Somewhere Between: Mutant Pop, Electronic Minimalism & Shadow Sounds of Japan 1980–1988 hovers vibe–wise between two distinct poles within Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Japan Archival Series—Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980–1990 and Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976–1986. All three albums showcase recordings produced during Japan’s soaring bubble economy of the 1980s, an era in which aesthetic visions and consumerism merged. Music echoed the nation’s prosperity and with financial abundance came the luxury to dream. Sonically, Somewhere Between mines the midpoint between Kankyō Ongaku’s sparkling atmospherics and Pacific Breeze’s metropolitan boogie. The compilation encompasses ambient pop, underground electronics, liminal minimalism and shadow sounds—all descriptors emphasizing the hazy nature of the nebula. Out–of–focus rhythms wear ethereal accoutrements, ballads are shrouded in static, and angular drums snake skyward on transcendent tones. From the Avant–minimalism of Mkwaju Ensemble and Yoshio Ojima, to the leftfield techno-pop of Mishio Ogawa and Noriko Miyamoto (featuring members of YMO), and highlights from the groundbreaking Osaka underground label Vanity Records, these are blurry constellations defying collective categorization. These tracks also exist in a space of transition when the major label grip on the Japanese recording market began to give way to the escalation of independents. Thanks to the idyllic economic climate and innovations in domestically–manufactured music gear, creators on the edges were empowered to focus on satisfying their artistic visions in the open headspace of home studios. While labels like Warner Music and Nippon Columbia explored new sounds through traditional channels, it was possible for Vanity, Balcony and other indie labels, not to mention self–released artists like Ojima and Naoki Asai, to publish their work via affordable media such as cassettes, 7" vinyl, and flexi–discs. Expertly curated by Yosuke Kitazawa and Mark “Frosty” McNeill (dublab), Somewhere Between is a collection of music, much of it released for the first time outside Japan, that is bound more by energetic vibration than shared history, genre or scene. They are the sounds of transition and searching—a celebration of the freedom found in floating. Note: The track “Days Man” by Yoshio Ojima is only available on the LP and Cassette versions.
We write to you with the conclusions of our investigation into the synthesized audio transmissions picked up by the deep space telescope at regular intervals since 1986. The source was traced to two brothers in Kawasaki, Japan, who identified themselves as Satoshi and Makoto. When we raided the building, they were huddled around a synthesizer manufactured by the Casio Corporation, model number CZ-5000.
In their archives we discovered a wealth of colourful and ear-pleasing material created entirely using this music-making device in the early 1990s. We asked them to provide copies so that we could make these compositions available to the public for the first time. They handed us a compact disc that bore the handwritten code “ST006”.
Scientific Bulletin From The Safe Trip Institute, Amsterdam.
Our latest communication to colleagues concerns an audio artefact – library reference code ST019 – provided by our esteemed Japanese brothers Satoshi and Makoto. They unearthed it from their own archive of musical experimentations and laboratory tests, which have been ongoing since the 1990s. They have shared it so that the process of peer reviewing can begin in earnest.
We have undertaken thorough testing in the Safe Trip Laboratory and offer the following observations:
Colleagues in Japan provided us with sample product of the following audio artefact – file number ST015 – believing that it may be relevant to the Safe Trip Institute’s ongoing research in this area of study. After rigorous testing and analysis, we would like to offer the following observations:
• By running each of the 10 pieces of music that make up the artefact through the Past Fire Particle Analyzer, we have ascertained that every single note, chord and aural element was created using the CZ-5000, an electronic instriment built by Japan’s Casio Corporation.
• One of our researchers discovered that if you assign a Pantone colour code to each different musical note featured on the artefact, all bar 734 of the 1,867 “spot” colours are present. By gathering these together on one screen, she discovered that most of the “musical colours” employed by Satoshi & Makoto were shades of purple, orange, red, green, yellow and pink.
• In laboratory tests, listeners were instinctively drawn to the following percussion-free compositions: ‘Crawl Up (ST019-02)’, a combination of vibrant melodies and rumbling sub-bass; ‘Updraft (ST019-08)’, which one listener claimed helped him see through time; and ‘Kass (ST019-09)’, a musical voyage through neural pathways that should interest colleagues within the world of phrenology.
• Test subjects also responded positively to a number of other artefacts, with one insisting that ‘Corendor (ST019-03)’ induced intense feelings of joy thanks to its use of vibrant melodies and “shuffling beats”. We draw no conclusions from this comment but think it worthy of further discussion.
