Alright, killer new arrivals this week! And it’s, sort of, starting to warm up a little bit. Anyway, it’s a long weekend, so come down for dig and get some new wax. The Kankyo Ongaku box is perfect music for watching the snow fall.
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…..picks of the week…..
Various: Kankyo Ongaku (Light in the Attic) LP
Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series continues with Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990, an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres. In the 1970s, the concepts of Brian Eno’s “ambient” and Erik Satie’s “furniture music” began to take hold in the minds of artists and musicians around Tokyo. Emerging fields like soundscape design and architectural acoustics opened up new ways in which sound and music could be consumed. For artists like Yoshimura, Ojima and Ashikawa, these ideas became the foundation for their musical works, which were heard not only on records and in live performances, but also within public and private spaces where they intermingled with the sounds and environments of everyday life. The bubble economy of 1980s Japan also had a hand in the advancement of kankyō ongaku. In an attempt to cultivate an image of sophisticated lifestyle, corporations with expendable income bankrolled various art and music initiatives, which opened up new and unorthodox ways in which artists could integrate their avant-garde musical forms into everyday life: in-store music for Muji, promo LP for a Sanyo AC unit, a Seiko watch advert, among others that can be heard in this collection. Kankyō Ongaku is expertly compiled by Spencer Doran (Visible Cloaks) who, with a series of revelatory mixtapes as well as his label Empire of Signs (Music For Nine Postcards), has been instrumental in shepherding interest in this music outside of Japan. Together with Light In The Attic’s celebrated anthologies I Am The Center and The Microcosm, Kankyō Ongaku helps to broaden our understanding of this quietly profound music, regardless of the environment in which it’s heard.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, New Age
Pye Corner Audio: Hollow Earth (Ghost Box) LP
Hollow Earth is the new album from Pye Corner Audio aka Martin Jenkins, his third for Ghost Box. It’s conceived as a sequel to 2016’s Stasis. Where Stasis played with notions of outward cosmic exploration and the idea of suspended animation and sleep, Hollow Earth takes subterranean exploration and submerged psychologies as its theme. It draws on Berlin school synth improvisations, New Age reveries and the ghosts of 90s house euphoria to summon up images of vast, awe inspiring spaces and claustrophobic chambers. It sustains an atmosphere of wonder and adventure throughout, and like its companion piece, Stasis, it works equally as a soundtrack to physical as well as mental exploration. Pye Corner Audio specialise in majestic, cinematic electronica that evokes sci-fi soundtracks, dystopian futures and the sound of haunted dance floors. The discography to date includes eight full length albums and many more singles and EPs across several labels. There are also remixes for John Foxx, Mogwai, Mark Lanegan, Stealing Sheep, Knightstown, Not Waving and most recently Dolphin Midwives. Pye Corner’s Martin Jenkins (aka The Head Technician) is a veteran live performer, and has played shows and festivals all over Europe, Canada and the USA. Most notably he has supported Mogwai on several tour dates, played the Mutek festival in Montreal, the Mugako Festival in Spain and Barcelona’s Primavera Club. Pye Corner Audio pieces appear in the soundtrack to Adam Curtis’s 2016 film HyperNormalisation and the 2018 Shudder TV series, Deadwax. More TV soundtrack appearances are due to appear in 2019.
File Under: Electronic, Synth, Berlin School, Ambient
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Glass (Noton) LP
GLASS is a recording of an inspired live improvisation by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto at the architect Philip Johnson’s hallowed Glass House, in the bucolic setting of New Canaan, Connecticut. The structure’s transparency and seamless continuity with nature was given another dimension by the addition of this performance, whereby the building, location and audio coalesced into one perfect, harmonious whole. Stylish, stunning and elegantly minimal, the duo’s architectural sound design evokes and synergizes with the space creatively, acoustically and literally – by using the building’s fabric as an instrument. This is the sound of glass and of glistening condensation. Pristinely fresh audio stratus float amorphously by, unfurling from a meditative calm into an evocation of sparkling wonder, like a baby observing raindrops on a nocturnal window for the first time. Although the work is largely tonal, textural and spatial, fleeting moments of melody appear towards the end, which despite their scarceness, achieve a profoundly moving effect. Built between 1949 and 1995 by feted architect Philip Johnson and exemplifying modern architecture and the International Style, The Glass House hosted this site-specific event. It was commissioned by Curator and Collections Manager Irene Shum, who recalls the experience: “The emotional drama of the forty-five minute performance was echoed in the natural environment. A sudden rain storm forced the evening’s guests into The Glass House at the start. During the performance, the storm cleared into a dramatic red and pink sunset and concluded in nightfall.” This intimate evening brought Ryuichi and Carsten back together for their first live collaboration since Sakamoto’s cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2014. Prior to that, Nicolai and Sakamoto had worked together on and off since 2002, releasing 6 albums as a duo.
File Under: Ambient, Minimalism
Donald Austin: Crazy Legs (Tidal Wave) LP
There are musicians who have done little in their career, but the little they have done has left their mark. One of these examples is Donald Austin’s ‘Crazy Legs’ album. Originally from Memphis, there is little known about Donald Austin.. he worked as an arranger and sessionist for Junie Morrison of the Ohio Players & for Fuzzy Haskins of Funkadelic….and then there are the rumours: ‘he played on some of the very last ‘ Motown Detroit sessions’, ‘he wrote the song Angel for Aretha Franklin at age 14’… All we know and all we have are these thirteen FUNK tracks represented here on the ‘Crazy Legs’ album. The album was produced by Funk veteran ‘Bernie Mendelson’ (Funkadelic, Ceasar Frazier, Melvin Sparks) and mastering duties were handled by ‘Howard Craft’ who worked with legends such as ‘Al Green’, ‘Syl Johnson’, ‘Isaac Hayes’ and many other top artists. Also worth mentioning is the fantastic cover art designed by Neil Terk (known for his work with Cymande, Muddy Waters, Dire Straits, Funkadelic, Grace Jones etc). It’s no surprise that the album-art was featured in Joaquim Paulo’s book ‘Funk & Soul Covers’. ‘Crazy Legs’ is a collection of psychedelic funk instrumentals every bit as physical and wild as its title portends. The muscular grooves that galvanize all 13 of the album’s brief but memorable tracks are relatively unique within the Westbound catalog, they are relentless and the playing is top-notch. Also included on this amazing record are two Funkadelic covers, perfectly performed in Donald Austin’s unique style. Donald Austin’s first (and only) album was originally released in 1973 on Eastbound Records, super rare and fetching large sums on the collectors market, now finally back available as a limited (500 copies) deluxe vinyl edition.
File Under: Funk
Cosmic Eye: Dream Sequence (Roundtable) LP
Recorded in 1972 at the legendary Lansdowne Studios in London, Cosmic Eye is an extraordinary piece of recorded music. Led by Indian born guitarist Amancio D’Silva, Cosmic Eye was a highly innovative studio experiment in which ‘Jazz Meets World’. A meld of British modernist jazz and traditional Indian instrumentation cross-pollinating in the aftermath of swinging London, yielding a hypnotic, psychedelic jazz excursion. Constructed with two conceptual pieces (Dream Sequences), Cosmic Eye is two side-long jazz ragas showcasing D’Silva’s soulful virtuosic guitar playing reminiscent of his 1960s recordings, Hum Dono and Integration, as well as his earlier session work for the Bollywood film industry under the musical directors Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Following in the footsteps of other pioneering Lansdowne jazz recordings such as the Joe Harriott & John Mayer Indo Jazz albums as well as sessions from Neil Ardley and the Don Rendell-Ian Carr Quintet, Cosmic Eye is a singular recording from a fervently rich period of British modern jazz which features a host of renowned UK and Indian musicians. Finally this phenomenal jazz recording sees a legitimate reissue.
File Under: Jazz, Psych
Czarface & Ghostface: Czarface Meets Ghostface (Silver Age) LP
“Fresh off 2018’s collaborative LP with the enigmatic MF Doom, Czarface Meets Metal Face,” the adventure continues as Czarface now faces off with Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah. Czarface Meets Ghostface brings strictly mind melting beats and bars as three emcees clash like villains & heroes in the Savage Land. Czarface, a hip-hop & comics force comprised of Wu-Tang Clan General Inspectah Deck, Esoteric (who recently penned an X-Men comic for Marvel) and super producer 7L team up with Ghostface aka Iron-Man aka Tony Starks for murderous mayhem! Czar commando’s Rebel INS & Esoteric trade lines such as ‘follow in my footsteps might tear your Achilles,’ & ‘flow customized got that Dapper Dan touch’ with Ghost on the assist ‘chain is off the cooler, charm look like a shrunken head’. With track titles like ‘The King Heard Voices’, ‘Mongolian Beef’, ‘Czarrcade ’87’, ‘Masked Superstars’ & ‘Powers and Stuff’ expect nothing short of a super charged collaboration! 12 brand new tracks produced entirely by The Czar-Keys (7L & Jeremy Page)”
File Under: Hip Hop
Goblin: Profondo Rosso (Death Waltz) LP
Next to Suspiria, Profondo Rosso has to be the jewel in the Goblin crown. Recorded in 1975, the score finds the band at the height of their creativity and features the incredible lineup of Simonetti, Morante, Pignatelli & Martino. Bass & drums are so tight on this record and provide the foundations for the entire score. Jazz, Prog and Rock signatures all fight for center stage yet always manage to be precise, clear and perfectly executed. Synths and organs tinkle, wail and moan and more than provide the requisite chills and atmospherics. In addition, the album’s prog wig-outs are legendary. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this score, it really set the stage for prog-infused synth scores and has influenced a generation. We are super proud to not only be re-issuing the full original soundtrack as it originally appeared in 1975 (and pressed by the same original pressing plant!), but we also have an entire disc of alternate tracks and takes on vinyl for the first time ever, pulled from the Cinevox archives and compiled by Fabio Capuzzo! Once again the whole package is rounded out by absolutely jaw dropping artwork from Randy Ortiz.
File Under: OST, Horror, Prog
Khana Bierbood: Strangers from the Far East (Guruguru Brain) LP
Khana Bierbood (translated as Strange Brew in Thai), formed in 2012, in Bangsaen Beach in Thailand. After hours of jamming together they started create their unique sound influenced by 60’s surf music, 70’s garage rock with Thai traditional music. Current line up is: GOB Yutthana Vox,Guitar, JAY Rathchanon-Bass, Backing vocal, OHMChanutpong – Drums, Peep Sirimit -Percussions, Keys, and MO kittinan Guitar. ‘Strangers From The Far East’ is their first full length LP. Produced by Go Kurosawa (Kikagaku Moyo) in Tsubame studio in Tokyo. Starting track Rustic Song, from the jet sound at beginning, you will realize that you arrived in Thailand. Followed by Track 2 Starshine, you can find surf vibe but it’s different than the West coast surf music. The topnotch is the B1 track Badtrip where you can hear lo-fi garage with heavy doomy fuzz jam part. For fans of Oh Sees, La Luz, or Thai’s molam music.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz, Garage
Malibu Ken: s/t (Rhymesayers) LP
Aesop Rock has been credited as one of the most verbose MC’s in hip-hop today. Known for his dense and abstract wordplay, he manipulates language to illustrate elaborate stories and difficult concepts with sharp clarity. Tobacco is a member of psych-electronic band Black Moth Super Rainbow. Known for working with pre-digital electronic instruments like analog synths and tape machines, he crafts distorted, experimentalist beats that intertwine feelings of tension and anxiety with sensations of bemusement and pleasure. Together, Aesop Rock and Tobacco are… Malibu Ken. Die cut gatefold jacket with colored vinyl, 2-panel wearable perforated pop out mask with elastic string, 4-panel full color insert with full album lyrics and download card.
File Under: Hip Hop
Bill Mason: Getting’ Off (Tidal Wave) LP
Originally hailing from Columbus, Ohio, where he was born in July 1948, Bill Mason, the son of a Baptist minister, had first learnt music in church. Starting out on piano he switched to organ in his late teens. Mason had come to Bob Porter’s attention when as part of the Bryant group he recorded at Prestige on two sessions in 1971. Bill Mason proves himself a formidable leader with his solo album, the aptly titled jazz-funk outing “Gettin’ Off”. The album’s physicality is astounding; Mason is an extraordinary soulful Hammond organist, conjuring spiraling, spellbinding grooves that seem to grow deeper and more relentless with each successive track. He also proves his talent as a composer with originals like “Mister Jay” and the scorching title cut standing tall alongside covers highlighted by Al Green’s immortal “Let’s Stay Together”. Gettin’ Off features Idris Muhammad on drums, which means a frenzy of funky JB-influenced over-the-top soul-jazz drumming. Featured on bass is the legendary Gordon Edwards (known for his work with James Brown, Weldon Irvine, Funk Inc., Aretha Franklin, etc.) and saxophone duties are handled by Hubert Laws (Quincy Jones, Gil Scott Heron, Moondog). All of the above is carefully overseen by engineer Rudy Van Gelder & producer Bob Porter (known for their work with Herbie Hancock, Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis…and many others). Bill Mason’s first (and only) album was originally released in 1972 on Eastbound Records, super rare and fetching large sums on the collectors market, now finally back available as a limited deluxe vinyl edition (500 copies). This album also comes with the original 1972 art by Prestige Records photographer Al Johnson.
File Under: Funk
Mono: Nowhere Now Here (Temporary Residence) LP
The conflict and correlation between dark and light is a universal theme with a historically rich history. Musically, perhaps no band in the 21st Century has mined that relationship more consistently or effectively than Japan’s Mono. Across 10 albums in 20 years, Mono have convincingly reflected the quietest and most chaotic parts of life through their music. Their ever-expanding instrumental palette – which began in earnest in 1999 with the traditional guitar-bass-drums rock band setup – has evolved to include as many as 30 orchestral instruments. Now, on Nowhere Now Here, the band add electronics to their repertoire – partially inspired by guitarist/composer Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto’s recent collaboration with John McEntire, the beguiling Behind the Shadow Drops. Nowhere Now Here also sees Mono’s first-ever lineup change, adding new drummer Dahm Majuri Cipolla (The Phantom Family Halo) to the core trio of Goto, Tamaki, and Yoda. Tamaki also makes her vocal debut here, singing into the shadows of vintage Nico on the poetically hazy “Breathe.” The unlikely career of Mono has taken them to virtually every corner of the planet, several times over. Those corners have all left indelible marks on their music, as it drills deeper towards the sound of feeling not quite human and all too human – often at the same time.
File Under: Post Rock
OST: Beetlejuice (Waxworks) LP
Waxwork Records is proud to present the 30th Anniversary release of Beetlejuice Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Danny Elfman. Released in 1988, Beetlejuice is a horror comedy directed by Tim Burton starring Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, and Alec Baldwin. The plot revolves around a recently deceased young couple who become ghosts haunting their former home. Upon meeting a mischievous ghost named Beetlejuice that claims he can rid the couple of their home’s new inhabitants, a series of hysterical and spooky events occur that take the audience through afterlife limbos, orchestrated dances, and the meeting of lovable ghouls. The film has gone on to become a comedy classic.The soundtrack by composer Danny Elfman and featuring two tracks by Harry Belafonte is instantly recognizable. Waxwork Records is excited to present the complete soundtrack, remastered, and pressed to 180 gram colored vinyl with deluxe packaging for the 30th Anniversary of the film.
File Under: OST
OST: Big Trouble in Little China (Mondo) LP
Mondo are proud to present the original score to John Carpenter’s cult classic Big Trouble in Little China. Featuring the complete score by John Carpenter in association with Alan Howarth – available in its entirety on vinyl for the first time, and featuring artwork by Phantom City Creative. The score to Big Trouble in Little China, composed by Carpenter in association with Alan Howarth, is an outlier in Carpenter’s filmography. It’s a heavy pulsing synth score that is simultaneously upbeat and haunting. A true genre mashup, both the film and the score are difficult to pin down, which makes their singularity all the more apparent.
