Filters

Folk / Roots

139 products

Showing 49 - 72 of 139 products
View
Frank and His Sisters - Frank & His Sisters (LP)
Frank and His Sisters - Frank & His Sisters (LP)Mississippi Records
¥2,854
Frank and His Sisters is a family band formed by Frank Humplick, Thecla Clara, and Maria Regina in the early 1950s in Moshi, a Tanzanian city located in the rolling hills of the southern foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Frank and His Sisters, a family band formed by Frank Humplick, Thecla Clara, and Maria Regina in the early 1950s, is known for their tours and recordings throughout East Africa with their fans. The album is a dreamy fusion of John Fahey's fingerstyle, The Carter Family, The Beach Boys, and Tanzanian music from the golden age. It's an idyllic sound to listen to on a sunny afternoon with the windows open!
Enji - Ursgal (LP)
Enji - Ursgal (LP)Squama Recordings
¥3,787
On her second album Ursgal Mongolian singer Enji creates a unique blend of Jazz and Folk with the traditions of Mongolian song. Currently based in Munich, her lyrics tell personal stories about unbearable distances, the oddness of being on earth and the simple truths in life. She’s accompanied by Paul Brändle on guitar and Munguntovch Tsolmonbayar on double bass. Born in Ulaanbaatar, Enji grew up in a yurt to a working-class family. Having always been drawn to music, dance and literature, she initially wanted to become a music teacher with little ambitions to compose or be on stage. A program by the local Goethe Institute sparked her passion for Jazz and eventually led her to become a performing artist. Inspired by the music of Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson, Enji started writing songs of her own, cherishing this newfound means of expression. Ursgal is the first record featuring her original compositions.
Shin Otowa - Wasuregatami (LP)
Shin Otowa - Wasuregatami (LP)Super Fuji Discs
¥4,180

Shin Otowa, is a legendary Japanese psychedelic musician who is coveted by psychedelic enthusiasts around the world.
Makoto Kubota and the Sunset Sunset Orchestra participated in the release of his acid masterpiece "Wasuretami" (self-produced in 1974) on LP for the first time in 48 years!

Self-produced album (1974) by a singer/songwriter known for having contributed lyrics to Makoto Kubota's first solo album "Machiboke" (1973).
Makoto Kubota, who made full use of his 12-string guitar and contributed so much to the overall sound that it could be said that he almost produced the album, Yoma Fujita, who created a fantastic space with his slide guitar, and Takashi Onzo, who played the bass guitar in a lighthearted and eerie manner. The members of the Yuyake Gakudan (Sunset Sunset Band), including Makoto Kubota, who contributed to the overall sound, Yoma Fujita, who creates a fantastic space with his slide guitar, and Takashi Onzo, who plays a nice and light bass, all played on this simple but richly expanded world of Otowa's songs, inviting our consciousness into a world that extends far "beyond", but gives a mysterious sense of peacefulness. In other words, it is a masterpiece of acid folk. In this era of rock, this album is a pure and miraculous album of intense rock that abandons any superficial rock sound in order to be rock. Therefore, it has been enthusiastically supported by psychedelic enthusiasts around the world and has been talked about for a long time in Japan, although only a small portion of the Japanese public has heard of it. In 1976, just after the release of this album, Otowa suddenly left for Ibiza, Spain, and is said to have returned to Japan in the mid-1980s.

