JAPROCKSAMPLER #2


1 - Love Live Life + One: Love Will Make A Better You (LOVE WILL MAKE A BETTER YOU, 1971)

"Back in the studio world, the concept of the so-called 'super session' continued to obsess Japan's New Rock elite throughout the middle of 1970. (...) In the late summer of 1970, producer Ikuzo Orita began to bring together musicians for another 'super session' that he wished to name 'Love Live Life'. Inspired by the songs of sax player Kei Ichihara, Orita seemed to be obsessed with the idea of uniting free jazz Sun Ra style with stomping soul and heavy-guitar chaos (...) How about that title track whose catchy bastard licks unashamedly rip Sly's 'I Wanna Take You Higher', but still have you singing along?"





2 - Karuna Khyal: 24-32 (ALOMONI 1985, 1974)

"Imagine the Jehova's Witnessess were right and the world had ended in 1975. Imagine a tribe of Louisiana backwoodsmen who'd been reared on a diet of freak-out albums such as Amon Duul's, Hapshash & The Coloured Coat's, Friendsound's JOYRIDE, Kalakackra's CRAWLING TO LHASA, voodoo rituals and re-runs of Bewitched. Yup, Karuna Khyal isthat kind of paganism (...) The recording techniques betray an engineer more at ease with his technology, employing mike distortion intelligently on the drums without letting it destroy the rest of the track. 'First time musette' of the Captain Beefheart/Pere Ubu variety adds variety to their Faustian muse, plus a fondness for deploying their own field recordings."






3 - Magical Power Mako: Open The Morning Window, The Sunshine Comes In, The Hope Of Today is Small Bird Singing / Ruding Piano (MAGICAL POWER MAKO, 1974)



"Five years in preparation and at-home recording, this extraordinary debut album, released by a precocious and still-adolescent nineteen-year-old, was a highly strange mixture of pop art and Krautrock (its cover, inspired by the Faust and Neu! debuts, simply enlarged the Polydor label and price to cover the entire front and back sleeves). (...) Side two commences with the perfect kindergarten piano ballad 'Open The Morning Window, The Sunshine Comes in, The Hope of Today Is Small Bird Singing'. Imagine the third Velvets album as an X-Mass number one. Mako sings this in a Yoko Ono-as-infant voice, until gently accompanied by an earnest tiny boy, singing tunelessly. Mellotron 400 eventually buries everything in luxurious strings, until abruptly cut down by the Cossack yelping of 'Ruding Piano', after which the LP devolves into sound FX, chanting and mucho 

Mellotron."








4 - J.A. Caesar: ?? (KOKKYOU JYUNREIKA, 1973)




"Anyone searching out a single J.A. Caesar record for their library should aim for this album, for its shrewd editing and powerful tracklisting put it head-and-shoulders above the rest. (...) the three hugely mysterious and long songs of side two (including this one) are up there with any of the greatest kosmische-styled Krautrock - early Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, Agitation Free and ATEM-period Tangerine Dream, most especially. Throughout the proceedings, J.A. Caesar's droning electric organ hangs like a curtain of mist across a Welsh v-shaped valley, while the eerie female vocals of singers Yoko Ran, Keiko Shinko and Seigo Showa add a Norn-like mountain mystery even to the most brutal of side one's vicious hard-rock onslaughts."












5 - The Jacks: Bara-Manji (VACANT WORLD, 1968) 



"The real leaders of the folk rock boom were the dark and radicalised quartet the Jacks, whose black clothes, existencialist angst and refusal to kowtow even to the underground made them instant stars. Starting out in 1966 as the drummerless trio Nightingale, the Jacks were led by the ultra longhaired and perpetually be-Rayban'd singer Yoshio Hayakawa, whose surly interviews caused a sensation:



'We are not underground. That's just an idea created by the media. We became outsiders from the folk jamboree <as> we don't have the goal to be famous, so it's difficult for people to understand and define us... it's a dirty world, you gotta go there yourself and find out.'



(...) Nihilist doom folk in advance of the third Velvet Underground album, anyone? (...)

'Bara-Manji' (Swastika Rose) has the singer being 'flagellated with a chain of roses' over a crazy country backing track (...)."







6 - Flower Travellin' Band - Heaven And Hell (MADE IN JAPAN, 1972)



"Recorded in Canada by a jazz keyboard player who didn't understand them, Flower's SATORI follow-up was confused, disorientated, depressed, self-deprecating and a wonderful album. The raging experimental near-instrumental jet fighters of SATORI here gave way to Middle European proto-metal of the Amon Duul 2 variety (...)."















*All description written by Julian Cope from his book JAPROCKSAMPLER







Related links: