Kazuki Tomokawa - Sakura no kuni no chiru naka o (1980)

While I still can't quite figure out the title to Kazuki Tomokawa (友川かずき)'s fifth studio album, 'Sakura no kuni no chiru naka o' (桜の国の散る中を) must mean something like 'Within the Country of Falling Cherry Blossoms'. Wouldn't 桜の散る国の中を make more sense though? Just goes to show how hard it is (for me at least?) to get a good grip on this devilish language. So anyone with more insight, please help an otōto out.
Anyway, this album was released in October 1980 on Bellwood, and reissued in 1992 and again in 1995 on King. The studio album that preceded this one was 1978's 俺の裡で鳴り止まない詩 ('Ore no uchi de nariyamanai mono'), which was posted here earlier; but in the meantime Tomokawa had released his first live album, 犬~友川かずき秋田コンサートライブ ('Inu - Tomokawa Kazuki Akita Konsāto Raibu', or in translation: 'Dog - Tomokawa Kazuki Akita Concert Live'), which I may get around to some other time (it's essential if only for that exclusive song 寂滅 ('Jakumetsu', which means 'Nirvana')).

The tracklist on this one is as follows (Japanese / rōmaji / translation); the translations are the ones given on the official website.

1. 犬  /  Inu  /  A Dog
2. 闇  /  Yami  /  Darkness
3. 点  /  Ten  /  Point
4. 問うなれば  /  Tou nareba  /  Must Start Questioning
5. 赤子の限界  /  Akago no genkai  /  The Limits Within an Infant
6. おどの独白  /  Odo no dokuhaku  /  Odo's Soliloquy
7. 口から木綿  /  Kuchi kara momen  /  Cotton From the Mouth
8. 因われのうた  /  Toraware no uta  /  A Song of Captivity
9. 桜の国の散る中を  /  Sakura no kuni no chiru naka o  /  Within the Country of Falling Cherry Blossoms

The last one, the epic title track (dig that choir!), is subtitled (会田哲士君の霊に捧ぐ)in the booklet: 'Aida Tetsushi-kun no rei ni sasagu', 'Dedicated to the Soul of Mr. Tetsushi Aida'. I don't know who this is, but the 'kun'-suffix would seem to indicate that it's a younger friend of Tomokawa's.
There does not seem to be any link between the Odo in the spoken sixth track and the eponymous killer from Kan Mikami (三上寛)'s song on his first album, 三上寛の世界 ('Mikami Kan no sekai', 1971).

In the booklet (scans included), we find the following credits:
友川かずき (Kazuki Tomokawa): singing, guitar
ピップエレキバンド (Pippu Ereki Bando = Pip Electric Band; as far as I can recall the only other album this band is mentioned on is 'Inu'):
石塚俊明 (Toshiaki Ishizuka, yes, the guy from Vajra): drums, percussion
古家恭子 (Kyōko Furuya, who was already there from the first album): piano, keyboard
山脇クマ (Kuma Yamawaki): bass
菊池雅志 (Masashi Kikuchi): shakuhachi, yokobue (two types of Japanese flutes)
牧良介 (Ryōsuke Maki): narration on track 6
There are a bunch of other musicians in minor roles, but let's not go crazy.
By the way, last year's live DVD has been reuploaded here.


Kaneko Jutok & Kikukawa Takahisa - Wedged Night (2005)

While I would like to try to use this blog primarily for my own rips, rather than just leeching off the hard work of others (and having a blog that's interchangeable with all the other ones out there), I will also post some mp3s I picked up myself on some other blog from time to time, especially if the sounds in question are not available on 27 other sites, or if for whatever reason I think they deserve more attention. So here goes: a vinyl rip (I don't do those myself) of a great Japanese 'free rock' LP recorded in 2002, and released in 2005 by bijou label Siwa (but, like almost all of their releases, long out of print). And while I think of it: is anyone ever going to rip that Kan Mikami LP they did in 2009??

Listen up: my personal habit is, when romanizing Japanese names, to put the first name first, rather than the surname first, as is the habit in Japan. That's the way I have always done it on this blog as well. So I will speak of Kazuki Tomokawa, Kan Mikami, Keiji Haino, Toshimaru Nakamura, and not the other way around - unless the person in question systematically sticks to the traditional order himself (for instance: Yoshihide Ōtomo looks weird, and countless people on the interwebs in fact seem convinced that Ōtomo (oh yeah, I also like to mark long vowels with a macron) is his first name. It's not.).
Jutoku Kaneko (金子寿徳: Kane-ko Ju-toku), legendary guitarist behind Kousokuya (光束夜; -ou- is another way to transliterate -ō-, so pronounce it Kō-soku-ya, 'night of luminous flux') who sadly died at the age of 49 in 2007, preferred the transliteration Kaneko Jutok, so let's grant him that.
I don't know what Takahisa Kikukawa (菊川貴央), the drummer in 水晶の舟 (usually written Suishou no Fune, 'crystal boat', but the same thing goes for the -ou- in 'Suishou'), prefers, but for the sake of symmetry I'll put his last name first as well.