Twain - Noon (2LP)
Twain - Noon (2LP)Keeled Scales
¥4,975
The long-awaited album from Twain released via Keeled Scales is his first-ever double LP titled Noon. Twain’s first album in three years, Noon looks to explore the balancing exercise between soul-fantasy and self- scrutiny. The songs on Noon try to sit in the liminal state between the spirit’s ambition for itself and the often harsh truth of the present. The hope is to erode the barrier between those two states. ‘Twain’ is Mat Davidson’s approach to reconcile those two states, and to forget that they could ever exist in opposition.
Alan Licht - Three Chords and a Sword: Solo Cover Versions 1988-2021 (CD)Alan Licht - Three Chords and a Sword: Solo Cover Versions 1988-2021 (CD)
Alan Licht - Three Chords and a Sword: Solo Cover Versions 1988-2021 (CD)Family Vineyard
¥1,827
Three Chords and a Sword is a collection of eight cover songs recorded by rock/experimental musician Alan Licht over a span of three decades. Re-imagining both Van Halen’s “Jump” and Sonic Youth’s “Tom Violence” from the perspective of American Primitive guitar soli, employing a chord organ to twist Pere Ubu’s “Heart of Darkness” and Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” into eerie, doom-laden ballads, conjuring the sound of New York’s Suicide with little more than a microphone and patch cord, each song emerges transformed. Even the rarely-heard Bob Dylan spoken word piece “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie” is markedly different from the original as heard in Licht’s voice. Licht’s interpretations echo from a childhood encounter with a Larry Rivers pop art painting drawn from a coloring book of Japanese art, which inspired the album cover. As Licht explains in the liner notes: “Seeing Rivers copy the copy, which was the outline of the original Japanese painting, and then make his own painting is probably what planted the seed of the approach to covers that I’m taking here; using the bare bones of a song but filling in the details in my own way, and then recording my own version. For this release, I took the image from the original coloring book, and asked Robert Beatty to color it in, instead of Rivers—kind of a cover version of Rivers’ cover version of Kuniyoshi, as invited by the concept of a coloring book to begin with.” Gatefold, limited CD with remastered audio and updated artwork from the original digital self-release. Album features songs by the above-mentioned artists plus Will Oldham and bonus covers by Stooges and an insert with a text-based version of Alvin Lucier's "I Am Sitting In A Room” generated by artificial intelligence.
John Ondolo - Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (LP)
John Ondolo - Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (LP)Mississippi Records
¥2,772
John Ondolo spent his life traveling between Tanzania, where he was born, and Kenya, where he recorded a string of singles for independent labels in the late 1950s and early 60s. Unlike most guitarists from the region, Ondolo used open tuning (a favorite of American blues guitarists), creating a hypnotic drone over which he laid down endless rhythmic variations on his main themes. Inspired by the exploding pop music scene in Nairobi, the newest rock and roll imports from the US, and the Abakuria tribal music of his youth, Ondolo transposed traditional instruments and rhythms to his guitar, playing it more like a traditional harp at times, and inventing a sound totally unique in the recorded history of African guitar. This album brings together John Ondolo’s rare early 78rpm recordings in the first-ever overview of this innovative but overlooked artist. The music traces Ondolo’s creative output, from the resonant acoustic guitar masterpiece Tumshukuru Mungu to the relentless guitar and flute (!) interplay of Kenya Style to his later electric guitar, bass, and drum recordings with the Jolly Trio, all tied together by Ondolo’s unique rhythmic sense and vocal style. The breadth and variety of Ondolo’s recordings may be a result of his sporadic recording history. Unlike more famous artists, Ondolo wasn’t sucked into the Nairobi nightlife scene of the early 60s, instead traveling from his farm in the foothills of Kilimanjaro on occasion to record. An outsider and devout Catholic whose music was sometimes at odds with the style of the times, he later left music entirely, shifting to film and driving a mobile cinema van for the Tanzanian government, introducing socialist and Pan-African films to the countryside. An accident in his mobile cinema led to the loss of his left arm, though he continued his travels. He died in 2008 in Dar Es Salaam, leaving behind two wives and 11 children. Over a decade in the works, Hypnotic Guitar of… includes an insert with lyrics and translations, as well as notes by Tanzanian musician and historian John Kitime. Expertly restored and mastered by Michael Keiffer and pressed on 160gm black vinyl at Smashed Plastic in Chicago. Licensed from the Ondolo family in Tanzania.
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (LP)
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (LP)Asthmatic Kitty Records
¥2,656
In "Carrie and Lowell," Sufjan Stevens is a child again or, more specifically, the child character in the family of man drama that often but not always centers on the story of love given, or love forsaken, but isn't that the same thing to the poet? That the love Stevens sings about having left or given or been born to--thank you, Carrie--is a perceptible wound not only on the singer's throat, but his sleeve: he wears love's incomprehensibility, and the deep incomprehensibility of being a son, like a backing vocal on "Carrie and Lowell," which is also filled with colors, hearts, trees, conclusions, and beginnings, all adding up to the kind of intimacy that caught my eye the morning I sat in the diner waiting for the sun to get stronger as I saw intimacy pass by while going about it's business, like something sung and felt by Sufjan Stevens on his new beautiful solitary and rich record filled with faith and disbelief and the resurrection of trust and dreams. - HILTON ALS
Kan Mikami, John Edwards, Alex Neilson - Live At Cafe Oto (LP)
Kan Mikami, John Edwards, Alex Neilson - Live At Cafe Oto (LP)OTOROKU
¥3,570
Japanese bluesman Kan Mikami is nothing less than an unalloyed force of nature. A skin-shredding blast of frozen wind from the poor, rural north of Japan that he calls home. In the late 1960s, like thousands of other Japanese young people Mikami made his way to Tokyo in search of a life different from that of his parents. Since then he has forcefully carved out a space for himself in the culture as a modernist poet, a raging folk singer, an author, a actor, an engaging TV personality, and one of Japan’s most uniquely powerful performers. For most of Mikami’s career as a singer, he has performed solo. Just him and his electric guitar against the world, creating jagged A-minor vamps to drive along the surreal wisdom of his lyrics. But he’s equally at home in more demanding improvisational contexts such as those provided here by John Edwards on bass and Alex Nielson on drums. Their dense propulsive textures seem to spur on Mikami, his voice arcing powerfully into fragmented spaces, his guitar darting, colliding, shedding jagged and angular splinters of sound. A pulsing, raging maelstrom of serrated-edged energy. Gruff, rough, honest and very, very real.
Lily - O Genki Desu Ka (2LP)Lily - O Genki Desu Ka (2LP)
Lily - O Genki Desu Ka (2LP)Japan Blues
¥2,793