File Under: OST
OST: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Death Waltz) LP
Death Waltz Recording Co. is delighted to revisit not only one of our favorite Halloween sequels, but one of our favorite sequels period. It’s been a long, hard road for Halloween III: The Season of the Witch to be accepted within the Halloween franchise, but it is now widely considered to be one of the best horror movies of the ‘80s. The packaging for this release is also completely singular and jaw-dropping; designed by Alan Hynes (the wizard behind our Fight Club and Anomalisa releases) it’s unlike all of our other re-issues in this series. It’s still designed to fit in the collectors box and really helps solidify what an outlier Halloween III is in the overall series. The film is unique not only due to it lacking Michael Myers (save for a brief appearance on a TV screen) but also for its score. John Carpenter and Alan Howarth completely jettisoned their previous work and deliver nothing short of an electronic masterpiece. The lead track ‘Chariots Of Pumpkins’ is an epic 4/4 beat-driven synth-banger that has regularly been played by DJs over the last 10 years. The rest of the score features lush pads, Linn drums aplenty and veers from beautiful blissed-out ambient drones to sinister stinger-driven mood pieces. Absolutely outstanding stuff.
File Under: OST, Horror
OST: Jodorowsky’s Dune (Cinewax) LP
Available again! This is the soundtrack to the story about the greatest film that never was. Jodorowsky’s Dune tells the tale of cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unsuccessful attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, Dune, to the big screen. Composer Kurt Stenzel gives life to a retro-futuristic universe as fantastic as Jodorowsky’s own vision for his Dune–a film whose A-list cast would have included Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, and Mick Jagger in starring roles and music by psychedelic prog-rockers Pink Floyd. Building upon director Frank Pavich’s idea for a score with a “Tangerine Dream-type feel,” Stenzel lays out a cosmic arsenal of analog synthesizers that would make any collector green at the gills: among other gems are a rare Moog Source, CZ-101s, and a Roland Juno 6, as well as unorthodox instruments like a toy Concertmate organ and a Nintendo DS. “I also played guitar and did vocals,” says Stenzel, “some chanting… and some screaming, which comes naturally to me.” The score also features narration by Jodorowsky himself. As Stenzel notes, “Jodo’s voice is actually the soundtrack’s main musical instrument–listening to him was almost like hypnosis, like going to the guru every night.” This highly-anticipated soundtrack LP was sequenced and mixed by Stenzel with the listener in mind and flows through a “four-sides” LP approach. “I wanted it to play like the records I grew up with, where every side was a journey.”
File Under: OST, Synth, Ambient
OST: Last of Us (Mondo) LP
Mondo is proud to present Volume One of the long awaited reissue of the original soundtrack Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece The Last of Us. Included on over 240 Game Of The Year lists, Naughty Dog’s survival horror masterpiece features a soundtrack that rivals some of greatest film scores of the last ten years. Fact Magazine has listed the soundtrack as the #3 Best Video Game soundtrack of all time.
File Under: OST, Video Games
Sensation’s Fix: Portable Madness (Vinyl Magic) LP
Listening today to the music produced by Sensations’ Fix, a project founded and directed by Franco Falsini in ‘70s, can’t just leave anyone indifferent. Already in the mid-‘60s, Falsini was full-time involved in musical activities: a tireless traveler and experimenter, an artist with uncommon curiosity and intuition, after having lived for some time in the United States and England, he finally established again in Italy where he gave shape to Sensations’ Fix and signed a contract with Polydor for the release of six records in five years. Often associated with the sound of Tangerine Dream and the so-called German ‘cosmic couriers’, Sensations’ Fix were much more than mere clones of something already existing. “Portable Madness” is – along with an eponymous LP and “Fragments of Light” – one of the three titles published in 1974 alone, and can be considered the first true result of a group work. A fully instrumental record, conceived as the sum of two long suites (one on each side), dominated by keyboards and synthesizers, and also characterized by an energetic and pulsating rhythm section. If it were released today, with an adequate production, an album like this would stand among the leading ones inside the psychedelic scene, and probably more. Back in 1974, in addition to not receiving adequate support from the record label, it wasn’t welcomed for what it actually was: avant-garde and ahead of its time. compared to the context in which it was created. Sensations’ Fix albums are generally difficult to find; almost none of them has been reprinted in over forty years, but thanks to this series of reissues on the VM label it is now possible to rediscover them all.