Two more remarks about Jutoku's name, for those who are interested in that kind of thing.
First off, what happened to the -u at the end of 'Jutoku'? You can read a very academic explanation on wiki, but long story short: i and u are hardly pronounced at all in certain word environments, so occasionally you'll see this reflected in the way people spell their names in rōmaji. Extreme example: Stomu Yamashta, actually Tsutomu Yamashita (山下勉, but more often in katakana: ツトム ヤマシタ).
Secondly: occasionally you'll find 寿得 instead of 寿徳 for 'Jutoku' (not on this album cover though, as you can see, nor on the flyer). Strange, because the dictionary I'm checking at the moment lists the pronunciation Jutoku for 寿徳 (along with 5 other possibilities, try it!), but only 'Toshie' for 寿得. So I don't know why the latter is used, since apparently it can't be read as 'Jutoku'. End of second remark.
One remark about the album title: the cover gives the Japanese title 楔夜, the characters for 'wedge' and 'night'. If you have paid attention very well, you will recognize the latter as the -ya in Kousokuya. I'm assuming this title is pronounced 'Kusabi Yoru', but have no clue what it's supposed to mean.
And finally, one remark about the track title 'Kirin'. It means 'giraffe' in Japanese (but I think it can also simply be a personal name, so I'm not sure what's intended here). They'll usually spell it キリン, in katakana, first of all because that's normal practice for animals, but also because the kanji are way too difficult: 麒麟. Just look at those babies.

Konnichi wa. Watashi wa kirin desu.

Do you see how I managed to write an entire post without saying anything about the music? There's other things in life, kids. Language, for instance, is also interesting. Have you looked up the name of this blog yet? I like to imagine the troops of Indoeuropeanists stranding on this blog and blinking in incomprehension. Makes me chuckle, don't know about you. To tell you the truth, the kind of ramblings I post here (like the above), are the sort of information I always wished I'd find online when looking up my favourite music. So I guess I'm hoping there are other kids out there who will be pleased to be thus enlightened. But for the ungrateful rest of you I'll just quote the blurb in full:
'Jutok Kaneko should be familiar to some as the man behind the long running deep psychedelic 'rock' outfit Kousokuya. Takahisa Kikukawa spent some time with Ché-Shizu, UZU and has recently been performing with Suishou no Fune. Both in Kousokuya and in Kaneko's solo work the line between composition and improvisation is a very blurry one so it's only in the loosest of terms that we say side one of this album is an "improvisation" and side two consists of a couple of "songs". The LP is issued in a one off limited run of 500 and comes in an appropriately black and black on black silkscreened cover with two screened inserts.'
Or in other words: if you liked the Vajra (and I'm hoping at least some of the 600+ of you who downloaded it did - and maybe even went ahead and actually bought it?), you'll probably like this.
So there.

Susan Alcorn - And I Await the Resurrection of the Pedal Steel Guitar (2007)

Original CD-R cover art.

I'm pretty tired and lazy at the moment, but I promised myself I would try not to let this blog gather cobwebs again (at least not too soon), so if you don't mind I'm going to go with this promo text I found on Boomkat. It pretty much says what I was going to write anyway (except for the odd ellipsis and the very frequently found typo 'Messaien' for [Olivier] Messiaen, weird right?):
'Susan Alcorn is already up to her fifth album of solo pedal steel explorations, and this latest on Olde English Spelling Bee sounds every bit as beautiful as it looks. Proving that the instrument can easily out manoeuvre any Nashville stranglehold, Alcorn's music is as far removed from country as you could imagine. Making fine use of the volume pedal, Alcorn creates stately swells of electric string warmth, rising up and disappearing in mists of echo, or sliding and detuning into a discordant abyss. There are so many more textures at play in Alcorn's work: at times you'll [hear?] something encroaching upon Loren Connors' haunted blues, at others she'll drop in some angular, fractured riffs on Messaien-influenced harmony. This feels like a really special release, a modern exploration of [an?] instrument that's seldom given the opportunity to break free of its supporting-cast shackles. Highly recommended.'

Cover of the LP reissue. I know, it's prettier.

I will just add two things, quickly:
1. Prior to the LP on Olde English Spelling Bee, this was actually released on CD-R by miss Alcorn herself, probably in a pretty limited run.
2. This CD-R version contains an unlisted bonus track not on the vinyl: a moody cover version of Domenico Modugno's Emmy-Award-winning song 'Nel blu dipinto di blu' (1958), popularly known far and wide as 'Volare'.

That quaint cottage industry feel again.


PS: to make up for my laziness I will add (but just this once all right? Don't expect me to make a habit of it), a very nice video: Susan Alcorn performing Messiaen's 'O Sacrum Convivium' (1937), usually for a cappella choir.


Richard Youngs - Live In Salford (2008)

This may be upside down, who knows.