Lily’s early life runs parallel to an untold story of post-war Japan, that of the marginalised hafu - children of half Japanese / half foreign parents. Likely to be a target, a vessel for the bitterness, from
the humiliation of the American Occupation, to the buried guilt
of Japan’s own atrocities, enacted on their Asian neighbours. Her troubled formative years - an absent father, and losing her mother
in her teens - possibly contributed to the development of the bluesy edge of her vocal style, or maybe it was the smoke from the jazz bar her mother ran.

As with many outsiders of the 60s and early 70s, she turned up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, a famed spot for many a writer, actor, artist
and musician. It was here her songs first aired, and she was swiftly booked to record her music.

With a groove set in stone with her Bye-Bye Session Band - later including Ryuichi Sakamoto and jazz keyboardist Hiroshi Sato - this selection covers her 70s period, with strong seams of soul, funk, touches of folk- and space-rock, and her signature (in Japan) heartbreaking ballads.

Vibrations from the other side of the globe, in the same period as classic Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Cymande, Sly & The Family Stone, and the rest, all with Lily's voice make this music utterly unique.

Compiled by Howard Williams, whose Japanese music show
Japan Blues has been a mainstay on NTS Radio since 2014. He has released several retrospectives of Japanese music for various record labels, covering traditional folk (Nippon Folk, Japan Blues for The Trilogy Tapes); kayoukyoku & Nihon Indigo (also TTT); 70s female gangster soundtracks (Killing Melody, Ethbo); 50s rockabilly (Nippon Rock’n’Roll, Big Beat); surf guitar and funk rock (Nippon Guitars, Big Beat); soul, funk and disco (Lovin’ Mighty Fire, BGP); and the jazz singer Maki Asakawa for Honest Jons, after co-compiling their Moondog retrospective, Viking of Sixth Avenue.

With liner notes written by Lily’s original producer, Yukiji Teramoto translated by Alan Cummings, and the photography of Jin Tamura.

Lily - O Genki Desu Ka (2LP)Lily - O Genki Desu Ka (2LP)
Lily - O Genki Desu Ka (2LP)Japan Blues
¥5,224

Lily’s early life runs parallel to an untold story of post-war Japan, that of the marginalised hafu - children of half Japanese / half foreign parents. Likely to be a target, a vessel for the bitterness, from
the humiliation of the American Occupation, to the buried guilt
of Japan’s own atrocities, enacted on their Asian neighbours. Her troubled formative years - an absent father, and losing her mother
in her teens - possibly contributed to the development of the bluesy edge of her vocal style, or maybe it was the smoke from the jazz bar her mother ran.

As with many outsiders of the 60s and early 70s, she turned up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, a famed spot for many a writer, actor, artist
and musician. It was here her songs first aired, and she was swiftly booked to record her music.

With a groove set in stone with her Bye-Bye Session Band - later including Ryuichi Sakamoto and jazz keyboardist Hiroshi Sato - this selection covers her 70s period, with strong seams of soul, funk, touches of folk- and space-rock, and her signature (in Japan) heartbreaking ballads.

Vibrations from the other side of the globe, in the same period as classic Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Cymande, Sly & The Family Stone, and the rest, all with Lily's voice make this music utterly unique.

Compiled by Howard Williams, whose Japanese music show
Japan Blues has been a mainstay on NTS Radio since 2014. He has released several retrospectives of Japanese music for various record labels, covering traditional folk (Nippon Folk, Japan Blues for The Trilogy Tapes); kayoukyoku & Nihon Indigo (also TTT); 70s female gangster soundtracks (Killing Melody, Ethbo); 50s rockabilly (Nippon Rock’n’Roll, Big Beat); surf guitar and funk rock (Nippon Guitars, Big Beat); soul, funk and disco (Lovin’ Mighty Fire, BGP); and the jazz singer Maki Asakawa for Honest Jons, after co-compiling their Moondog retrospective, Viking of Sixth Avenue.

With liner notes written by Lily’s original producer, Yukiji Teramoto translated by Alan Cummings, and the photography of Jin Tamura.

Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger In The Alps (LP+DL)
Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger In The Alps (LP+DL)Dead Oceans
¥3,285
Phoebe Bridgers wrote her first song at age 11, spent her adolescence at open mic nights, and busked through her teenage years at farmers markets in her native Los Angeles. By age 20, she'd caught the ear of Ryan Adams, who listened to her perform her song "Killer" in his L.A. studio, inviting her to come back and record it there the next day. The session blossomed into the three-song ‘Killer’ EP, released to much acclaim on Adams’s Pax-Am label in 2015. In the two short years since, Bridgers has toured or played with Conor Oberst, Julien Baker, City and Colour, Violent Femmes, Mitski, Television and Blake Babies among others. On September 22nd, Phoebe Bridgers will release her debut full-length, Stranger In The Alps. From the weeping strings and Twin Peaks twangs of opening track Smoke Signals, to the simple heartbreak of Funeral and melancholic crescendo of Scott Street, Stranger in the Alps is a swooningly beautiful record with a gothic heart.
Vashti Bunyan - Just Another Diamond Day (Clear Vinyl LP)
Vashti Bunyan - Just Another Diamond Day (Clear Vinyl LP)Branch Music
¥3,752

“Produced in 1970 by the legendary Joe Boyd, Just Another Diamond Day has long been considered a holy grail for Brit-folk record collectors, with original copies of the album fetching over $1,000 at auction. It shouldn't take many listens to realize why it's so highly regarded; Just Another Diamond Day is, in its own humble way, nearly a thing of perfection.” PITCHFORK 9.0

Vashti Bunyan’s legendary debut album from 1970 finally gets a UK vinyl repressing. Produced by Joe Boyd for Witchseason Productions and originally released on Philips in 1970, the album features contributions from Fairport Convention’s Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick and The Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson. The songs mostly concern the events that took place when Vashti and her lover travelled to the Hebrides in a horse and cart to join up with Donovan’s artistic community but by the tiime they got there that community had all left. This story has been brilliantly told in Kieran Evans’ rarely seen 2008 film Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before.

