all taking one of these home. And as Christmas draws near, self control seems to matter less and less. Whether it's a gift for some music freak you love, or a sneaky gift for yourself amidst the rest of your shopping, you couldn't do much better than this. A super fancy, slip cased box set documenting the 2000 Erstwhile festival in Tokyo, put on annually by the label of the same name. Seven discs of some of the best improv/abstract/free jazz/noise you'll ever hear. Most of the recordings are from the actual festival, but two discs are from club shows around the actual festival, while one disc is a performance by an all-star guitar septet made up of Keith Rowe, Tetuzi Akiyama, Oren Ambarchi, Toshimaru Nakamura, Otomo Yoshihide, Burkhard Stangl and Taku Sugimoto and another is a studio recording by the duo of Gčnter Mčller and Toshimaru Nakamura. Wow! There's also a DVD document of the festival by filmmaker Jonas Leddington and a huge booklet with photos and twenty essays! Ready to buy it now? Well here's the track listing: CD 1 (outside festival shows): 1. Thomas Lehn/Toshimaru Nakamura, 2. Gčnter Mčller/Tetuzi Akiyama/Nakamura, 3. Christof Kurzmann/Nakamura, 4. Lehn/Nakamura/Taku Sugimoto. CD 2 (studio sessions): Gčnter Mčller/Toshimaru Nakamura-tint. CD 3 (festival): 1. Cosmos (Sachiko M/Ami Yoshida), 2. Keith Rowe/Lehn/Marcus Schmickler. CD 4 (festival): 1. Mčller/Otomo Yoshihide, 2. Lehn/Schmickler. CD 5 (festival): 1. Burkhard Stangl/Kurzmann/Sugimoto, 2. Rowe/Nakamura. CD 6 (festival): 1. Stangl/Mčller, 2. Nakamura/Sachiko. CD 7: (seven guitars): 1. seven guitarists: Rowe/Akiyama/Oren Ambarchi/Nakamura/Otomo/Stangl/Sugimoto (Cornelius Cardew-Treatise, pp. 82-84), 2. seven guitarists (improvisation). Okay, how about now?!?!? C'mon...you know you want it. I sure do!! No sound samples cuz we're all still trying to fight the need to own this so we haven't even cracked one open yet!
V/A Asian Flashback: Underground Music From Asia (PSF) cd 17.98
Since 1991, Japanese label PSF has brought us six volumes in their essential underground psych-rock-noise-improv sampler series Tokyo Flashback. Now they've released a new compilation that's similarly cool, but broadens its geographic scope to include artists from Korea and China as well as Japan, most of whom we'd never been exposed to before. Some of the only familiar folks appear on the very first track, a live-in-Tokyo "improvised trio showdown" featuring Chinese guitarist Li Jianhong (of the noise band D!O!D!O!D! who have a disc out on PSF, and who also had his own awesome solo cd on aRCHIVE recently) teamed up with free jazz drummer Shoji Hano and High Rise guitarist Narita Munehiro, both from Japan. That's an amped-up freakout as you might expect. There's also a noisy D!O!D!O!D! track on here too, but beyond those, it's all new names to us. From Korea: Mustangs, Kim Young Jin, Amature Amplifier, and Soonie. From China: Mafeisan, Xiao He, Li Daiguo. From Japan: Kiyasu Orchestra, Sato Yukie, Yoshiteru Koga Jizo. Also there's a boy-girl Japanese-Korean project called 10, whose track "U-A-U" is a hissing, droning, throbbing backdrop to bizarre vocal expression. All the tracks are interesting, it's an eclectic mix of experimental/underground styles, from full-on noise chaos to mellow, minimal acoustic guitar balladry, all sorts of stuff... ferinstance the energetic squawk of Kiyasu Orchestra's psychedelic free jazz exotica sits side-by-side here with the Mustangs' sixties style garage psych rock. And perhaps most surprisingly, there's even a dreamy, indie-folk cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" by Korean chanteuse Soonie at the very end of the disc. The booklet boasts brief liner notes about each contributor, in four languages (English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese). Let's hope that this Asian Flashback is just the start of another series! PSF's antidote to all the mass market J-pop, K-pop, and HK-pop karaoke blandness out there.
MUSTANGS "Sativa" MPEG Stream:
XIAO HE "Bird And Water" MPEG Stream:
10 "U-A-U" MPEG Stream:
SATO YUKI "Solo Improvisation"
V/A Bar Noise: Full Volume Live Vol. 1 (Japan Overseas) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Believe it or not, there's now a tiny pub somewhere in Osaka where you can enjoy a beer and listen to nothing but noise music. They even have live shows every Sunday (when the neighboring establishments are closed). This cd collects a bunch of those performances for those of us who can afford a beer but not the flight to Osaka. It's mostly young, unknown (yet) noise artists, who have yet to make the pages of "Bananafish", such as New Mexico, Mutant, and Anglers - although the more notorious Solmania closes the disc with a fine, twelve minute guitar feedback contribution, and also Kevin Sharp of New York's Brutal Truth stops in for some screaming...
V/A Chiky(u)u (Ash) cd 14.98
Electronic soundscapes from a host of Japanese experimenters, including noise-names Aube and MSBR, although much of the sound tends towards the ambient and interesting, rather than the harsh. The theme is sounds from the earth, whether that be stones, seismic activity, contact-mic'd streams, or Akira Yamamichi's "sand dust limestone cave dead mine crystal frequency magnetic field". Excellent comp! (This is the first in a series, with European and American artists to appear in future installents.)
V/A Columbia Japan Label Sampler (Columbia, Japan) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. All pretty great early 1970s psychedelic rock music from Japan, ranging from the heavy blues (such as the almost-Sabbathy Blues Creation's "Atomic Bombs Away") to folky pop sounds (the lovely Yamauchi Tetsu) and plain weirdness (like Bread & Butter's ridiculous & manic version of "I Wanna Be Your Man"). Includes tracks from obsure hippy wonders like the Flower Travellin' Band, Far East Family Band, Mizutani Kimio, Cosmos Factory, April Fool, Narita Ken, and others, all from mosty not-as-yet-reissued albums. A nice smorgasbord of far-out trippiness to explore!
V/A Demonic Freak Scene (Time Bomb) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Total demonic freakbeat garage rock heaven! This disc has had everyone at AQ bouncing and bopping. We're all gonna go out and get skull and crossbones tattoos, shag haircuts and Voxx guitars. Seriously. This is a super wild garage fuzz blowout. Lots of customers in the store assumed this was some old old reissue, but figured it couldn't be cuz it sounded so good. But that should give you an idea of how great this comp is. Classic and old school sounding but at the same time super modern and rocking. We originally wanted to track this comp down when we discovered that Japanoise legend Masonna had a garage rock band ACID Eater, a sort-of spin off of his psychedelic noise combo Christine 23 Onna, but once we finally did get these in, we ended up digging all the bands equally. ACID Eater is probably the heaviest of the bunch, a fuzzed out outer space graveyard blast of super blown out fuzz guitar, chaotic caveman drumming, killer Fuzztones style organ and superdistorted vocals, all wrapped in some freaked out far-out FX, a freakfuzz reverb that occasionally spin the vocals into oblivion like some weird garage dub, but other than that, this is surprisingly un-NOISEY and sort of straight ahead, but still super fierce and in-the-red. All four tracks are recorded ultra hot, so it feels like you're in some tiny sweaty underground club, pressed right up against the P.A. getting drenched in sweat and beer and getting blasted with a thick wall of full on garage RAWK! Then there's The Go-Devils, an all female garage rock combo, with murky buzzy riffing, droning organs, and lazy drawled vocals, with some sixties girl group background vocals, super fuzzy with tribal drumming and some seriously catchy hooks, we even hear a little Redd Kross in there, must be the sort of psychedelic sixties vibe. Finally there's the Bai Tones or the Bait Ones, sort of hard to tell from the album art, who are definitely the weirdest of the three, whose sound is sort of lazy and laid back, droney and midtempo. A sort of slithery stomp, with plenty of strange guitars, abstract riffs, wild harmonica, drawled distorted vocals and some super weird, distinctly un-garage rock-like droney buzzy parts, each song is dripping with dirgey swampy buzzy garage rock murk...SO KILLER. Makes us feel like it's 1982 and we're in some sleazy little dive, bouncing and dancing and sweating and going completely and gloriously deaf. We're not always huge into garage rock, but all three of these bands totally and completely knocked us on our asses!! SO RECOMMENDED.