File Under: Prog
Sundays & Cybele: Gypsy House (Guruguru Brain) LP
Sundays & Cybele (Cybele no Nichiyobi) , four piece psychedelic band formed in Hokkaido, Japan in 2004. Their name is taken from the notorious French movie. Tsubouchi is the main guy who writes all the music derived from 60’s/70’s Japanese psych rock. Listen to this music and feel the beauty of Sundays & Cybele!!
File Under: Electronic, Techno, Ambient
William Tyler: Goes West (Merge) LP
“William Tyler’s new record, Goes West, is the best music that he’s ever made. I’m sure of this because I know and love all of his music intimately, and this album moves me the most, and the most consistently. The first time I heard it was in the late spring in the Texas Hill Country, rolling between limestone and scrub. I was on a cleanse then – no alcohol, no drugs, no evil thoughts – and was astonished at the emotional clarity that the album held. It offered up a model for what I wanted my head to feel like. Goes West marks a sort of narrowing of focus for William’s music; it sounds as though he found a way to point himself directly towards the rich and bittersweet emotional center of his music without being distracted by side trips. Perhaps this is down to the fact that William only plays acoustic guitar on the album, a clear and conscious decision considering that he is one of Nashville’s great electric guitarists. The band – including guitarists Meg Duffy and Bill Frisell, bassist/producer Brad Cook, keyboardist James Wallace, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, and engineer Tucker Martine – is the best and most sympathetic group of players that William could have assembled to play these songs.” – M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger
File Under: Folk
Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmuch: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil (Sacred Bones) LP
Experimental lute player Jozef Van Wissem and acclaimed film director and musician Jim Jarmusch have a working relationship that dates back to 2006, when they ran into each other on the street in New York City and quickly struck up a friendship. Van Wissem contributed to the soundtrack for Jarmusch’s 2013 movie Only Lovers Left Alive, and the two have collaborated on three previous studio albums – Apokatastasis, Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity, and The Mystery of Heaven. An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil is their second release as a duo for Sacred Bones Records, following The Mystery of Heaven, and its narrative picks up where that album left off. Like The Mystery of Heaven, An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil delves into the theology of William Blake and Emanuel Swedenborg, this time also exploring the work of Russian occultist and philosopher Helena Blavatsky. The album is mostly instrumental, so the dialogue between the esoteric thinkers who inspired it and Van Wissem and Jarmusch is expressed in the song titles – fittingly arcane phrases like “Concerning the White Horse,” “The Two Paths,” “When the Sun Rises Do You Not See A Round Disc of Fire.” Musically, the album finds much of its power in minimalism. Van Wissem’s unadorned lute traces the outlines of subdued electronics and ominous guitar drones laid down by Jarmusch. It’s a subtle album, and repeat listens reveal vast depths in its dark corners. Above all, it’s an album that sees two formidable collaborators complement each other brilliantly.