Richard Youngs is one of my favourite artists when it comes to that whole folk-with-a-twist scene, but he's also one of those artists who will release just about anything they record (I've lost track of what he's released this year alone) - and if no label will have it, he'll just do it himself on his own No Fans imprint.

The 17th (!) of these home-made CDR releases is 'Live in Salford', a whopping 50 of which were released in 2008 and available exclusively through that ecstatic channel of cosmic hype surrounding anything that is cottage-produced and purposely made to sell out in less than a week and become sought-after by collectors, thus lending an aura of CULT upon the creator, and if possible, also a bit upon the seller - yes, I'm talking about Volcanic Tongue, and yes - I'm taking the piss of course (but there's something to it, admit it...). This one shows all the usual trappings: unique packaging for every single copy, hand-stamped and written wax paper wrapper, white stamped CDR carrying a 28 minute live recording, 25 minutes of which consists of ecstatic flute playing, followed by a coda of Youngs' trademark singing, equal parts folky and psychedelic. While this is in no way an essential Youngs release (try 'Sapphie' or 'River Through a Howling Sky' or 'Under Stellar Stream', to name just a few classics - or this year's 'Amplifying Host'), this is definitely a charming by-product of a relentless artist whose heart overfloweth with a goodly matter. Not a good starting point, but a nice addition to the more easily available recordings for the - oops, I almost said fans.

Mon.goose - At Penguin House (1999)

There was a request for more Sugimoto, so here is Mon.goose;. If that punctuation is part of the band name is a matter of debate - considering that they don't use it on the inside of the wrapper thingy around the piece of paper that serves as packaging here, nor on this here website, I'm starting to think it's just an annoying one-off piece of tomfoolery on the cover. I'm also starting to regret that I tagged the files with the period between the syllables (but without the semicolon!), but there's nothing I can do about that now is there? I mean: there's nothing I am willing to do about it. Anyway........... What is this Mongoose?
Why, Wikipedia teaches us it's a weasel-like carnivore that lives in Africa and Asia, and whose name, from the Marāṭhī mangus (मंगूस), is a prime example of folk etymology (the plural mongeese is attested, even).

I have non-retractile claws and a large anal scent gland.

We are primarily concerned here with the 'band' (group? ensemble? crew?) though, at least for the time being. So, Mon(.)goose(;) (on the other hand, you wouldn't want to have them confused with some Hungarian glitch-hop producer, would you?) was the short-lived trio of Tetuzi Akiyama (秋山徹次, guitar, electronics), Utah Kawasaki (ユタカワサキ, synthesizer) and Taku Sugimoto (杉本拓, guitar), active around the turn of the millennium when the scene in Tokyo was pretty exciting (ok, sure, it still is, but I'm getting pretty fed up with that whole concept-over-actual-sound and why-make-any-sound-at-all?-craze).

Mongoose, the group (Akiyama, Sugimoto, Kawasaki)

On their website they speak of 'minimal noise music', but honestly that's not at all what I hear in it. There's some electric guitar feedbacking and some bloopy synth here, but only your granny would label it noise. It's just to slow and deliberate and spacious and balanced and... dare I say it, relaxing. Sugimoto is to blame for that, I guess; it's just impossible to think of 'noise' when you hear his delicate guitar notes (remember, this is only a short while after his zen - but don't call it that! - masterpiece, 'Opposite'). On the second of two untitled live tracks his notes are initially gathered into dense flurries, but soft, soft... while delicate crackles and hums fill out the palette. Gradually they gain presence, but there's always a stately grace about the entire sound. Whitehouse this isn't. I guess it's an early form of what we call eai nowadays (for lack of a better word... Onkyo seemed promising for a moment, but then that turned out to be a brand of surround sound speakers). A very interesting release if you are familiar with the later work of the artists involved, especially as far as Sugimoto's concerned. Recorded in February and released in September 1999 on Sugimoto's own Slub Music, this hardly ever shows up these days, so...
New link!


Toshiya Tsunoda - Extract From Field Recording Archive #3 (2001)

The last part of this trilogy carries the additional title 'Solid Vibration', and was a joint release by Howard Stelzer's Intransitive Recordings and the now defunct Fringes, run by Giuseppe Ielasi (for the occasion, they merged into 'Infringitive'). Like its companions, this one went out of print a long time ago. Enjoy!
New link!

Toshiya Tsunoda - Extract From Field Recording Archive #2 (1999)

Subtitled 'The Air Vibration Inside a Hollow', the second volume in Tsunoda's extracts series was the first  recording ever on Häpna, but hasn't been in print for many years. This time around Tsunoda focuses on 'changes in a hollow space that were influenced by outside phenomena'. Comes in one of those nice cardboard wraparounds like all Häpna releases, with notes on each recording on the inside (scans included).
New link!