ACID EATER "A.C.I.D." MPEG Stream:
THE GO DEVILS "Hairy One" MPEG Stream:
BAIT ONES "Teenage Hate"
V/A Driftworks (Big Cat) 4cd 28.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. So lovely, a disc apiece from international drone-meisters Paul Schutze, Pauline Oliveros & Randy Raine-Reusch, Thomas Koner, and Nijiumu (Keiji Haino).
V/A Elsie+Jack+Chair (Elsie and Jack Recordings) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. New Michigan based label with a strange name, and stranger music on this compilation--noise, electronic, & experimental sounds from some obscure and more-than-obsure artists (Crawl Unit, Rampoon, Tabata of Zeni Geva with Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins, Totemplow and Brume being among the better-known). An excellent collection that causes us to look forward to more from this label (such as an upcoming Tabata solo disc).
V/A Extreme Music From Japan (Susan Lawly) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The first "extreme music" compilation from Susan Lawly, released in 1994. Along with collections like Come Again II (Vanilla / Furnace) and World Record (Alchemy), Extreme Music From Japan is an indispensible document of noise and power electronics from the country that mastered the genre. Fifteen exclusive tracks from heavyweights Merzbow, Hijokaidan, Masonna, Incapacitants, Gerogerigegege, as well as lesser-knowns Government Alpha, Niku-Zidousha, Hentaitenno, and What A Smell. Compiled by William Bennett of Whitehouse.
V/A Fujirekodsu (Fujirekodsu) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. What the hell am I listening to? That's the reaction to a few minutes spent with this comp in the cd player. It's a very weird mix of stuff! Fujirekodsu is a new label set up by Tokyo's Cha-Bashira and Cologne's A-Musik labels to release unknown and unusual music from Japan and Europe (and all the artists on here, Japanese or not, either live or have spent time in Japan). This new label/project has received some assistance from the Tokyo record shop Los Apson, who some might recall released a bizarre compilation of their own back in '96 or so. We are told that this is sort of part II of that, and it is equally crazed. Don't get the idea that this is your typical Japanese noise thing, as it's not particularily noisy in the Merzbow sense; rather, there's a lot of different musical styles on here, including electronic groove, installation sounds, "actionism", lo-fi pop, and odd glitch-works. Nothing remotely ordinary however. Some of the names involved (a few that folks might know, but not many!): Why Sheep?, Smurf Otoko Gumi, Susumu Yokota, Christophe Charles/Brandon Labelle/Steve Roden, Q of Q, Noise Ramones (Eye and Yoshimi of Boredoms), Evil Moisture, Hair Stylistics, AOA, Rudolpf Eb.er, Nagata Kazunao, Tennessees, American Cherry, Tapes Klar!, L?K?O?, Vagamoron, many more. There's 29 tracks of this insanity. Pretty cool!
V/A Grind Bastards 3 (Grind Freaks) cd 14.98
With a title like Grind Bastards, you can safely assume that this comp is indeed directly targeted at you, the grind bastards. And we know there are some serious grind bastards among the aQ faithful. Anyone who has gone nuts in the past for Agoraphobic Nosebleed, or Pig Destroyer, or Discordance Axis, or Last Days Of Humanity, we could go on and on and on, so yeah, dig a little deeper and discover a whole world of grind going on UNDER the underground. Grind Bastards collects some of the best Japanese grind from mostly bands you've never heard of, but NEED to. Heavy, buzzing, blasting, frenzied, frenetic, pummeling, crushing, a dizzying swirl of metal riffage, furious blast beats, grunted cookie monster vocals, inhuman blackened shrieks, hooks all over the place, and some of the heaviest catchiest under a minute shit you'll ever hear. Little Bastards, Magnicide, Mortalized, Butcher ABC, Cortecuellos, Brob, Mangirl, Fortitude, Bleeding Humanity, D.I.E., Kutsujoku, Deadly Spawn, Zagio Evha Dilegj and of course Unholy Grave, whose label Grind Freaks released this (and who also run the amazing all black metal and grind and doom record store Grave in Japan). Dense and dizzyingly complex, next level heaviness for sure, fast and crusty enough for punk rockers, riffy and brutal enough for metalheads, and definitely a rad grind primer for the newbies. BTW: We also have a few copies of Grind Bastards 2, which besides totally ruling as well, just so happens to feature one of our favorite grind jams ever, a 51 second grindpop gem by Mortalized (who have 2 songs here) covering pop punkers Propaghandi.
LITTLE BASTARDS "Lie, Deceive, Steal" MPEG Stream:
MAGNICIDE "Misery Of An Existence" MPEG Stream:
MORTALIZED "Funeral Grind" MPEG Stream:
CORTECUELLOS "Don't Call Japanese Hardcore Japcore" MPEG Stream:
MANGIRL "Ghoul Gurumand" MPEG Stream:
UNHOLY GRAVE "Cruel Terror"
V/A Grind Bastards 4 (Grind Freaks) cd 14.98
Okay grind bastards, time for round 4, another awesome collection of some of the best grind that Japan, and the rest of the world, has to offer. But like on past installments, this is not the grind you know and love, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Last Days Of Humanity, Discordance Axis, Hayaino Daisuki, Brutal Truth, Pig Destroyer, Nasum, that's all mainstream by comparison, this is the grind underground, some names you might know, you might even have records by Unholy Grave, whose label Grind Freaks is responsible for this mayhem, or Total Fucking Destruction, and then there's a bunch of bands you probably only know from past installments of Grind Bastards like Mortalized, Fortitude, Little Bastards, and in addition this time around a there's whole new crop of bands we'd never heard 'til now: Vulgaroyal Bloodhill, Zomba Green, Disgunder, Diborce, Ada Max, Black Ganion, and more more more. This isn't really for dabblers though, this is sort of the grind version of grim, kvlt, true, the sounds here insane and ultra aggressive, over the top, a relentless assault on the senses, a crushing barrage of grinding buzzsaw riffage, blasting hyperspeed drumming, crazed vocals that yelp, howl, grunt, screech, the songs ultra proggy, a million parts and tempos crammed into the space of a minute or two, the sounds vary from blasts of blacknoise, to groovy almost classic metal, to white hot blasts of old school grind, to twisted effects drenched grinding avant metal freakouts, to galloping fastcore, to helping almost Melt-Banana sounding hypergrind, to epic war grind, to some almost poppy grind, some seriously gurgling goregrind, a few tracks get into 3 and 4 even 5 minutes, while others blow by in seconds, furious and frenzied and frantic and fantastically fucked up, this is some of the raddest, heaviest, most brutal and inventive grind you'll hear, anyone into fast and heavy, blasting brutality, this will kick your ass big time, and like past volumes, this would be a pretty epic grind primer, and like those volumes, this couldn't be more recommended. Killer packaging too, a massive fold out punk rock poster, with each band getting their own little panel of liner notes...