OKI - Tonkori In The Moonlight (1996-2006) (LP)
OKI - Tonkori In The Moonlight (1996-2006) (LP)Mais Um Discos
¥4,434
Tender tonkori melodies, meditative dub excursions and hallowed folk vocals combine on Tonkori In The Moonlight, an 11-track collection of mostly traditional songs performed by indigenous Ainu musician OKI. Born on the Japanese island of Hokkaido in 1957, OKI's released his debut album in 1996 and since then he has recorded 11 studio albums both solo and with his Dub Ainu Band and toured internationally -- from WOMAD in the UK to the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC via festival appearances in Singapore, Australia and across Europe. OKI is one of only a handful of musicians who play the tonkori, a five-stringed Ainu harp, which is both the pulse of this record and the force that unifies the disparate sounds he introduces such as reggae, dub, Irish folk, throat singing, African drumming and music from Central Asia. Tonkori In The Moonlight features Umeko Ando and Kila. For fans of: Midori Takada, Siti Muharam, Minyo Crusaders, Les Filles De Illighadad, African Head Charge, Mamman Sani. "Supercool Japanese minimalism" --The Observer. "Like nothing you've ever heard before" --The Wire. "The edgy cool of Jamaica meets the kitsch cool of Japan... charming and compelling" --The Independent.
Cheri Knight - American Rituals (LP)Cheri Knight - American Rituals (LP)
Cheri Knight - American Rituals (LP)Freedom To Spend
¥3,039
On the outskirts of late 1970s Olympia, Washington, something stirs, sings, and breathes. Cheri Knight, a music composition student at the Evergreen State College, is developing her practice in a quaint but adequately equipped campus recording studio, amalgamating with the sonic timbre of the surrounding time, space, and place, while devoting to her own inner maxims. At once performative and meditative, electronic and organic, collaborative and self-contained, Cheri’s early compositions are simultaneously complete and sketches of a ceremonial process at play. American Rituals captures the artist’s environmental emergence, unearthing a unique compositional voice and signposting a regional sonic ethos. The path to Evergreen seems gently preordained for Cheri, a whisper in the trees. Growing up in a musical household in Western Massachusetts, she learned to play piano and clarinet, demurring from notated music but composing piano pieces in the minimalist mode of Erik Satie and folk songs inspired by Joni Mitchell. In high school, her class studied John Cage’s work, an epiphanic moment for the young artist. The group also visited a studio outside Amherst where she encountered the modular limitlessness of a Moog synthesizer. Cheri studied philosophy and music at Whitman College in Washington, and then took a year to build a stone house with some friends in New Hampshire. She settled at Evergreen soon after, carrying with her a zeal for improvisation, creative investigation, and hands-on experimentation. The seven works anthologized on American Rituals are foremost an expression of Cheri’s elemental approach to creating, rather than writing, music. Polyvocal chants, spoken-word collages, primal post-punk excursions and hymn-like incantations are bound together by a performative energy; a Cage-ian commitment to the present moment which harbors a meditative interior. The first piece Cheri made at Evergreen manifested when a multi-tracked mic test spontaneously evolved into a vocal ostinato. This experience of layering her own voice allowed Cheri to see images of the sounds she was making “in real time.” In Cheri’s music, language takes on a playful, fluxist, material quality as it is patterned in space. This word play is most evident in pieces like “Prime Numbers” and “Primary Colors,” which uses speech as an elemental material forming our changeable perception of the world. Channeled through the human voice, which is instrumentalized in every piece on American Rituals, language becomes a mutable force and a virtuosic apparatus. Spoken, sung, recited, incanted, chanted, instructed, whispered. It asks us to breathe, in and out. It tells us stories, reads us instructions, reminds us of water. Through rhythmically repeated speech patterns and flowing turns of phrase, the voice conveys ritualized patterns of everyday material becoming beautiful and strange, musical and memorable, conceptual and devotional. The musical output of Evergreen entering the 1980s should not be underestimated in its contribution to the burgeoning Seattle-Olympia DIY axis, with pieces on American Rituals evidencing a contagious ethos and aesthetic. K. Leimer’s Palace of Lights label first issued Cheri’s “Primary Colors” and “Hear/Say” as part of its 1982 compilation Regional Zeal, Mouth Music From Olympia Washington, while “Prime Numbers” and “Breathe” were included on the Steve Fisk-produced compilation Dub Communiqué the same year. But beyond catalog crossover and collaborative evolution, there is a shared sonic energy coursing through American Rituals which speaks to an absorption of place, of atmosphere, of weather. During a peer pilgrimage to the 1981 New Music America Festival in San Francisco, a change in weather was forecasted when Cheri met composer and theorist Pauline Oliveros. She spent part of her final year at Evergreen independently studying at the Zen Arts Center in Mount Tremper, New York, with Pauline and her partner, the performance artist Linda Montano. Aligning with both luminaries amplified the artistic and philosophical resonance of Cheri’s work, bringing tenets of Buddhism and Living Art into both her artistic and life practice. Following these principles, Cheri’s art eventually did become absorbed into life: living on a farm with goats in rural Massachusetts, writing songs, playing in bands, and eventually drifting away from music and into other things. But as is often the case, the path taken is never forgotten, only temporarily out of mind. With the help of old friends and new, the music of American Rituals was salvaged (not without hundreds of emails and phone calls) from master tapes stored in the collections of various peers and recording engineers from the extended Evergreen set, and is re-presented / represented now with care.