Toshiya Tsunoda - Extract From Field Recording Archive #1

Toshiya Tsunoda (角田俊也) specializes in field recordings. His mid-noughties releases focused on capturing the entire soundworld at a specific moment and place, but earlier releases were all about vibrations of objects in their surroundings, or the sound of air in different containers.
Tsunoda's work is well documented. In the last 10 years there have been CDs on Lucky Kitchen, Sirr, Naturestrip, Häpna, Hibari, and most recently his own label, edition.t. Several of these are still available from good distros such as Erstwhile in the US and Metamkine in Europe (if you're only going to get one, make it 'Scenery of Decalcomania'). Between 1997 and 2001 however a series of 3 discs was released under the name 'Extract From Field Recording Archive'. They are all three on different labels, but all of them are long out of print. I will post them here in quick succession. If you want to know more about the how & what of these recordings, I can recommend reading Tsunoda's own essay on this Erstwhile-related blog.
The first of these was released in 1997 on WrK, a label run by Tsunoda back in the day, along with Minoru Sato (佐藤実), perhaps better known as m/s. On this disc, Tsunoda focuses on 'standing waves as a state of the place'. The packaging was rather neat: a series of cards, one per track, with pictures of the locations of the recordings and some explanations on the back (in Japanese and English). The first track, for instance, was recorded at Misaki Bay (Miura City), pictured above, and is entitled 'Solid Vibration of the Surface of a Concreted Wharf Where a Marine Products Market Used to Be' (recorded on May 5th, 1996). Not as dry and scientific as you'd think, these are really engrossing sound worlds. Check 'em out.
Scans and txt-file with Japanese titles (for those of you who are into that kind of thing) are included.
New link!


Kinshi Tsuruta - Biwa, the World of Tsuruta Kinshi (1995)

Followers of this blog who have been craving more biwa madness ever since that Junko Ueda post can finally relax. Kinshi Tsuruta (鶴田錦史, 1911-1995) is something of the grandma of the genre (doesn't have that ring to it that I was going for, but anyway), going as far as to create her own adapted version of the traditional lute-like instrument. Ueda was in fact one of her many female pupils. Admirers of Japanese cinema may have heard Tsuruta perform during the Hōichi segment of Masaki Kobayashi (小林正樹)'s classic movie 'Kaidan' (怪談, also transliterated 'Kwaidan', 1964). It was composer Tōru Takemitsu (武満徹) who got her to perform on that soundtrack, when in fact at the time she hadn't played for years. The thing is, she had decided in her twenties to go into business and make some money, so that by the time she was 50 or so she could play her instrument as she pleased for the rest of her life. And as it turned out she was 54 by the time 'Kaidan' needed soundtracking, so Takemitsu's invitation was just the spur she needed to get her back into the studio. Years later she worked together again with Takemitsu (who got over his distaste for traditional music thanks to her) on some of his compositions, the most famous one being 'November Steps'. Her playing shows some radical departures from classical practice; she rubs the strings and slaps the body of the instrument. Her voice is pretty awe-inspiring as well. I'm telling you, this old lady was not to be messed with.

Dig those specs.

This album (琵琶劇唱〜鶴田錦史の世界 or 'Biwa Gekishō - Tsuruta Kinshi no Sekai') presents three traditional pieces performed in the studio in October 1993, at the age of 82. There is 俊寛 ('Shunkan'), a prelude to the downfall of the Heike clan; 壇の浦 ('Dan no Ura'), which tells of the tragic final battle and the emptiness of the glory vanished in the sea; and 義経 ('Yoshitsune'), which describes three episodes in the life of the hero of Genji, rival clan to the Heike. These tales have been told many times before in various forms (noh, kabuki, bunraku, biwa music), but these readings breathe new life into them.
Original cover (1995); the white one is the 2005 reissue.

Tsuruta-san performed one more concert after this recording, but less than a week later suffered a cerebral infarction which left her bound to a wheelchair. She died two years later, when these recordings were released on King Records (benchmark of quality traditional music, unfortunately also synonymous with ridiculously high prices and scarce availability outside of Japan).
There is another late recording of Tsuruta on Ocora, but it has been out of print for years. If you see it in the second-hand bins, definitely pick it up. For now, enjoy this nice King release. Files tagged in Japanese. Scans included (half of the liner notes are even in English!). You're welcome.


Otomo Yoshihide / Keith Rowe / Taku Sugimoto - Ajar (2002)

What a fantastic line-up! What an overlooked gem!
Seriously, what do you hear when you think "guitar trio"? I'm willing to bet it's not this subdued, highly detailed soundscape from three great artists with radically different approaches to their instrument. All three musicians have been mentioned on this blog before. Not nearly enough Keith Rowe though - there must be some other out-of-print gems out there, fit for posting. I'll have to give this issue some thought. I'm not going to do the whole bio thing, suffice to say he is the grandaddy of contemporary electro-acoustic improvisation, and one of my favourite artists of all time, in any field. Need more intel? Have a wiki.
A decade-old release on the defunct Alcohol label (they also did Ground-Zero's 'Last Concert', in conjunction with Amoebic, and Toshimaru Nakamura's 'No-Input Mixing Board [3]', all on their own). All of their releases are pretty hard to get these days. This one came in a little cardboard thingy that could singe your retinas if you're not careful.