MORTALIZED "Hate Your World" MPEG Stream:
DISGUNDER "Ruminate / Incise" MPEG Stream:
ADA MAX "Electric Shock" MPEG Stream:
TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION "Battle Command In Future" MPEG Stream:
VULGAROYAL BLOODHILL "Quitar Las Tripas A Un Dios" MPEG Stream:
FORTITUDE "Cadaverous Faces"
V/A Grind Bastards 5 (Grind Freaks) cd 14.98
Once again, this one is for all the Grind Bastards out there, the fifth in this long running series of Japanese comps, collecting the best of (mostly) Japanese grind, released on the Grind Freaks label, run by legendary Japanese grinders Unholy Grave, who are present here, along with some other longtime faves: Mortalized, Agothocles and some others. But the best part of these comps is discovering all the weird ultra underground grind outfits you'd most likely not hear anywhere else: Red Ran Amber, Ada Max, Extreme Noise Destroyer, Hell And Hell, Easies, Fortitude, Midnight Resurrector, Naqro, Parasite and more! Obviously, this comp is called Grind Bastards, on a label called Grind Freaks, so odds are if you made it this far you know what you're getting into, fast and furious, blasting, churning, chugging, GRINDing heaviness, frenzied beats, insane riffing, howled and screeched vox, total metallic chaos, blurry punk mayhem, short sharp blasts of super complex, downtuned intricate metallic grind. We're digging Red Ran Amber, who if all was fair would be getting the same love as say Wormrot, Pig Destroyer or any of the other grind outfits on Relapse, Mortalized offer up another minute long epic, further convincing us that they might have the potential to be our favorite grinders if they only had more material out and it was a lot easier to track down, Extreme Noise Destroyer offer up some sort of distortion drenched bit of acoustic guitar weirdness before launching into some serious downtuned devastation, the Easies spit out blasts of super blown out and in-the-red chaos, Brob offer up some seriously old school powerviolence fastcore grind, their sound thick and caustic, Parasite are almost straight up classic eighties metal, complete with super melodic harmonized guitar leads, while Naqro might be a new favorite, their super raw lo-fi sound impossibly dense and heavy, their sound swinging wildly from frantic grind to swinging almost groovy metallic churn, and Midnight Resurrector kick out the straight up hip hop, not sure if they're normally a grind band or they just have some grind cred (they do infuse their sound with some fat fuzzy bass, and some Hawd Gangstah style bellowed rapping). Already can't wait for volume six! Comes in a cool fold out punk rock poster style sleeve.
RED RAN AMBER "Demitri" MPEG Stream:
ADA MAX "Untitled" MPEG Stream:
MORTALIZED "Asino Wa Ruia Itu" MPEG Stream:
EXTREME NOISE DESTROYER "Intro" MPEG Stream:
LITTLE BASTARDS "Last Ride" MPEG Stream:
V/A Ikiteru Kachi Ari: A Tribute To Jojo Hiroshige (Alchemy) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Maybe only John Zorn's Tzadik label devotes as many releases as the Japanese (Kansai region) Alchemy label does to stuff to do specifically with the activity of the label-boss! It seems like almost every recent Alchemy disc has been a Jojo Hiroshige project of some sort, whether it be a solo DVD or a best-of or the current series of reissues of his seminal noise band Hijokaidan. Of course, we're all for it, we love his stuff, diverse as it is, from full-on noise assault to spacey drone to folky melodiousness... So, perhaps no surprise that this latest Alchemy release is a various artists TRIBUTE compilation to the "King Of Noise", the very same Jojo Hiroshige. And no surprise (or maybe a little bit of one) that it's so very diverse too! These ten cover tracks by ten different artists range from shambolic pop to frenzied punk to blissed out psych to harsh industrial mayhem. Several familiar faces from the Alchemy roster show up -- "Love Love Love" as performed by female psychsters Doodles is particularly lovely, while Solmania's contribution of psychedelic guitar drone is uncharacteristically calm and beautiful. And as an appropriate finale, Masonna chimes in with some full-on noise as is his trademark, the first new recording from the hopping one in a long, long time. A lot of the contributors seem to be making a definite Kansai / Kraut konnection here in paying tribute to the admittedly Krautrock influenced oeuvre of Alchemy bossman Jojo. Recommended to all fans of out-there Japanese psych, rock, and noise action.
SOLMANIA "track 6" MPEG Stream:
YOSHIHARU KAKOI "track 7"
V/A Improvised Music From Japan (Improvised Music From Japan) 10cd box 165.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Oh boy, this is nice. A roughly 6"x6"x2" wooden box, housing a thick booklet and five beautiful colored cardboard double cd sleeves, containing ten cds amongst them. On the cds (and described in print in the booklet): work by 34 Japan-based improvising musicians, musicians documented on the Improvised Music From Japan website (www.japanimprov.com). Some names: Michihiro Sato, Tamaru, Michiyo Yagi, Seiichi Yamamoto, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Aki Onda, Kazuo Imai, Incapacitants, Toshimaru Nakamura, Taku Sugimoto, Otomo Yoshihide, Utah Kawasaki, Sachiko M, Yoshimitsu Ichiraku, Hoahio, Happiness Proof, Haco, Ground Zero, Marginal Consort, Junji Hirose, Shoji Hano. There's many more besides. A few Westerners who live/work in Japan, like Brett Larner and Annette Krebs are also included, often in collaboration with Japanese musicians. These folks do everything from improvising on tradtional instruments (Michihiro Sato's shamisen, Michiyo Yagi's koto) to full on electronic noise (Incapacitants) to avant-pop (Hoahio) to jazz to minimalist experimentation (Yoshimitsu Ichiraku's "Cymbal Orchestra"). Some tracks are long enough to be full releases in and of themselves. We could provide further description, but figure that either those names mean something to you or they don't, and if they don't, you probably aren't curious enough to blow $160 for a crash course in the world of underground Japanese jazz/electronic improv music (or are you?). And if you have this box in your future, you probably know it already. We'll just say, it really is pretty nice package, worth the investment of time and money if you already have and enjoy more than a few discs by any of the artists documented. Three of us here at AQ bought copies! But, be warned, we only have TWO of these...no wait, ack, damn, someone just bought one. We now have ONE copy! And we won't be getting any more (it's limited to 500, and these are are last we were able to get). So, the customer who stops by or gets their order in first will be in luck.
V/A Improvised Music From Japan Extra 2006 Special Issue Berlin (IMJ) magazine + 2cd 28.00
Before you go get goin' too excited about this new issue of IMFJ, we gotta tell you a couple things. First the good news, yes this does come with not one but two full cds crammed with cutting edge music for you to check out. Lots of cool avant-garde experimentation. But, none of it's by Japanese artists. This is the "Special Issue: Berlin" and so it focusses on that European scene, including folks like Axel Dorner, Christof Kurzmann, Annette Krebs, Phillip Sollmann, F.S. Blumm, Tony Buck, Jason Forrest, Joe Williamson, Andrea Neumann, and many others (Germans, Italians, Americans, etc... just no Japanese!). Japanophiles thereby be warned. People who like minimal electronics and out-there improvised music in general though should still be quite interested! But (another but), also a bit frustrated, unless fluent in Japanese. Because unlike previous issues of IMFJ, this one has no English text -- the interviews, articles and reviews are all in Japanese. Kind of a bummer for us, eh? But, you still get the two discs of music, and some pictures and stuff to look at, so it might still be worth it if you're interested in hearing what these cats are up to in Berlin.
V/A Infernal Proteus: A Musical Herbal (Ajna) 4cd + book 41.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A massive 4 cd collection packaged beautifully in an oversized hardcover book from Stephen O'Malley's (Sunn, Burning Witch, etc...) Anja label. Featuring a who's who of underground expreimental ambient noise-icians, each doing a song about a different flower. Features: Circle, Amber Asylum, Alio Die, Ultra, Jonathan Coleclough, Troum, Steve Roden, Kawabata Makoto, Inade, Mnortham, Aube, Chaos As Shelter, Lotus Eaters and tons more. Absolutely gorgeous, looking and sounding. And of course quite limited.
V/A Japan: New Psychedelic Underground (Bob's Airport) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Heavy duty psych-jam bands Mainliner and Musica Transonic, Ruins drummer Yoshida solo, and the trancier sounds of Ohkami No Yikan and Toho Sara, all recorded live over two days for this European tour-inspired import disc. Every band pretty much features the same members (Nanjo of High Rise fame on bass, Yoshida on drums), and this is essential for any fan of the PSF "rock" sound. Amazing, killer, wow.