File Under: Indie Rock
Various: Even A Tree Can Shed Tears (Light in the Attic) LP
Available again! There was something in the air in the urban corners of late ‘60s Japan. Student protests and a rising youth culture gave way to the angura (short for “underground) movement that thrived on subverting traditions of the post-war years. Rejection of the Beatlemania-inspired Group Sounds and the squeaky clean College Folk movements led the rise of what came to be known in Japan as “New Music,” where authenticity mattered more than replicating the sounds of their idols. Some of the most influential figures in Japanese pop music emerged from this vital period, yet very little of their work has ever been released or heard outside of Japan, until now. Light In The Attic is thrilled to present Even a Tree Can Shed Tears, the inaugural release in the label’s Japan Archival Series. This is the first-ever, fully licensed collection of essential Japanese folk and rock songs from the peak years of the angura movement to reach Western audiences. In mid-to-late 1960s Tokyo, young musicians and college students were drawn to Shibuya’s Dogenzaka district for the jazz and rock kissas, or cafes, that dotted its winding hilly streets. Some of these spaces doubled as performance venues, providing a stage for local regulars like Hachimitsu Pie with their The Band-like ragged Americana, Tetsuo Saito with his spacey philosophical folk, and the influential Happy End, who successfully married the unique cadences of the Japanese language to the rhythms of the American West Coast. For many years Dogenzaka remained a center of the city’s “New Music” scene. Meanwhile a different kind of music subculture was beginning to emerge in the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Far more political than their eastern counterparts, many of the Kansai-based “underground” artists began in the realm of protest folk music. They include Takashi Nishioka and his progressive folk collective Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen, the “Japanese Joni Mitchell” Sachiko Kanenobu, and The Dylan II, whose members ran The Dylan cafe in Osaka, which became a hub for the scene. Even a Tree Can Shed Tears also includes the bluesy avant-garde stylings of Maki Asakawa, future Sadistic Mika Band founder Kazuhiko Kato with his fuzzy, progressive psychedelia, the beatnik acid folk of Masato Minami, and the intimate living room folk of Kenji Endo. Nearly 50 years on, this “New Music” is born anew.
File Under: Folk, Rock, Japanese
Beak: >> (Temporary Residence) LP
Black Angels: Passover (Light in the Attic) LP
Lucy Dacus: Historian (Matador) LP
Betty Davis: s/t (Light in the Attic) LP
Betty Davis: Nasty Gal (Light in the Attic) LP
Betty Davis: Columbia Years (Light in the Attic) LP
Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different (Light in the Attic) LP
Brian Eno: Another Green World (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Ambient 4: On Land (Astralwerks) LP
Bill Fay: s/t (4 Men With Beards) LP
Serge Gainsbourg: Historie du Melody Nelson (Light in the Attic) LP
Goat: Commune (Sub Pop) LP
Goblin: Susperia (AMS) LP
Lee Hazlewood: Cowboy in Sweden (Light in the Attic) LP
Idles: Joy as an Act of Resistance (Partisan) LP
Iron Maiden: Powerslave (EMI) LP
Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time (EMI) LP
Kikagaku Moyo: Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain) LP
Led Zeppelin: IV (Swan Song) LP
Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (Music on Vinyl) LP
Mitski: Be the Cowboy (Dead Oceans) LP
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (Rhino) LP
OST: Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (Mondo) LP
OST: Castlevania: Symphony of Night (Mondo) LP
OST: Halloween (Death Waltz) LP
OST: Halloween 2 (Death Waltz) LP
OST: Halloween 4 (Death Waltz) LP
OST: Halloween 5 (Death Waltz) LP
Pearls Before Swine: Balaklava (Drag City) LP
Pixies: Doolittle (4AD) LP
Porcupine Tree: Lightbulb Sun (Kscope) LP
Siouxsie & The Banshees: Kaleidoscope (Universal) LP
Songs: Ohia: Ghost Tropic (Secretly Canadian) LP
Stereolab: Switched On Vol 1 (Duophonic) LP
Stereolab: Refried Ectoplasm Vol 2 (Duophonic) LP
Stereolab: Aluminum Tunes Vol 3 (Duophonic) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Tangerine Dream: Zeit (Varese Sarabande) LP
This Heat: Deceit (Modern Classics) LP
This Heat: s/t (Modern Classics) LP
Twilight Sad: It Won’t Be Like (Rock Action) LP
Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar) LP
Tom Waits: Mule Variations (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Closing Time (Anti) LP
Yellow Magic Orchestra: YMO & YMO USA (Music on Vinyl) LP
Yesterday’s New Quintet: Angles Without Edges (Stones Throw) LP
Various: Spider Jazz (Trunk) LP