Michael Pisaro - Black, White, Red, Green, Blue (Voyelles) (2010)

Michael Pisaro is one of the most fascinating composers active today, but I feel like I've told you that already.

Winds Measure is one of the most fascinating labels active today, and I'm sorry I haven't mentioned that before. Run by Ben Owen (whose own field-recordings-based works, like the stunning '05012009 FP', you should really check out rather sooner than later) from New York, it specializes in minimal sound art, austere acoustic and electronic improvisation, field recordings, all kinds of gorgeous sounds and silences. Their releases always look beautiful too. Too bad many of them are in formats I have little patience (or not even the equipment) for, like tapes and 7"s - even an 8" lathe cut for God's sake.

Barry Chabala is one of the most fascinating guitarists active today, so I figured I'd point that out to you. He seems to have a special relationship with Michael Pisaro, and has played many of his compositions that require guitar (much like Greg Stuart when it comes to percussion), going as far as to set some of them for guitar himself. Several of these have been released in one form or another. He also does his own thing though, like on the 2 great new duo releases he put out himself just now on his Roeba label (one with Anne Guthrie, the other with Gosia Winter); both are highly recommended - get them here.

'Black, White, Red, Green, Blue (Voyelles)' was released on tape last year. It features 2 hours of music: an hour of gentle guitar notes, careful drones, and the spaces between, and an hour of the same with some added layers of tape hiss. Not for those in a hurry or those requiring stadium rock theatrics, this is still an unassumingly fine collection. 100 copies were printed, they are all gone now. Having finally come across an mp3 rip some good (anonymous) soul has put out there, I have decided to share it with you.


Taku Sugimoto - Flagments of Paradise (1997)

A very early Taku Sugimoto (杉本拓) album (although, come to think of it, his first album actually predates this one by 9 more years): the unfortunately titled 'Flagments of Paradise'. Before you go sending this one off to engrish.com, give the guy a break. It has been corrected to 'Fragments of Paradise' on the obi and on the spine. Anyway. This album is from before Sugimoto turned all austere and hyper-minimalist and, well, inaudible on us. It even features some smatterings of quite straightforward viola, harmonica and piano playing, decadent frills the contemporary Taku would probably look down upon with distaste. The main element here though is electric guitar, played by Sugimoto himself and Hisao Mashida (増田久夫). Comparing this one to his later work, Dan Warburton mentioned its 'florid lyricism', 'with its Loren Connors-like melancholy strains'. So there you go. If you're ready to move on to his mid-period work, look at this older post. Maybe I'll post some hardcore latter-day Taku at some point to complete the picture.
'Flagments' was released in 1997 on Creativeman Disc / Test. Contains a few guest appearances by, to only name the most 'famous' one, Tetuzi (his weird way of spelling Tetsuji) Akiyama (秋山徹次).
Scans included for your supreme pleasure.
No longer here.
New upload! Here.


Chie Mukai - Songs & Improvisation (2003)

Here is a very obscure CD-R release by Chie Mukai (向井千惠). It's a live recording from "2002.5.1" (thanks to the ubiquitous confusion regarding the notation of dates, I can not say with any certainty if this is January 5th or the 1st of May - what could be more logical and unambiguous than dd.mm.yyyy people, come on?), recorded at Pepperland in Okayama. She is credited with "胡弓 (er-hu), vocal, piano, percussion, etc.". 胡弓 is actually the Japanese kokyū, which is not quite the same as the Chinese èrhú (二胡), but apparently there is some confusion in the use of these terms. Enough already with the confusion! Anyway, it's an eastern Asian spike fiddle with 2 or (in Japan) 3 strings.
Chie Mukai is a unique improviser who is not averse to some minimalist droning or wordless vocalizing. She is perhaps best known as the leader of free improvisation ensemble Ché-SHIZU (シェシズ), formed as far back as 1981. They have a couple of albums on PSF, one of which ('Nazareth') was also released in 2003. Another notable group she performs with is Enkidu (with Éric Cordier and Seiichi Yamamoto). Check out their album 'Hasselt' (also 2003!), which, unlike the Ché-SHIZU album mentioned, was in fact recorded in the fair city after which it is named.
This disc (a blue TDK Toughness CD-R, 650MB) is a bit of a mystery, there's no info to be found anywhere. I think it's basically something she copied herself in very limited quantities and handed out to friends or sold at concerts. Here's your chance to hear it for yourself. Oh, by the way, the third track (not the second one as is mentioned on the back (see scans), as the entire thing is preceded by a 2 minute warm-up) is a (slightly misquoted) cover of 'A Maid That['s] Deep In Love', a traditional but no doubt based on the Pentangle version, from their 1970 album 'Cruel Sister'. About the last 2 tracks (transliterated, 'Okoru' and 'Tokimeki no Hata') I have no information. Do you?
Hear me now.

Cremaster - 32,41 n/m² (2003)

Cremaster is of course a muscle somewhere down there in the scrotal area as well as a series of artsy films by Björk's boyfriend (what I've seen of them was terrible, just terrible), but more importantly it's the long-standing noisy improv duo of Ferran Fages (feedback mixing board and pick-ups; you may have encountered him in Ap'strophe, Atolón or Octante) and Alfredo Costa Monteiro (objects on electric guitar; you may also know him from his accordion work or his electronic compositions, or Octante again, or from I Treni Inerti). Today I'd like to present you with what is probably their hardest-to-find album, 32,41 n/m² (their fourth one, not counting that 3" on Sound323). Housed in a sandpaper cover, only 123 copies of this baby were made by the good people at Absurd in Attica. There aren't any left.
You're welcome.


    Yan Jun - Lamma Island Diary (2009)

    Remember how, way back, I mentioned field recording manipulator Yan Jun (颜峻), 'whom we'll perhaps hear more about later'? Well, this being later, here is his 2009 album 'Lamma Island Diary' (南丫岛日记, his full-length debut). Lamma Island (also known as 博寮, Pok Liu) is one of the largest among the islands that make up Hong Kong. A diary is usually a book but here apparently a bunch of sound files in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences. According to the label, this album 'opens up a whole new world for field recordings. From now on, field recordings will never be the same.' Obviously the hyperbole is strong here; can it just be good?
    Released in September 2009 on the fledgling Re-Records; check the link for translations of the Chinese track titles (they're also under 'Sorting' in the track info though, so relax. Just relax already.).

    Big Can - Big Can (2010)

    'Big Can' (大罐, which I presume one would read as 'Ōkan' in Japanese, possibly 'Dàguàn' in Chinese - but don't quote me on that) is the audio recording of a half hour long romp a bunch of Chinese and Japanese (and one Korean, and one French expat) sound artists had in April 2009 in a huge abandoned oil can in Zhujiajiao, Shanghai. Lots of discrete scraping, ululating and, erm, banging going on here, everything enriched by the amazing reverb provided by this special location, which has since been demolished. Of those present, the 2 Japanese are by far the most well-known here: the ever-reliable couple of Sachiko M (M for Matsubara) and Ōtomo Yoshihide ( 大友良英 - Ōtomo is his last name, by the way, people often get that wrong because many Japanese artists give their first name first nowadays, to accommodate us forinners I suppose). The one Korean guy here, Ryu Hankil (류한길), should also be represented by a couple of discs on your shelves by now. Then there is a certain Olivier Heux who apparently is French-born but moved to China and adopted a Chinese name (小圈), and a bunch of 'real' Chinese: Yuen Cheewai (袁志伟), Yan Jun (颜峻), Yang Ge (杨戈), Xiao Qiang (小强), Hong Qile (洪启乐), Gogo J (aka Jie Sheng, 盛洁), Tao Yi (陶轶) and (骏园). To tell you the truth, the only one of these I'm a bit familiar with is field recording manipulator Yan Jun, whom we'll perhaps hear more about later. I can't say what all these people were doing in that big ol' can (some of them didn't do anything if the label description is to be believed), but it sounds like it must have been a special occasion.
    This was released last year on Kwanyin and was noticed by 7 people outside of East-Asia. Ok, I exaggerate, but still - if this had been on a cool Japanese label about 50x as many people would have heard of this, am I right? Anyway.
    New link!


    V/A - Outsinging the Nightingale: Lost Treasures of Bulgarian Music 1905-1950 (2010)

    What better way to appease the countless fans of this blog, after such a long drought, than with 4 discs (306 minutes) chock-full of old Bulgarian songs sourced from original 78s, released last year on JSP? No scans this time and a lower bitrate than you're usually regaled with here, but hey - just buy it why don't you. In fact, if you are pleasantly tickled by this and are ready to hit that order button, please do so from the expert compiler (Lauren Brody) herself.
    Unlike the actual box set, this rip contains a tracklist in Cyrillic for us Friends of All Languages.
    Parts 1 and 2.


    The Sealed Knot - Surface / Plane (2001)

    Now that all of you have finally trawled the depths of that amazing Vajra album, we can move on. So. Aside from a Royalist association during the English interregnum in the 1650s, The Sealed Knot is also the improvising trio of Burkhard Beins (rubbed percussion), Rhodri Davies (harp) and Mark Wastell (who was still playing the cello in those days). 'Surface / Plane' was their first CD (released in 2001 on Jon Morgan's now defunct Meniscus label, I think this was the label's last release actually) aside from a very hard to find untitled CDR on Confront one year earlier (hey, anyone like to make a guest post of that?). More recent albums were again on Confront and most recently on Another Timbre. When this one was released, it was considered a part of the New London Silence, but nobody uses that term anymore. Let's just call it eai and be done with it. All three players have earned their credentials in this area, Beins in Polwechsel, Phosphor, SLW, Trio Sowari, Activity Center etc., Davies also in SLW and furthermore in Broken Consort, Ist, Cranc, London Improvisers Orchestra, Assumed Possibilities etc., and Wastell in Assumed Possibilities and Broken Consort as well, oh and also in Ist and London Improvisers Orchestra, and furthermore in Quatuor Accorde, The Scotch of St. James, Belaska, Oceans of Silver & Blood, etc etc... If these guys are all so prolific, how come nobody has heard of them? We'll leave that question for another time. For now, enjoy these hushed explorations (in the words of Jason Bivins: 'the slow hissing or whining, the sudden rustles or thwacks, the delicate pizzicato like tiny droplets on the still surface of a pond'), and check out some of the other work these guys have done.