Bill Fay - Still Some Light: Part 2 (2LP)
Bill Fay - Still Some Light: Part 2 (2LP)Dead Oceans
¥4,195
Bill Fay has always sung about attempting to understand the most universal questions: those of nature, spirituality, humanity. His songs are “calming hymns for another chaotic time”, he says. His influence can be traced through many artist’s work, and so it only seemed right to celebrate this with a collection of newer voices interpreting his timeless tracks. Originally released in 2010 by David Tibet (Current 93), Still Some Light was released as a double CD, made up of 70’s album demos (Disc One) and 2009 home recordings (Disc Two). This year, for the first time, this collection of recordings will be pressed to vinyl and released digitally, presented alongside contemporary reimaginings of the tracks by Kevin Morby, Steve Gunn, Julia Jacklin and Mary Lattimore. Bill Fay’s words and melodies remain unaffected by the passing of time and changing trends; and here alongside the original recordings, these reinvented versions still calmly guide us through another moment of chaos.
友川かずき - Kazuki Tomokawa 1975–1977 (3CD BOX)
友川かずき - Kazuki Tomokawa 1975–1977 (3CD BOX)Blank Forms Editions
¥4,841
Finally, His First Album: The Flower of Youth / Souls / Yumiko’s Spring / Song from the Void / Grave / Hail the Wonderful Law of the Lotus Sutra / Phone Call / An Akita Fox Song Run Amok / World School / Resistance, Age 23 / Mr. Ishimori / First Bon / A Cat Burglar in the Night / Bright Night Straight from the Throat: Grampa / Goddam Winter / American Kuyuran / Dagadzugu / A Fitting Adolescence / Footbridge / The Spring is Here Again Song / Fridge / Smithereens / Don’t Kill the Sea Lions / Harmonica / A Little Ditty / Stone A String of Paper Cranes Clenched between My Teeth: Try Saying You’re Alive! / Kill or Be Killed / Memory / Got a Problem? / Namahage / My Hometown is Also Inside a Dog / The Boys of Hachiryū / The Donpan Song Goes Off the Rails / Runaway Boy / Missed My Time to Die A poet, soothsayer, bicycle race tipster, actor, prolific drinker, self-taught guitarist, and living legend of Japanese sound, Kazuki Tomokawa catapulted into Tokyo’s avant-folk scene in the mid-1970s, forging a sound and sensibility marked by throat-wrenching vocals and searing ennui. Among his musical peers in postwar Japan, Tomokawa distinguished himself as a pioneer of radical individualism. He had “the personality of a hydrogen bomb”—as the notorious ultraleft band the Brain Police once put it—and a sound to match. Now, Blank Forms Editions gathers Tomokawa’s earliest records for the first time in a deluxe three CD box set comprised of Finally, His First Album (Harvest Records, 1975), Straight from the Throat (Harvest Records, 1976), and A String of Paper Cranes Clenched between My Teeth (Harvest Records, 1977). In each record, Tomokawa shouts, cries, wails, and croons, his folk stylings tinged with psychedelia and swelling into ground-shaking rock.. Many tracks are performed in his native Akita dialect, a highly regional vernacular of north Japan rarely heard beyond the prefecture, and even less often used in music. Matching his guttural, all-out vocals are profoundly existential meditations on everyday life and the world around him; this is, as record executive Kiichi Takara dubs it, “I-music.” It looks toward the interior, the quotidian, and the domestic with piercing and ever-honest eyes. The accompanying liner notes (here translated for the first time) include introductions by Takara, a round table discussion with Brain Police, and lyrics for all three albums—tracking the rise of Tomokawa as the “screaming philosopher” of Japan. The box set will be in conjunction with the release of each record in LP format in 2022, and the musician’s 2015 memoir, Try Saying You’re Alive! (Blank Forms Editions, 2021), the first-ever English translation of his prose; together they provide the definitive introduction to the singular world of Kazuki Tomokawa. Kazuki Tomokawa (b. 1950) is a prolific singer-songwriter from Hachiryū Village (now the town of Mitane) in the Akita Prefecture area of northern Japan. Since his first release in 1975, he has recorded more than thirty albums. The 2010 documentary about his life, La Faute des Fleurs, won the Sound & Vision award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, and that same year saw the Japanese release of the book Dreams Die Vigorously Day by Day, a collection of his lyrics spanning forty years. His most recent albums are Vengeance Bourbon (2014) and Gleaming Crayon (2016), both on the Modest Launch label.
Gustavo Yashimura - Living Legend Of The Ayacucho Guitar (CS)Gustavo Yashimura - Living Legend Of The Ayacucho Guitar (CS)
Gustavo Yashimura - Living Legend Of The Ayacucho Guitar (CS)Hive Mind Records
¥2,394
Gustavo Yashimura-Arce comes from humble origins in the Ayacucho region of the Peruvian Andes. He started playing guitar in 1987 and 2 years later he travelled to Montevideo in Uruguay to study music at La Casa de la Guitarra. After spending some years playing classical guitar in Japan, Gustavo returned to Peru in 2004 and began his intense studies of the Andean guitar styles of the Ayacucho region. Later, in 2008 he found the perfect teacher – 80 year old veteran guitarist Don Alberto Juscamaita Gastelú, known locally as Rahtako. Through Don Alberto, Gustavo was able to learn songs and styles from across the Andes, though the main focus remained on the traditional styles of the Ayacucho region. The Ayacucho Province of Peru is mountainous and remote and mainly populated by indigenous people of Quechuan descent, with the main language remaining Quechua, or Runasimi ('the People's Language'). The Quechuan people of the Andes remained resistant to Spanish colonisation and fierce in their preservation of their culture but on this album you will hear one of those strange, hybrid artefacts that can arise when cultures meet. The Spanish guitar was taken by the Quechuan people of the Ayacucho region and employed as a new means to convey their traditional music. The melodies you hear are versions of the traditional Huayno melodies usually played on harps, Andean pipes, charango and mandolin. Gustavo is joined by Luis Sulca Galindo on second guitar and Greys Berrocal Huaya on vocals on 4 tracks on the album. We've been extremely happy to work with Henkel Bellido (Sounds of the Andes) to bring this beautiful music to light.