V/A Japanese Avant-Garde: Agitation / Stillness - Noise / Silence (Sub Rosa) cd 16.98
V/A Japanese New Music Festival 2008 (Magaibutsu) cd 13.98
Just found we have five (5) copies of this Acid Mothers Temple related compilation, that we'd never listed on our site before. AMT members (and pillars of the Japanese psych/prog underground) Atsushi Tsuyama, Tatsuya Yoshida, and Kawabata Makoto show off their chops n' weirdness here, each one solo and also together in various combinations. There's 7 audio tracks here, recorded live, and also 7 more mp4 video clips you can watch on your computer (and which reveal how much these guys revel in their silliness). The cd starts off with some kind of broken-down freak-folk twang and psych shred from Atsushi Tsuyama, who sings a bit like Tom Waits transformed into a cartoon bear. Next, Kawabata Makoto contributes eight minutes of FX-laden outer space drone bliss. Chaos erupts with Yoshida's Ruins Alone track, a battle between his drum kit and video game zips and zaps it seems. Then, all three of these fellows sing in the comedic a cappella combo Zubi Zuva X, a crazed chorus that elicits much laughter from the audience - or perhaps that's part of their performance. Akaten (Atsushi + Yoshida) offer up what sounds like someone eating a meal, which turns into an improv session, and then devolves into echoed insanity... The track by Zoffy (Kawabata + Atsushi) is the most "rock" thing on here, so far, though of course also quite nutty. And then all three gentlemen, in the form of Acid Mothers SWR, wrap thing up with a display of their tight, mathy prog. Limited to 300 copies produced for a 2008 European tour. Apparently we've had 'em hidden away here since then! Better late than never to list these, grab 'em while you can, AMT fans...
ATSUSHI TSUYAMA "untitled" MPEG Stream:
KAWABATA MAKOTO "untitled" MPEG Stream:
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE SWR "untitled"
V/A Ju-Jikan: Ten Hours Of Sound From Japan (23five) 2cd 21.00
Last year, local educational sound-arts organization 23five and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art co-presented a ten hour listening event/installation documenting the past 50 years of Japanese experimental music entitled "Ju-Jikan" (which translates as '10 hours' in Japanese). Curators Atau Tanaka, Ryoji Ikeda, and Shunichiro Okada described it not as a comprehensive taxonomy of Japanese experimentation, but simply sought "to trace the complex web of sonic style that constitutes the current Japenese musical landscape." Tanaka, who wrote the liner notes for the program, further explained that the curatorial choices were also guided by how the West perceives Japan and how Japan considers its own representation towards the West. This double cd compiles elements selected from that ten hour listening event at SFMOMA (the full ten hours would have required mp3 encoding and much in the way of complicated licensing arrangements!), focusing upon the more contemporary elements of experimental Japanese music. These sounds draw their connections through the recombinant power of electronic synthesis and the juxtaposition of disparate styles; which together have become a standard if elusively-defined musical vocabulary for Japanese music. "Ju-Jikan" features physically challenging noise from Merzbow, Masonna, Hanatarash (Eye from the Boredoms), Pain Jerk, and Tetsuo Furudate; 'anti-academic' reactionary modes of Yasunao Tone and Yuji Takahashi; purist minimalism of tonal austerity from Ryoji Ikeda, Otomo Yoshihide, and Nerve Net Noise; and delicate electrodrone work from Kazuo Uehara, Tamami Tono, and Kozo Inada. A really important collection indeed. We're told some tracks are previously released, some not, but it's hard to tell which -- chances are you'd have to be a really geeked-out collector to have many of these already, and even in that case you'd still want this for the rest. The cd booklet gives Tanaka's detailed notes on all styles covered, a graphic timeline of Japanese experimental sound genres, and a program for the full ten-hour event so you can see what you missed.
YASUNAO TONE "Trio For A Flute Player" RealAudio clip:
KOZO INADA "d" RealAudio clip:
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE "Composition For Two Guitars" RealAudio clip:
HANATARASH "77up" RealAudio clip:
TETSUO FURUDATE "Der Geist"
V/A Land of the Rising Noise, Vol. 2 (Charnel Music) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Charnel's newest, adventureous compilation of underground Japanese sounds, some names perhaps familiar, some not. Noise, punk, psychedelia and beyond are represented here, some names: Melt-Banana, Shizuka, Amgsphont, Der Eisenrost, Wnico, Contagious Orgasm... Definitely worth checking out.
V/A Let's A Go-Go! - Singapore And Southeast Asian Pop Scene 1964-69 (Silver Tortoise) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Yet another fantastic collection of Southeast Asian pop, funky and fuzzy, jangly and garagey, poppy and psychedelic. Let's A Go-Go definitely sounds like it could have ended up on Sublime Frequencies, but in spirit seems to fall closer to one of our favorite comps ever, Teen Dance Music From China And Malaysia, the focus here less cultural and anthropological, and more fun fun fun. There are several tracks from Dara Puspita, whose entire collected work was recently reissued on Sublime Frequencies, and which should give you a good idea of the sort of fuzzy garage pop you can expect here, but besides DP, there's not a single band here we've heard of, but they're all fantastic, Rita Chao, The Bes, Patrina, Hai Fei, The Dee-Tee's, The Crescendos, The Blue Beats, Rocky Teoh, Charlie And His Go-Go Boys, Lotus Liew, Orkes Tropicano... And of course there are a handful of covers, in keeping with Southeast Asia's obsession with Western pop music, the perfect examples being both Patrina's "One To Nine Walkin", and Charlie And His Go-Go Boys' "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'", the first a cool reinterpretation of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'", almost identical to the original, in arrangement at least, even with the change in title, the vocals a bit more playful and girlish, and there's the addition of a cool almost Christmasy sounding chiming guitar breakdown between every verse! And the second a wild sexy sixties instrumental version, with the vocals replaced by horns, a go-go jam true to the band's name for sure. The whole record is like some super exotic sixties dance party, flutes flutter, drums shuffle, organs hum and wheeze, melodies twist and tangle, the sound definitely Asian, but also Western, from fuzzed out garage rockers, to cool garage-ified Asian folk, most of the vocalists are female, but the handful of males representing are pretty spectacular, the Dee-Tee's "Just Because" is a haunting minor key ballad, the Quests' "The Dancer" is total Beatles-esque jangle (definitely cobbled together from a handful of parts from various Beatles songs), there's a groovy version of "Wooly Bully", there's some sixties space aged garage a la the Telstars and so much more. Totally wild and fun, and fuzzy and funky and so varied, a fantastic comp that will definitely appeal to Sublime Frequencies obsessives, Southeast Asian pop nerds, and anyone who bought Teen Dance Music From China And Malaysia, loved it to death but wanted more more more!