    Vajra - Mandala Cat Last (2002)

    One of my favourite albums of all time, this: the 5th (not counting that 3") and by far the best album by Japanese supergroup Vajra (跋折羅), the mighty trio of hoarse acid folk troubadour Kan Mikami on vocals and guitar (三上寛), the uncategorizable but instantly recognizable percussion of long-time Kazuki Tomokawa associate Toshiaki Ishizuka (石塚俊明), and last but not least - Keiji Haino (灰野敬二)! (What? He needs no warm-up talk, he's freaking Keiji Haino!)
    This 2002 release (on P.S.F., like all Vajra albums) is usually referred to as 'Mandala Cat Last', though that's actually a fusion of the Japanese title (Mandalaキ・『やっと』 - 'Mandala ki - yatto') and the English one ('Cat Last'), both of them for reasons unfathomable to me (and probably you) making the same awkward pun (yatto is Japanese for 'at last'). But enough of that, on to the music.
    Vajra is a very unstable but thrilling mix of three masters, a cocktail of psychedelic rock, hypnotic blues, unhinged improv jamming, folk and traditional Japanese song forms all twisted and mangled, feedback noise and ululations - basically all the great skills that the members of the group have perfected over several decades each crashing head-first into each other. Are you excited? You should be. The third track here is probably one of my top 3 favourite songs of all time - every bit as spine-chilling the 100th time you hear it as it was the first. When the first one takes flight, you hope it will never end. The fourth one is a very simple yet moving a cappella take on an obscure Mikami song, コップは壊れるだろう ('Koppu wa kowareru darō', 'The Cup Will Break'), from way, way back (it first appeared on his 2nd album, 三上寛のひとりごと, 'Mikami Kan no hitorigoto', 'Kan Mikami's Monologue', 1972 that was). OK, let's have a look at that tracklist.

    1.    オレには空が緑に見える (Ore ni wa sora ga midori ni mieru) - The Sky Looks Green to Me
    2.    日本のコーラは甘い! (Nihon no kōra wa amai!) - Japanse Cola Is Sweet!
    3.    猿は拝まない (Saru wa ogamanai) - Monkeys Don't Pray
    4.    曼荼羅TOOT(H) (Mandara TOOT(H)) - Mandala TOOT(H)
    5.    亡音 (Bōon) - Sound Deadening
    6.    疑傷 – 武蔵へ – (Gishō - Musashi e -) - Playing Wounded - For Musashi

    Transliteration is a bit of a problem on the last 2 songs here, since the titles there, as far as I can tell, seem to be freshly coined by (probably) Mikami himself, and you never know with those devilish kanji. The translations are reliable, they are by Alan Cummings, the number one (and only?) go-to-guy for freaky Japanese singer-songwriters wanting to see what their lines look like in correct English (see scans).

    Michael Pisaro - July Mountain (Three Versions) (2010)

    Michael Pisaro has been, for some time now, all the rage in a tiny section of the experimental music fanatics crowd. Unfortunately that section is so small that even within said segment of the populace, nobody has ever heard of the guy. At least that's my impression, what's yours?
    Pisaro is part of the Wandelweiser collective, a German group of musicians who are linked by their explorations in minimalist sound and an office outside Düsseldorf. The most 'famous' member of the club is probably Austrian trombonist, composer and improviser Radu Malfatti; some others are Manfred Werder, Antoine Beuger and Jürg Frey, but don't feel bad if you are not familiar with them.
    Pisaro's output rate has gone steeply up in recent years, with several volumes of 'Transparent Cities' and other compositions being released on Edition Wandelweiser, and a bunch of other albums scattered in between. One of the most beautiful results is 'July Mountain', a piece that was originally released as a very limited edition 3" CD on Engraved Glass, the label of most prolific field recordist and sound artist of all times, Jez Riley French (lots of music to be found there too, go listen). On 'July Mountain' (inspired by a Wallace Stevens poem), several layers of percussion played by regular Pisaro collaborator Greg Stuart are topped off with recordings of environmental sounds and a handful of piano chords, resulting in some of the most immersive 20 minutes of sound you'll ever come across.
    October 2010 saw the inauguration of Pisaro's very own label, Gravity Wave; one of the first releases was a reissue of 'July Mountain' with 2 alternative versions of the piece, one of them with a different set of field recordings, the other stripped of any environmental sounds at all, revealing the rich layers underneath; if you wish, you can provide some of your own.
    This is only one of a bunch of great Pisaro recordings that can still be obtained (check out the other three on Gravity Wave as well, the duo with Taku Sugimoto on Erstwhile, and definitely don't miss out on 'A Wave and Waves', also released last year but on Cathnor this time, and also realized by Greg Stuart - beautiful work), so spend generously, the rewards are ample.