We invite colleagues the world over to analyse and test this audio further in order to increase our understanding of Mr Satoshi and Mr Makoto’s archive aural artefacts. We eagerly await your correspondence.
Simultaneous purchase set of three original Les Rallizes Dénudés albums LPs with bonus 12-inch, available in limited quantities!
Special 12-inch for purchasing all three albums at the same time.
The "Romance of Black Sorrow otherwise Fallin' Love With," which was cut from the analog LP of "MIZUTANI / Les Rallizes Dénudés" due to the recording time, and two bonus tracks from the reissue CD of "MIZUTANI / Les Rallizes Dénudés" will be included.
Two bonus tracks from the reissue CD of "'67-'69 STUDIO et LIVE" will be included.
1. 黒い悲しみのロマンセ otherwise Fallin’ Love With
Romance of the Black Pain otherwise Fallin’ Love With
2. Tobacco Road
Jaki Liebezait (CAN), Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten), Chrislo Haas (D.A.F.), Thomas Stern (Lime and the City Solution) participated! Recording by Kraftwerk , NEU!, Cluster & Eno, D.A.F.
A legendary yet long lost crown jewel from the early 80s
Japanese Electronic and Jazz Rock scene.
MARIAH used to be a Japanese outfit in the field of art pop, long way back in the very late 70s and early 80s with 6 albums up
their score from 1979 to 1983. The album at hand is the sixth and for the time being last album in this row, released as a double
vinyl back in 1983. Prices for original copies, that are at least in very good condition, are hard to find and go up to 250 Euro/USD.
The brandnew reissue on Everland, unlike the original and the first vinyl reissue from 2015, comes housed in a thick and artfully
designed gatefold sleeve with OBI, which finally does justice to the progressive spirit of the music you can find here.
The musical basement is a fusion of dreamy synthesizer pop and haunting new wave music, that could be found all around
the globe back in 1983. In the vein of TEARS FOR FEARS or more adventurous DAVID BOWIE stuff, with a touch of KRAFTWERK or
even BRIAN ENO here and there, but all this gets spiced up with an atmosphere of Japanese traditionalism, with a few bits and
pieces from the old music from this Far East island, which sounds so magic us Westeners. The progressive, wacky art pop of this
project was led by the popular Japanese composer and musician Yasuaki Shimizu, a relentlessly exploratory saxophonist who
even dared to rework Johann Sebastian Bach’s cello suites for saxophone.
As brilliant as this man is, the music on „Utakata No Hibi“ turns out to be. And the master himself approved and much
appreciated the brandnew remastering of this album by assisting a highly professional team of sound engineers who dusted off
the ancient tape reels. For certain the record sounds and feels 80s through and through, electronic to the very rhythmical bone
of each song sugar coated with catchy melodies that resemble Japanese classic and Enka music, which is a kind of folksy pop
music. The listener gets directly drawn into a feverish dream of steaming Far Eastern cities and their darkest and most depraved
corners where you find everything cheap in sleazy bars and unlighted backyards and alleys. The next moment he strolls through
a beautiful Japanese park surrounded by a sea of blossoms. This change in mood and style you will experience in the sparsely
instrumented tune „Shisen“, which indeed comes closest to classic Japanese folk tunes without any too catchy and pop oriented
melodies. But we certainly find these harmonies allover the album. Some tunes even feel like ancient BEACH BOYS compositions
and Brian Wilson creations played by a then contemporary electronic pop act and sung in Japanese.
An amazingly colorful album with songs that are based on solid substance rather than cheap pop structures. This is music for
the bold listeners and music lovers and this awesome reissue should quickly find it’s way into the record collections of 80s synth
and art pop aficionadoes.
Yasuaki Shimizu did what he wanted with MARIAH, pushed the borders of popular music further than anybody would have
thought. Listen to a track like „Shonen“ with a repetitive rhythm pattern that hypnotizes you and somehow silky melodylines by
saxophone and synth piano upon which a female voice sings in a very spiritual way. Praising pop or whatever this can be called,
it is sheer magic put in music. I wonder if this would have made it into the charts back then, but you never know. It is a piece of
musical art that shall be listened to.
20th Anniversary Repress!
Merzbow's Merzbeat is one the most unique and legendary titles in the artist's vast archive. This 20th anniversary repress is being issued at the same time as CD reissue of his 1983 album Material Action 2 and a brand new collaboration with Arcane Device, all on Important Records....