RITA CHAO "Lonely Heart" MPEG Stream:
DARA PUSPITA "A Go-Go" MPEG Stream:
THE BEES "Flamingo" MPEG Stream:
PATRINA "One To Nine Walkin" MPEG Stream:
HAI FEI "The Second Spring" MPEG Stream:
THE DEE-TEE'S "Just Because"
V/A Love, Peace & Poetry: Japanese Psychedelic Music (Shadoks Music) cd 15.98
Following the excellent Latin American psych and Asian psych collections in the Love, Peace & Poetry series (and the not as hot American one) comes two new comps, one devoted to British bands and this one, dedicated to the wild and crazy sounds of psychedelic-era Japan. (Next in the series, we're told, will be Brazil and Canada.) There's some '60s fuzz-beat stuff on here from "Group Sounds" acts like The Happenings Four, Justin Heathcliff, The Jacks and The Mops, plus quite an abundance of early '70s era heavy guitar rock from killer groups like Blues Creation, Speed Glue & Shinki, and Foodbrain. That's partially because the Japanese psych-scene was really acid-rock oriented, and also 'cause the stuff that wasn't, was generally too spacious and abstract to fit comfortably on a single compilation disc. Thus, there's no Taj Mahal Travellers, no Far Out, and no Far East Family Band. The songs on here are more in the 3-4 minute range, there's no room for the side-long album cuts in which some of those bands specialized. Which is too bad, 'cause as cool as this comp is, it's not the complete picture. There's not even any Flower Travellin' Band, one of our favorite hard-rocking '70s Japanese psych groups. Despite those omissions, however, this is still a recommended compilation, especially if you dig the Hendrix-inspired, drugged-out mayhem that many of these bands dish out. Of course you do! Especially if you're a fan of current underground Japanese music. You know that Japan is one of the few places in the world with a truly happenin' modern-day psychedelic rock scene -- we're talking active bands like Acid Mothers Temple, Fushitsusha, Mainliner, High Rise, Ghost, and (especially nowadays) the Boredoms. Yup, in Japan, psychedelia is still live and well. Any fan of those bands certainly should delve into their historical inspirations from their native land, and this comp is a great starting place for such exploration! 17 tracks, all from super-rare LPs, many not readily available as cd reissues as yet. As with the rest of the Love, Peace & Poetry series, it should be noted that all the cheesecake blonde girl photos decorating the cd package were taken by Bunny Yeager, the awesome woman photographer most famous for her work with Betty Page. That doesn't mean that they're terribly appropriate images to this comp, but still, Bunny Yeager, yeah.
SHINKI CHEN "Freedom Of A Mad Paper Lantern" RealAudio clip:
SPEED, GLUE & SHINKI "Run and Hide" RealAudio clip:
JACKS "Gloomy Flower"
V/A Love, Peace & Poetry: Japanese Psychedelic Music (Shadoks Music) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Following the excellent Latin American psych and Asian psych collections in the Love, Peace & Poetry series (and the not as hot American one) comes two new comps, one devoted to British bands and this one, dedicated to the wild and crazy sounds of psychedelic-era Japan. (Next in the series, we're told, will be Brazil and Canada.) There's some '60s fuzz-beat stuff on here from "Group Sounds" acts like The Happenings Four, Justin Heathcliff, The Jacks and The Mops, plus quite an abundance of early '70s era heavy guitar rock from killer groups like Blues Creation, Speed Glue & Shinki, and Foodbrain. That's partially because the Japanese psych-scene was really acid-rock oriented, and also 'cause the stuff that wasn't, was generally too spacious and abstract to fit comfortably on a single compilation disc. Thus, there's no Taj Mahal Travellers, no Far Out, and no Far East Family Band. The songs on here are more in the 3-4 minute range, there's no room for the side-long album cuts in which some of those bands specialized. Which is too bad, 'cause as cool as this comp is, it's not the complete picture. There's not even any Flower Travellin' Band, one of our favorite hard-rocking '70s Japanese psych groups. Despite those omissions, however, this is still a recommended compilation, especially if you dig the Hendrix-inspired, drugged-out mayhem that many of these bands dish out. Of course you do! Especially if you're a fan of current underground Japanese music. You know that Japan is one of the few places in the world with a truly happenin' modern-day psychedelic rock scene -- we're talking active bands like Acid Mothers Temple, Fushitsusha, Mainliner, High Rise, Ghost, and (especially nowadays) the Boredoms. Yup, in Japan, psychedelia is still live and well. Any fan of those bands certainly should delve into their historical inspirations from their native land, and this comp is a great starting place for such exploration! 17 tracks, all from super-rare LPs, many not readily available as cd reissues as yet. As with the rest of the Love, Peace & Poetry series, it should be noted that all the cheesecake blonde girl photos decorating the cd package were taken by Bunny Yeager, the awesome woman photographer most famous for her work with Betty Page. That doesn't mean that they're terribly appropriate images to this comp, but still, Bunny Yeager, yeah.
V/A Mottomo Otomo (Trost) cd 17.98
The Music Unlimited festival is a 3-day Austrian event focusing on all aspects of modern experimental music, from jazz to rock to classical. Since 1991, the festival's performers have been selected by different artists. In the past, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins and Jon Rose have organised the festival. In 1999, Otomo Yoshihde (of Ground Zero) was the events programmer and he selected a remarkable selection of modern experimental music: Radian, the Incapacitants, Kaffe Matthews, Martin Tetreault, Novo Tono, Keith Rowe, Sugimoto Taku, Poire-Z, Hoahio and of course Otomo himself.
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE "" RealAudio clip:
RADIAN "" RealAudio clip:
V/A Musique Non Stop: A Tribute To Kraftwerk (EMI, Japan) cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Japanese artists cover their favorite Kraftwerk tunes. Participants include Melt Banana, Zeni Geva, Buffalo Daughter and a bunch of others we're not familiar with, but who seem to be part of the Japanese avant-pop electronica scene. The whole thing is great, absolutely recommended.
V/A Neu Konservativ (God Mountain/DSA) cd 16.98
Tokyo-based label God Mountain put out this compilation a year or two back, and now it's the first release on the more reasonably-priced "God Mountain Europe" imprint. Intense, insane instrumental prowess, strange prog/jazz concepts, beyond "out" rock dementia. A great intro to the God Mountain scene, which takes all that downtown NYC stuff and, like, cubes it. Also available on GMEurope, Ground Zero's self-titled (like a less calculated Naked City, and both Zorn and Eye guest) and Optical*8's "Bug" (comparable only maybe to the first Praxis album) for the same reasonable price.
V/A Nihon No Shinungaku: Japanese New Music Festival ver.4 (Magaibutsu) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Brain-melting musical chaos from Japan! Crazy voices, crashing instruments! According to the liner notes to this cd, "In 1997, 1999 and 2003, a set of performances aroused a storm of frenzy and shriek in Europe... and they will be back with even greater power. This time 3 musicians (Yoshida Tatsuya/Tsuyama Atsushi/Kawabata Makoto) form 7 units!! A capella, comic free form, progressive core, troubadour, cosmic psychedelic....... you'll be experiencing the essence of all kinds of extremes in the current new music scene in Japan on a single night. Never miss it." Or, you can experience those extremes on a single disc -- this one, that Yoshida released on his Magaibutsu label to promote the tour. These three fellows, members of such crucial underground Japanese bands as Ruins, Acid Mothers Temple, and Omoide Hatoba, perform here in various groupings: Akaten, Zubi Zuva X, Zoffy, Seikazoku, Acid Mothers Temple SWR, Ruins Alone, and Shrinp Wark. Some of those will already be familiar to followers of this creatively fertile and incestuous scene, but two are kinda new: Shrinp Wark (Yoshida and Kawabata's improvising tribute to This Heat) and the somewhat self-explanatory Ruins Alone (Yoshida solo, using his drum kit and a sampling bass to singlehandedly perform songs by Ruins as well as Koenjihyakkei and Korekyojinn! The Ruins Alone track here is an insane ADD medley that brings in the William Tell Overture among other things...). There's something here for all fans of everything from spaced-out psych to vocal acrobatics to noisy prog mayhem. AND, in addition to the seven audio tracks, this also includes seven live video clips viewable on your computer! Way cool. Packaged in a plastic sleeve, no jewel case.