Shin Sasakubo - Chichibu (LP)Shin Sasakubo - Chichibu (LP)
Shin Sasakubo - Chichibu (LP)Studio Mule
¥3,472
After a small nap, Tokyo’s finest Studio Mule is back on the scene, bringing the world some deeply composed guitar music from Japan, crafted by Shin Sasakubo. Since almost 20 years the guitarist is specialized in classic and contemporary Andean and Peruvian music. a knowledge that he deepened through a three-year stint in Peru between 2004 and 2007. During his time in Latin America, he played live in Argentina, Chile, or Bolivia and researched in the works of Peruvian novelist, poet, and anthropologist José María Ar-Guedas, as Shin Sasakubo’s take on art is not one-dimensional. He also loves movies, painting, photography, writing, and theater - artforms that con-stantly influence his music on many different layers. since his return to his hometown Chichibu City in the japanese Saitama Prefecture, he launched the "Chichibu Avant-Garde School”, a college that looks through art and lectures on the Chichibu region, and his en-vironmental and folkloristic history. As sincerely driven composer, he released three guitar leaning albums in the past ten years. his latest sensation “Chichibu”, originally only released in Japan, now travels the globe via Studio Mule, making his fantastique listening voyage available for all those souls that seek joy through the sound of guitar strings.
Damien Jurado - Maraqopa (LP)
Damien Jurado - Maraqopa (LP)Secretly Canadian
¥2,897
At Richard Swift's National Freedom studios, the live-to-tape ethos allowed the songs on Damien Jurado's 'Maraqopa' to expand and retract like a great beast's breath. Every in-the-moment bell and whistle here is hung with a natural, casual care. And from this, each song offers up its own unique gift: the enchanting children's choir that echoes each line of Jurado's lament for innocence lost on "Life Away from the Garden"; the breezy bossa nova that begins "This Time Next Year" and rises as effortless as a smoke cloud into high-noon showdown pop; "Reel to Reel"'s wobbly, Spector-symphony and its meta themes; the wonderful falsetto vocal work Jurado pulls from himself on "Museum of Flight." The Seattle Times recently called Jurado "Seattle's folk-boom godfather," a praising recognition to be sure. But also a title Jurado might not yet be ready to accept. That's a title for someone who has settled. With each visit to National Freedom, Jurado is exploring, taking risks. He's not only freeing his songs. The gate is opened wide to allow us all into his once-isolated musical universe. One gets the sense he's just now hitting his stride.
Shimoda Itsuro - Love Songs And Lamentations (LP)
Shimoda Itsuro - Love Songs And Lamentations (LP)Universal Music
¥4,180
The second album released in 1973, with Japanese lyrics on side A and English lyrics on side B. The ensemble with female vocals is also superb on this acid folk masterpiece.
Jesper Munk - Taped Heart Sounds (LP)Jesper Munk - Taped Heart Sounds (LP)
Jesper Munk - Taped Heart Sounds (LP)Billbrook Records
¥3,798
Since Jesper Munk's debut album in 2013 the German singer-songwriter has made a name for himself as multi-instrumentalist , playing music that ranges from Blues and Soul to heartfelt Pop and indulging Jazz, all this with a very unique, post-Punk edge. His new album Taped Heart Sounds offers an evolution of Munk's sound: warm, gentle and soft vibes that go deep. "If there is a way to give you a hug in form of an album, this is how I'd attempt to do so," says Munk. Recorded in an offbeat band room in Berlin with The Cassette Heads, the album brings together classics reaching from Blues to Rock'n Roll. Twelve songs of legendary artists who have influenced and inspired Munk since his early days, including Tom Waits, JJ Cale, Etta James, Hank Williams, Willie Dixon, Jacques Brel, and Mocky. The entire album was recorded with a Tascam Portastudio 8-Track Cassette Recorder which brought an original and authentic sound to each song: "The technical limitations immediately liberated all other aspects of the recording," Munk says. "It shows how much of making music is just listening and without a screen to catch your eye, you really have no choice but to do so." All Songs face realness and live from these volatile moments that reveal vulnerability and musical generosity. The outcome of this analogue experiment is a very personal album, both inspiring and consoling. Taped Heart Sounds courageously opens with Donnie & Joe Emerson's Baby; a song so iconic that it actually cannot be enhanced. However, Munk's interpretation stands out and has a presence that gives the song a life of its own - made for walking. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, All the World Is Green, I'd Rather Go Blind, Head in the Clouds - what follows is a journey through Blues and Soul that is so vital and "now" that End of the Line may be the final track but certainly not the end of the story. The album wouldn't be what it is without collaboration and partnership. Munk's special thanks go to his fans who helped to crowd-fund the recording. "On top of having had a real fun learning experience it all felt like a community project with real support from friends, the Cassette Heads, incredibly inspiring guests, and from Miles Deico, a wonderfully open and able engineer," so Munk about the making of the album. Taped Heart Sounds is Jesper Munk's 4th album, following acclaimed debut album For in My Way it Lies (2013), CLAIM (2016), and Favourite Stranger (2018). Released via Billbrook Records, Hamburg-based Distributor Wordandsound's new label, the album is available for pre-order now - for purchase on vinyl and CD. The first single 'Baby' is going to be released on November 19, 2021. .
Maki Asakawa (2LP)
Maki Asakawa (2LP)Honest Jon's Records
¥4,131

