TIP OF THE TONGUE 24 APRIL 2011
Ongaku 70: Vintage Psychedelia In Japan
Hiruko Records No Cat
OUT OF STOCK!
Ongaku 70 functions as the perfect document of the evolution of Japan’s indigenous psych sound 1969-1978, tracing its evolution through rock musicals, dark avant singer-songwriters, prog rock, experimental drone and radical guitar reinvention. The earliest track here comes from The Apryl Fool, a pre-Happy End project led by Hiroyoshi Yanagida, and the latest comes from JA Caesar & Shirubu, a stunning extract from Tenjo Sajiki’s Shin Toku Maru. Along the way the choices are pretty fantastic, combining better known tracks – an edited take on Les Rallizes Denudes’ blazing “Strung Out Deeper Than The Night” from their legendary ‘official’ album Live ’77, Karuna Khyal’s Kraut-inspired freakout “Alomoni 1985” – with a ton of unknown tongue that thrills and surprises. Amazing to sample a track from Osamu Kitajima’s legendary 1974 acid/folk LP Benzaiten, one that looks forward to the whole Org sound via Yamashirubi/Magical Power Mako. Kitajima went on to make a considerable splash as an ambient composer but his early work has a satisfyingly cracked/crude edge. Also key here is the appearance of avant torch singer and decadent chanson Maki Asakawa, Japan’s answer to Scott Walker, with a visual aesthetic and a death-decadent appeal that is straight out of the Keiji Haino songbook. Throw in a bunch of other cool unearthings – something from the Sadistic Mika Band, tracks from Stomu Yamash’ta’s Red Buddha Theatre, Akiko Yano, Harry Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band, Rabi Nakayama, Kun Kawachi & His Group and Toshiaki Tsushima – and you have the perfect snapshot of the kind of mutant sounds that combined to give birth to the contemporary Japanese underground. Would’ve been informative to have something by The Jacks on here too but with a collection of this kind of historical weight I ain’t complaining. Cool jacket with full-colour sleeve repros too. Japan import, limited edition, highly recommended!