RUINS ALONE "(no title given)" MPEG Stream:
SEIKAZOKU "(no title given)"
V/A No Noise Compilation (Even Stilte) cd 12.98
This international, experimental comp from the Japan-based Even Stilte label features a couple big AQ faves, Birchville Cat Motel and Reynols, among others. The comp's called No Noise, but that title is ironic or something. Somebody call the Better Business Bureau with a truth in advertising complaint. Yes Noise is more like it. And if you don't think the first track (by Japanese skreemongers Dustbreeders aided and abetted by vocalist Junko from Hijokaidan) is noisy enough, first of all you're either deaf or crazy, and second of all, ok see what you think of track two, from Japan's even noisier Guilty Connector. We literally had to leap to the stereo to turn it down. It's noise all right, of the universe collapsing all around you in a howling tumble of feedback and fuzzed out, fucked up distortion variety. Damn. Halfway through, though, this track takes a turn into much less loud realm of insectoid buzz and freeform clatter, which actually is more the sort of "noise" that this comp itself is mostly about. Instead of the full-on, speaker-shredding, ear-shrivelling noise, of the first track and a half, this delves into some smaller noises as well. And also even some shambolic, avant-rock ritual strangeness from Argentina's wonderful Reynols. But mostly abstract, soundscapey drone stuff for the most part. Such as, the aforementioned BCM turns in a track that seemingly tunes in the zings of long thin wires. Electric zapping and humming and hissing. We were also interested to hear from the artists that we weren't so familiar with, like Sky Burial, whose track is a moody drift, rising and falling in rumbling, soothing swells. Someone or something named Phrog provides even more minimal, "microscopic" sounds, vaguely field-recording-ish, as is Dave Phillips' lengthily-titled yet barely-there "From Wars Over Control and Oil to Environmental and Mental Destruction and Renewable Sources and Minds (at a Loss for Words)". Kyoshi Mizutani's "Yamaokmai Tunnel" is another one probably constructed from environmental sources. And Acid Mothers Temple member Tabata, if he used field recordings, they must have been loops of someone shooting down aliens in an anonymous videogame, processed into something much calmer. Somewhat more active is the track by Rudolf Eb.er (of Runzelstirn & Gurglestock infamy), a chopped-up soundscape, that settles into an uneasy, clomping rhythm. (Eb.er also provided the "Body World" styled cover painting for this cd.) So, while far from "No Noise" this comp is a good way to get to -know- some noise, in all its extremes, from around the world. All the tracks here are apparently exclusive, except possibly the GC one. So we were told by the Even Stilte label boss, from whom we picked up just handful of these comps, when he stopped by the store whilst passing through SF recently.
BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL "Noise Is Everpresent" MPEG Stream:
SKY BURIAL "Awakening From Someone Else's Dream" MPEG Stream:
GUILTY CONNECTOR "Heremsaurus at Ant-Anna"
V/A Nova Feedback (God Mountain) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Possibly the most non-sensical compilation ever, this Japanese import features tracks from Costes (French vulgar vaudeville), Gastr del Sol, several Japanese hardcore/funk/metal units (including Gaji, who sound very similar to Melt-Banana), and improv music by Ikue Mori and others. Truly a bizarre item.
V/A Off Site (A Bruit Secret) 2cd 23.00
Last year, AQ-fave Japanese guitar experimentalist Taku Sugimoto put together a series of "Composed Music" concerts at a Tokyo venue called Off Site, featuring pieces written and performed by a who's who of the current Japanese underground jazz/noise/experimental/electronic scene. This disc collects some live recordings from those shows. Disc one opens with Otomo Yoshihide's sixteen-piece "Portable Orchestra". It's the "home electronics equipment version" and that means the musicians, among them Taku Sugimoto, Sachiko M, Utah Kawasaki, Masahiro Uemura, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Otomo himself, are improvising with "instruments" like food mixers, electric drills, shavers, cel phones, gameboys, cameras! Avant-improv music for a [insert dept. store name]. Intriguing as presented here (unless you just can't stand that dentist drill sound!), but probably even better in person, watching these folks fool around with these gadgets and tools. Moving on, the next three tracks are for a more traditional ensemble: an acoustic guitar trio, albeit one with so few notes being played (or even sounds being made) that the involvement of more than one guitarist seems almost superfluous. The rest of the disc, with pieces by Toshimaru Nakamura and Taku Sugimoto for solo saxophone and turntable/sinewaves, respectively, also feature quite a lot of silence, a hallmark of the oh-so-quiet and abstract "onkyo" style attributed to these musicians. The subtle drones and delicate (and not-so-delicate) noises of that final 30-minute turntable/sinewave track should be found to be especially beautiful and interesting by listeners with patience and the right mindset. Disc two starts with Annette Krebs, Sachiko M, and Taku Sugimoto performing a piece for paper and contact mic, ripping and tearing. Other pieces involve radios, accordions, electric and acoustic guitars -- all very abstract and sparse, sometimes self-evidently pretty, mostly just mystifying. The idea here seems to be for there to be some odd juxtapostions of composer/performer/instrument -- there's even a track wherein Otomo Yoshihide plays a Sachiko M compostion on an acoustic guitar! (We'll assume, if you've read this far, you're familiar enough with these musicians to think that a bit unusual.)
YOSHIHIDE OTOMO'S PORTABLE ORCHESTRA "Portable Orchestra"
V/A Ongaku 70: Vintage Psychedelia In Japan (Hiruko) lp 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. French import, a vinyl-only comp of some excellent Japanese psych stuff from the Seventies!! We weren't able to get very many, it's now out of print, and we've got like 3 copies left, first come first served! 13 tracks, circa 1969-1978, including cuts by Les Rallizes Denudes, JA Caesar, Kuni Kawachi & His Group, The Apryl Fool, Sadistic Mika Band, Stomu Yamash'ta's Red Buddha Theatre, Akiko Yano, Toshiaki Tsushima, Harry Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band, Osamu Kitajima, Karuna Khyal, and more... Some we'd heard before (the ones that have seen full album reissues in recent years) but others we'd never even heard OF, and are utterly new finds for us. There's a very "Japanese" vibe indeed to these particular psych acts, and an arty one too. Cool! There's a sequel too, Ongaku 80: Alternative Waves From Japan, that we sold out of already, but that one we're told we might see more of again in a few weeks...
V/A Ongaku 90 (Hiruko) lp 25.00
This is the third in a series of super limited lps, each offering a fantastic, albeit brief overview of the Japanese underground music scene, separated by decade. Starting with the seventies, which featured Les Rallizes Denudes, JA Caesar, Kuni Kawachi & His Group, The Apryl Fool, Sadistic Mika Band, Stomu Yamash'ta's Red Buddha Theatre, Akiko Yano, Toshiaki Tsushima, Harry Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band, Osamu Kitajima, Karuna Khyal and a bunch more. Then there was the eighties volume, which included Phew, Riuchi Sakamoto, Tako, Daisuck & Prostitute, Gunjogacrayon, Lizard and load of groups we had never heard of. And now we arrive at the nineties, and this time around, a lot of the groups are familiar, Phew and Riuchi Sakamoto make return appearances, which makes sense, as they were both just as active in the nineties as the eighties, there's also Ghost, Fushitsusha, The Gegogerigegege, E*Trance, Demi Semi Quaver, Takako Minekawa, Idiot O'Clock and Jun Miyake. Weirdly enough, a lot of these tracks almost sound more eighties than the actual eighties installment did! Jun Miyake starts things off with cool tribal drumming, chant like vocals, programed electronics, sounding a bit like a Japanese Muslimgauze, albeit with a Native American techno vibe (!). Phew do their warped funky weirdness, mewled vox, jazzy horns, layered drones and lots of space-y FX. Sakamoto does his thing as well, sounding a bit like traditional Japanese music modernized and electrified, a little bit electro, a distinctly new wave vibe with some woozy crooned vocals. Japanoise weirdos Gergogerigegege (that translates as 'vomit, diarrhea, ha, ha, ha') offer up an all acapella track, spoken female vocals, accompanied by the moans and groans of the band's masturbator (they do indeed have a band member who wears a diaper and jacks off!), as he does his thing! The Ghost track is a gorgeous chunk of hazy, chanted, free-form psychedelic murk, ritualistic and haunting, while Idiot O'Clock finish off the A side with some full on new wave, which as mentioned above, sound way more '80s than '90s. Japanese heavy psychlords Fushitsusha start off the B side with a surprisingly hushed and restrained slow jam, super spare drumming, barely there guitar strum, brief flurries of gnarled fretboard scrabble, all as a softly psychedelic backdrop for Keiji Haino's anguished wail. E*Trance are up next, whose track is a glorious chunk of loping weirdo psych rock, full of atonal melodies, twisted choruses of laughing voices, weird sporadic percussion, swooping heavily effected guitars, and what sounds like some traditional Japanese instruments, not to mention some seriously rad fuzzed out psych/shred leads. Takako Minekawa delivers a short blast of squelchy minimal synthy new wave, a little Kraftwerky, and another track that doesn't necessarily sound distinctly nineties. And finally, Demi Semi Quaver wrap it up with a lengthy, sprawling psychedelic jam of weirdo spaced out Japanese prog, female vox, abstract drumming, shuffling rhythms, wheezing accordions (?), lots of space, the instruments drifting in wide open expanses, sort of like the warped more progged out version of a Japanese jam band! All of these comps are super limited, they go out of print quickly, and even before then, we often have trouble restocking once we sell out, so grab one quick before they're gone.
