JAPROCKSAMPLER #3



1 - J.A. Caesar - 狂女節 (JASUMON, 1972)

"Of all the great Japanese rock 'n' roll music to emerge from the 1960s, it is most surely the musical soundtracks that Julius Arnest Caesar produced for Shuji Terayama's Tenjo Sajiki Theater Company that are the most instantly recognisable to any listener. Produced for and recorded during theatre performances, the records of J.A. Caesar ring with the clamorous tones of their age, the deafening refusal to let any tradition, any cultural given, any cliché pass by unexamined. Indeed, the Caesar soundtracks fail sometimes through their sheer commitment to creating 'astonishment overload', as Colin Wilson once described TV news. But their essential genius to the twenty-first-century listener lies in their usefulness as devices with which to break open the head, to steep the aching modern mind in an eye-bath of cool clear liquid, to swallow all misery whole and, temporarily at least, to kiss your ass goodbye and sink into the maelstrom of Caesar's who-knows-what-the-hell-is-going-on? Psychedelic in its intent, psychedelic in its execution, the music of J.A. Caesar was created in the psychedelicised mind of one who understood intuitively that in order to reconstruct the damaged Japanese post-war collective psyche, it was essential first to go all the way and, only then, back off."


2 - Datetenryu - 東福寺 (UNTO, 1971)

"Included here as representatives of the early '70s festival scene, Datetenryu was an obscure cousin to Communist agitator bands Zuno Keisatsu (Brain Police), Yellow, Les Rallizes Denudés and Murahatchibu. Led by organist Masao Tonari, the band on UNTO played a frantic hogwash of soul-based progressive space rock that inhabited the same territory as the Soft Machine's debut-LP period (imagine 'Why Are We Sleeping' or 'Hope For Happiness' by way of '21st Century Schizoid Man')."



3 - The Jacks - Marianne (VACANT WORLD, 1968)

"Nihilist doom folk in advance of the third Velvet Underground album, anyone? Welcome to the debut with the most astonishingly original opening track ever. Imagine Love's 'Signed DC' played by a free-jazz ensemble intent on uniting the Communist Bloc rage of 'European Son' with a shed-building competition. Over this, a Jacques Brel with an inner child-of-five tells us it's okay to be possessed by the siren Marianne, as she cops a feel of his inner psyche and drags him into the sea."



4 - People - Shomyo Part 2 (CEREMONY - BUDDHA MEETS ROCK, 1971)

"Released in answer to Ikuzo Orita's superb 'Polydor Super Session' series of LPs, this riposte/rip-off, written by Buddhist poet/songwriter Naoki Tachikawa and organised by Teichiku Records' A&R director Hideki Sakamoto, challenged every one of Orita's projects and beat most of them cold simply by working through Orita's own blueprint line by line. (...) Keyboard player Yusuke Hoguchi and Buddhist poet and songwriter Naoki Tachikawa agreed to create an inspirational rock album for Teichiku Records based on turning hip young Japanese rock kids back on to Japan's own version of Zen Buddhism, by making great play of its being similar to Western rockers' then current obsession with anything Hindu, Buddhist or Maoist."


5 - Blues Creation - Understand (feat. Carmen Maki) (LIVE 1971)

"Brutally apocalyptic Sabbath-informed post-Altamont blues hot on the heels of Flower Travellin' Band, this is a fantastic album of industrial strength played with all the artistic finesse of Olympic weightlifters. (...) Takeda drags boring Carmen Maki out for five minutes of 'Understand', her strained larynx herein actually taken on a wonderfully strident early Siouxsie timbre."




6 - Speed, Glue & Shinki - Don't Say No (SPEED, GLUE & SHINKI, 1972)

"It's hard to imagine this self-titled double-LP barrage was created by a disintegrating band just twelve months into their career, but it's true. Determined to kiss off this power trio in style, Brother Joey demanded his own EXILE... and brought in a Moog synthesiser and old friend Mike Hanopol to shore up the gaps left by departing itinerant bassist Masayoshi 'Glue' Kabe. (...) The album package, created by Taj Mahal Traveller's Michihiro Kimura, arrived in two highly glossy single yellow jackets screen.printed with tigers, enfolded in heavy printed brown paper outers, and replete with three lyrics sheets. What a way to go, ay?"


7 - Taj Mahal Travellers - Between 7.50 P.M. - 8.05 PM (JULY 15, 1972)

"Drifting in on Takehisa Kosugi's radio receivers and frequency oscillators, the stillness of the performers during the opening moments of this debut is such that even the slamming doors of embarassed late arrivals at Tokyo's Sogetsu Kaikan Hall make major contributions to the music. Seiji Nagai's lone trumpet and Kosugi's bowed violin occupy most of the space until heavily treated harmonica oozes through the murk, and the four echo machines of electronics operators Michihiro Kimura, Tokio Hasegawa, Yuki Tsuchiya and Kinji Hayashi fuse together to render any evaluation of the original sound sources quite impossible."

*All descriptions written by Julian Cope from his book JAPROCKSAMPLER

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