A stunning survey of the 1970s heyday of great Japanese singer and countercultural icon Maki Asakawa (1942-2010). Deep-indigo, dead-of-night enka, folk, and blues, inhaling Billie Holiday and Nina Simone down to the bone. A traditional waltz abuts Nico-style incantation; defamiliarized versions of Oscar Brown Jr. and Bessie Smith collide with big-band experiments alongside poet Shūji Terayama; a sitar-led psychedelic wig-out runs into a killer excursion in modal, spiritual jazz. Existentialism and noir, mystery and allure, hurt and hauteur. With excellent notes by Alan Cummings and the fabulous photographs of Hitoshi Jin Tamura. "Japan's answer to Scott Walker, with a visual aesthetic and a death-decadent appeal that is straight out of the Keiji Haino songbook." --Volcanic Tongue

Batteaux (LP)
Batteaux (LP)Be With Records
¥3,698
Like a forgotten piece of baroque folk caught in 1973, Batteaux's eponymous album somehow sounds magically timeless. A full 45 years after the fact, it remains a mystery as to why they weren't better known. The lush production and virtuoso playing conforms with the ruling aesthetic of the time - well-crafted, melodic songs performed with precision and balance - whilst the shimmering AOR atmosphere and sun-dappled vocal washes align neatly with the best Crosby, Stills & Nash records. Throughout, the beautifully penned tracks hold traces of Jimmie Spheeris, America and Seals & Crofts. The immaculately orchestrated percussion and additional instrumentation (electric piano and fiddle to name a few) are performed by perennially celebrated West-Coast cats including Tom Scott, John Guerin and Andy Newmark. It's no surprise that the heavenly "High Tide" is such a Balearic touchstone. A free soul aqua-space groover, its sophisticated rhythms predict the swing of CSN's canonical "Dark Star" by a full four years. An alternative measure of its enduring magnificence can be gauged by MF Doom sampling Paul Horn's wonderful version, subsequently used by Ghostface Killah. The highlights are many and memorable. Gorgeous opener "Tell Her She's Lovely" is the perfect example of the addictive, melody-driven songwriting which really should have earned them stardom. Moody ballad "Living's Worth Loving" is nothing short of heartbreaking whilst the chugging elegance of "Wake Me In The Morning" showcases their bewitching harmonies. The hypnotic yearning of "Lady Of The Lake" is an exquisitely string-drenched, piano-laced favourite that achieves a peculiar strutting-funk. It's that good. This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto buried genius of Batteaux. The serene aqua artwork which adorned the original jacket - their father worked on a dolphin-human communication project in Hawaii, hence the infamous design - and sumptuous inner sleeve have been faithfully restored. Whilst, with access to the original tapes, Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.
Reiko Kudo and Tori Kudo - Tangerine (LP)Reiko Kudo and Tori Kudo - Tangerine (LP)
Reiko Kudo and Tori Kudo - Tangerine (LP)A Colourful Storm
¥3,417
A Colourful Storm presents Tangerine, a collection of songs by Reiko and Tori Kudo. Recorded at Village Hototoguiss, Japan, during autumn, winter and spring 2011 and 2012, the makeup of Tangerine is the culmination of over thirty years of experimentation, improvisation and intimacy between Reiko Kudo and Tori Kudo. Beginning their collaborative musical activities in the late 1970s and documenting their movements as Noise, it would be an earlier Les Rallizes Dénudés gig that would prove influential in shaping the duo’s lifelong impulse for collaboration and free play - it was, after all, where they first met. Over the course of a decade, they became associated with Hideo Ikeezumi’s seminal PSF (Psychedelic Speed Freaks) scene, Tori playing with the likes of Ché-SHIZU and Fushitsusha and self-releasing cassettes before forming the first incarnation of Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Tori’s storied musical ensemble of an ever-rotating cast of contributors, would perhaps find difficulty with Tori if called his own. First surfacing in 1985 on a Shinichi Satoh-released cassette compilation, the group would spend the next thirty years playing live and recording, their sound finding solace with labels as far-reaching as Geographic and K. Tori would welcome local amateur and professional musicians, neighbourhood children, friends and passersby on stage, while in the studio, the likes of Ikuro Takahashi (LSD March) and Takashi Ueno (Tenniscoats) have joined him and Reiko on seminal sides such as Return Visit To Rock Mass and Blues Du Jour. A deeply human, deeply romantic recording, Tangerine shines as a touchstone of contemporary Japanese folk minimalism and is significantly the last recorded appearance of Reiko and Tori Kudo as a duo. Reiko's voice, plaintive yet playful, quietly commands centre stage and resonates perfectly with Tori's crystalline instrumentation: bass guitar, euphonium, violin and piano evoking echoes of Enka blues. Glacial soliloquies ’The Deep Valley of Shadow’ and ‘When Seeing the Setting Sun Alone’ bare isolation and restlessness before evolving into profoundly welcoming works. A dedication to playwright and former collaborator Jacob Wren, ‘The Swallow II’ struts confidently while ‘Homeless’, delicately adorned and desirous, addresses themes of universal vulnerability: “Will you give me bread when I’m hungry? / Please stay by me like my mother”. A beautiful accompaniment to the intoxicating swirl of ’We May Be’, recorded live by John Chantler at a Cafe Oto concert in 2009. Originally released on CD by Hyotan in 2013, Tangerine is presented for the first time on vinyl by A Colourful Storm with an exclusive alternate digital version of ‘Homeless’. It stands as the final documented interplay of this enchanting, invigorating duo.

Recently viewed