V/A Oz Days Live 2cd 11.98
For a long time, this record was a Japanese psych holy grail, originally a super limited double lp, later a double cd, originally released to commemorate the closing of a club in Tokyo called Oz, where presumably all of these bands were recorded. The main reason this was such a sought after artifact is no doubt the presence of not one, but TWO all time Japanese psychedelic legends, Les Rallizes Denudes and Taj Mahal Travelers. In fact those of is who did manage to track down a copy, never even really listened to the first disc, since the second disc was so goddamn good. And odds are, most aQ Japanese psych obsessives stopped reading about two sentences ago and lunged for the 'add to cart' button. Cuz while this is/was quite a rarity, we just discovered a source for a bunch of copies, incredibly cheap too, and snapped 'em up, cuz we figured that there were enough folks out there like us, who would definitely be keen on more from either/both TMT and Les Rallizes. Juts in case you actually need to know what it sounds like (as if you couldn't guess), Les Rallizes offer up their usual dose of super distorted psychedelic blues, opening with a droned out guitar thing, before slipping into a surprisingly pretty and folky, and distortion free bit of strum and croon, might be a big surprise for Les Rallizes fans out there, in fact it almost sounds like a Japanese Grateful Dead, until about the last minute, when the guitars come out, offering up a surprisingly, sweetly distorted lead. The second track too, opens up with a wild squall of distorted guitar, only to slip right back into mesmerizing bit of dirgey folky drone rock, this time sounding more like the Velvets, with some seriously emotional wailed vox and more sweet psychedelic leads. And then finally, the appropriately titled "The Last One", find the band returning to much noisier distorted realms, thick wandering basslines, super distorted guitar crunch, pounding drums, an explosive intro, and while the rest of the song dials it back again, it's awesomely dirgey and droney, laced with lots of tangled guitars and swaths of distortion. Taj Mahal Travelers do what they do best, unfurling a long minimal dronescape, all sawed violin, distant chanted vocals, swirling muted melodies, wheezing harmonicas, all blurred into lush sonic swells, Kosugi's violin driving the sound here, but with all the other various instruments contributing their own more subtle elements, a hazy, drifty, tripped out bit of druggy psychedelic drift that is perfectly divine. Like we said before, worth it just for the second disc, but heck, there's a whole other disc, which we actually never dug into until NOW. Up first is Miyako Ochi, who are a sort of Group Sounds, Beatles worshiping rock band, all British style rhythm and blues, the songs could very well be covers, one sounds exactly like "Twist And Shout", then there's Minami Masato, who are a lot like Miyako Ochi, at least with their Beatles-esque opener, but after that, the sound shifts to a more contemplative folk music, again looking to the UK and the US for inspiration, subtle simple strummed acoustic guitar and woozy croon, again quite cool, but a strange mix to be paired up with Les Rallizes and TMT. But then there's Acid Seven, who we were already hoping would be a bit more bad ass based on the name alone, and while they are ANOTHER band that is doing that Group Sounds sound, they manage to inject it with some grit and swagger, shouted gang vocals, super distorted production, wild psychedelic leads, and a vocalist who has a pretty bad ass raspy bellow. The following track is a strange sort of jaunty sing along, with some rad slippery slide guitar and there's even a KAZOO SOLO! Finally, they finish things up with a bit of brooding dark folk, urgently strummed acoustic guitar, and some heartfelt almost anguished sounding vocalizing, surprisingly pretty, especially considering the wild biker rock bellowing that preceded it. All in all pretty great. Japanese psych obsessives NEED this, and heck for $12, dabblers can definitely afford to give it a chance. But don't dawdle, pretty sure we got every copy our distributor had, so not sure when/if we'll be able to get more. Packaged in a slim sleeve with brown paper wrapper, duplicating the presentation of the original lp.
TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS "Part 1" MPEG Stream:
LES RALLIZES DENUDES "Untitled" MPEG Stream:
ACID SEVEN "Part 4" MPEG Stream:
MIYAKO OCHI "Part 3" MPEG Stream:
MINAMI MASATO "Part 2"
V/A Painted Black (tUMULt) cd 11.98
The Painted Black project was begun forever ago, originally to be released on AQ staffer Jim's now defunct Petrol label, then bequeathed years later to Andee to release on his tUMULt label where the lineup and concept went through many changes (possibly because what was begun as an homage to a song Jim really liked, became a deconstruction of a song Andee really hates) and then an endless procession of waits, mastering, pressing, re-recording, battles with other labels over 'rights', as well as 4 different cover concepts that all had to be scrapped because they were seemingly too difficult for any printers to confidently take on. -sigh- So then it finally emerged... Was it worth the wait? Obviously we think so. Look at the lineup, a veritable who's who of AQ favorites: Acid Mothers Temple, Circle, Hrvatski, James Plotkin, Kit Clayton, Loren Chasse, Troum, the Tape-beatles, Mieskuoro Huutajaat, Fennesz, and Stilluppsteypa. And that's just the cream. Lots of tracks were left off, according to Andee in order to avoid the spotty/uneven flow of most compilation/tribute/cover records. He even opted to leave off the Melt Banana track, which was a tough, but important choice, since the spazzy grind of their track disrupted the droning meditative, hypnotic flow of what is now less just a compilation of random tracks, more an epic and gorgeous hour of dreamy droney creepy blackness. So what does it sound like? Well, while it does flow, and could perhaps pass itself off as a record by a single (quite eclectic) group, each track offers something unique, while still culling the sinister spirit and nihilistic 'rock' from the original (the inspiration for this comp). Finnish shouting choir Mieskuoro Huutajaat start things off with a brief, and shouted, acapaella version, in Finnish, and delivered with gusto! James Plotkin's Joy Of Disease turns it into a burbling, stuttering, electronic soundscape with hiccupping beats and backwards vocals. Somewhere between Boards Of Canada and Coil. Stilluppsteyppa took back their original track, a wash of glitchy yet melodic, musique concrete, and re-recorded/re-mixed it, removing most of the melody and adding even more space, resulting in a dark abyss of gorgeously perplexing minimalism. The Kit Clayton track is an ultra catchy, beat heavy SF glitch core workout, that obliterates the original melody but manages to keep the minor key tension and dark ambience. Ultra prolific Japanese space rockers Acid Mothers Temple turn the original into a wild pagan ritual, starting out with several minutes of Tsuyama's throaty chants, skipping nervously around that oh-so-familiar melody before the band stumbles in to join him for the remaining 10 minutes, with splattery percussion, freaked out reverb/retard guitar and squealing feedback. Hrvatski (aka Keith Whitman) claims that this Painted Black contribution is his favorite track that he's ever recorded and it's easy to see why: he actually sings, plays guitar, and weaves a thick wash of warm, langorous tones before it all crumbles beneath a speaker shredding cascade of sputtering drill and bass. Iowa's masters of plunderphonia, the Tape-Beatles use found sounds and actual(?) chunks of the original to create a tense and unnerving, noirish dreamscape, with disebodied screams, curious snippets of overheard conversations, and THAT meoldy sliced and diced, which all end up adding to the creepy vibe. German drone-sters Troum incorporate 'that' melody into a totally overpowering and molasses-thick drone, assembled from multiple tracks of guitar and accordion. The Fennesz track was previously released on an ep via Jim O'Rourke's Moikai label, and to us seems like Fennesz at his very best. Melodies and textures are spit out, stuttering and hiccupping from the cold, digital craw of the laptop, but somehow come out all warm and thick and coil around you like stuffed snakes and deliciously fragrant pipesmoke. Amazing. AQ faves Circle, do what they do best, taking the skeletal remains of the original, holding on to the barebones melody, and constructing a motorik, unwavering rhythm, that sounds like Tony Conrad and Faust's Outside The Dream Syndicate with just a little more melody and umph. And the record is finished off perfectly, spiralling slowly into 'black'ness, by AQ pal Loren Chasse (who as you probably already know is a pillar of the Jewelled Antler Collective, as well as a member of Thuja, the Blithe Suns, etc). He uses snippets of the original, slowed down hundreds and hundreds of times until it is a lugubrious almost-melody, and contact mic-ed strobe lights to create a static-y, humming, nighttime dronescape, like an otherworldy forest, complete with clattery insect buzz and moaning winds in the ancient trees. An almost perfect compilation and an amazing gathering of some of our favorite artists doing some of their best work. Essential.
JOY OF DISEASE "2" MPEG Stream:
TROUM "8" MPEG Stream:
L. CHASSE "11" MPEG Stream:
V/A PSF & Alchemy: 20th Anniversary Live (PSF) cd 21.00
Pretty much our two favorite Japanese record labels are PSF and Alchemy. Responsible for documenting so much of the Japanese psych/improv/noise underground, Osaka's venerable Alchemy Records and Tokyo's equally long-running and crucial PSF label, have at last joined forces to celebrate their 20th anniversaries together. Two concerts were held last year and this disc is the resultant commemorative souvenir. It's packed with varied and exciting performances, some of 'em one-off collaborations between veterans of each label, for instance PSF's avant-folkster Kan Mikami dueting with Alchemy boss and noise/psych guitar maestro Jojo Hiroshige, or PSF experimental improv guitarist Kazuo Imai playing alongside Alchemy noiseniks Incapacitants. You'll also find PSF mascot Keiji Haino dueling for almost 15 minutes with fellow PSF guitarist Munehiro Narita (of High Rise). There's also tracks from Marble Sheep, L & friends, Go Hirano & Takashi Ueno, Exias-J, and Masayoshi Urabe and Junko (of Hijokaidan). Lots of dark, fucked up sounds without bounds for fans of both labels...
KEIJI HAINO & MUNEHIRO NARITA "live" MPEG Stream:
L & FRIENDS "live"
V/A Shock City Shockers (Shock City/Polystar) cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. At first glance, you may mistake this CD for Beck's "Midnite Vultures". Look closely though and you'll notice that the artwork used by Beck was in fact created two years ago for this compilation on Shock City (a Polystar Japan subsidiary overseen by Boredoms mastermind Yamataka Eye)! Now this collection is finally been made available as an not-absolutely-impossible-to-find import release. Through the 23 tracks and 78 minutes of music, we're taken on a wild ride through the new Osaka underground as seen by Eye: sitars, babbling babies, snake charmers, Jews harps, no-wave electronics, hardcore, new psychedelia, and drums, lots o' drums! Standout selections include tracks by DJ Pika Pika Pika (tweaked-out, beat heavy, electronics-fuckery by Eye), Standing Earth & Touching Air (Yoshimi and Keigo "Cornelius" Oyamada making the most interesting use of Jews harp I've ever heard!), and DJ Tranquilizer (Otomo Yoshihide and Aoyama Yasutomo). Most tracks are both exclusive to this comp (save for the OOIOO and ROVO tracks) and definitely Boredoms related (many variations on the use of EYE in band names!). Great stuff! Beautifully designed, mind melting artwork (as always) by Eye, with sparkly printing, that kicks the ass of the later Beck cover...
V/A So-on Meikyu: Alchemy Mysterious Sound Collection (Alchemy) cd 21.00
And when Alchemy says it's a mysterious sound collection, it IS a mysterious sound collection! The ever-excellent Japanese noise/psych label has assembled a very interesting four-way split release here. Probably if we could read Japanese it would all be a little clearer, but from the Siamese twin motif of this cd's graphics, and the info on the artists featured, we'll conclude that this experimental, abstract sound compilation intentionally features only duos -- perhaps being duos formed soley for this comp (perhaps not...we don't know). We've never heard of any of these acts, though we have heard of several of the individuals participating in each duo. The disc starts off simply and beautifully with Mr. So-&-So's "Unknown", which features the two electric guitars of Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms, Omoide Hatoba) and Masahiko Ohno (Solmania) -- so when some more extreme sounds begin to filter in it's no surprise. Next up is A X A, the duo of Aya Ohnishi and Akifumi Nakajima (Aube). With kazoo, drums, voice, field recordings and synths they make a fascinating soundscape which we won't really try to describe since, well, it is mysterious. As are the other two contributions to this disc, from Swastika (between them, members of CCCC, Incapacitants, Tangerine Dream Syndicate, etc.) and kishidashin (dunno who these two are). All are well worth investigating, if you're into the more controlled and crafted side of "Japanese noise". Maybe that's not the term to use at all, one could just as easily call this psychedelic industrial improv or somesuch. In any event, another worthwhile Alchemy release.
A X A "Lift Lock" MPEG Stream:
V/A The Night Gallery 2: 21st Century Psychedelic Underground (Alchemy) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. And we've also got the second of Alchemy's Night Gallery underground Japanese psych comps too, from earlier this year. Six bands this time (68 minutes, 11 tracks in all). Two of 'em have names only given in Japanese that we can't translate. The four with English names provided are She Brings The Rainbow (nice Can reference there), Magura Mozart, Subari, and Coa. Some contribute just one long track each (like the aptly-titled "Psych-Out" from Magura Mozart) others a few shorter cuts. The disc starts with a few tracks from one of the Japanese-name only bands, kinda Ghost-ly, or like Nagisa Ni te, all gentle and drifting and melancholy with female vocals. Then She Brings The Rainbow makes their contributions, way more shiny and uptempo, more female vocals but poppier I guess. Good stuff. That's followed by a long piece from Subari, a band consisting of Eddie and Bill (both girls, despite their names) from Coa plus one Keizo Suhara on vocals and guitar. It's a spacey one, quite nice. Eddie and Bill just the two of them then step up with another long track, the noisy, droney, heavy, dense clangor that is Coa's "Mirror To Mirror". That's tough to follow but the band known as Magura Mozart manage to do so with an epic of their own, starting off with ritualistic piano, percussion, and bells that gives way to pulsing drumming and waves of distorted guitar, coming closest on this comp to the Les Rallizes Denudes territory that LSD-march and Up-tight explored on the first Night Gallery (and on their own albums too of course). The last band on this collection is another whose name we don't know, and stick out as being almost more 'no-wave' than psych, very quirky and poppy and ramshackle and punky. So, the six bands here are sometimes a weird mix, but the highlights are many, and both volumes of the Night Gallery prove (if you weren't already aware) that there's a lot of interesting "psych" bands doin' their thing in Japan right now besides good ol' Acid Mothers Temple! [After we first posted this review, our customer Alan Cummings was kind enough to provide us with the following additional info: "the two bands you don't have the names for on Night Gallery 2 are Eddie Marcon (the gentle and melancholy one -- again Eddie and Bill from Coa), and the no-wavey one is Oshiripenpenzu. The title of the Eddie Marcon track you have streamed is 'Ikuyonoshitaku'."]
(UNKNOWN) "(Japanese title)" MPEG Stream:
SHE BRINGS THE RAINBOW "(Japanese title)" MPEG Stream:
MAGURA MOZART "Psych-Out"