    Kazuki Tomokawa - Ore no uchi de nariyamanai mono (1978)

    The complete title is 俺の裡で鳴り止まない詩~中原中也作品集 (Ore no uchi de nariyamanai mono - Nakahara Chūya sakuhinshū). I only noticed the tiny furigana next to 詩 recently, I always read it as 'uta'. In any case, the title means 'Poems that won't stop crying inside of me - Collection of works by Chūya Nakahara', and this is the 4th studio album by bluesy folk hero Kazuki Tomokawa (友川かずき); if you've been following this blog, you should know him by now. This is one from the first 2 decades of Tomokawa's career, before he was picked up by P.S.F. Records, and these albums are to this day far less easy to obtain than the later ones. The songs, settings of poems by Nakahara (whom you can get to know better here) are quite lavishly orchestrated. Once you get to know them, you can treat yourself to a comparison with 中原中也作品集 (yes, that's basically the same title, with the first line omitted), a 2003 album (it was originally only to be found in the lavish P.S.F.-released 13-CD box) on which Tomokawa records all these songs again solo. I kind of like the almost bombastic arrangements on some of the versions here, though they may be an acquired taste for some.
    Tracklist with transliterations and translations (the latter taken from Tomokawa's official site):

    1. サーカス (Sākasu) - The Circus
    2. 臨終 (Rinjū) - One's Dying Hour
    3. 湖上 (Kojō) - Upon the Lake
    4. 帰郷 (Kikyō) - Going Back Home
    5. 桑名の駅 (Kuwana no eki) - Kuwana Station
    6. 夏の日の歌 (Natsu no hi no uta) - Song of a Summer Day
    7. 汚れっちまった悲しみに (Yogorechimatta kanashimi ni) - For the Tainted Sorrow
    8. 春の日の夕暮 (Haru no hi no yūgure) - Dusk of a Spring Day
    9. 六月の雨 (Rokugatsu no ame) - Rainfall in June
    10. 坊や (Bōya) - Sonny Boy      

    The album was released in 1978 on Bellwood and reissued in 1990 on King. The rip was made from this CD reissue. There is a later remastered reissue (from ca. 2003?) that I haven't heard, but this one sounds fine to me. Files are tagged in Japanese for your pleasure. Scans included, because you deserve it.
    By the way: when is that documentary going to be released on DVD already??


    Olivier Capparos & Lionel Marchetti - Livre des morts (2008)

    This is the soundtrack to 'Livre des Morts', a film by Éric Pellet. It was composed in 2002-2003, but not released until 2008, on British label Entr'acte (good taste in music, not so much in packaging). Sound cinematographer Lionel Marchetti is joined here by composer Olivier Capparos for what they call 'a musical journey along the path we all must travel when, as humans, we confront our own mortality'. What that translates to in audio terms I will leave up to you discover, but take it from me: if you've never heard any Marchetti, you're in for a wonderful discovery. Check him out if you thought Luc Ferrari's 'Presque rien' was rather neat. It was only a matter of time before someone sampled Johannes from Carl Theodor Dreyer's 'Ordet' (1955), right?
    The same duo released another composition from the same period ('Equus') on Pogus in 2009. This one here was released in a limited run of 300 copies but somehow is still listed as available, so start ordering some discs already.

    Link removed at the request of the label - 2nd edition now available!


    Damon & Naomi - Monday, January 19th, 2004 At Kichijoji Manda-la 2, Tokyo (2005)

    Mention was made here recently (in the Kim Doo Soo post) of Damon & Naomi (you know, formerly Galaxie 500). Here's a little something they released on the side in 2005, supported as they often were (still are?) by Michio Kurihara (栗原ミチオ), who played guitar in Ghost, The Stars and White Heaven. My main interest in this short live recording is the fourth track, which is a cover version of Kazuki Tomokawa (友川かずき)'s song 私の花 ('Watashi no hana', translated here as 'My Flower'), from his 1993 album 花々の過失 ('Hanabana no kashitsu', aka 'Fault of Flowers'). There's also covers of Caetano Veloso ('Araçá Azul'), Jacks ('Love', which is a version of their 遠い海へ旅に出た私の恋人 / 'Tōi umi e tabi ni deta watashi no koibito' if I'm not mistaken - a more literal translation would be 'My Lover Who Went on a Journey to a Distant Sea') and - a standard by now even in D&N's repertoire - Tim Buckley's 'Song to the Siren'. Taishi Takizawa (瀧澤大志) plays flute on the last 2 songs; he was also in Ghost. This was a CDR release for Japanese label Disk Union, numbered to 100 copies. The title given here is what is printed on the disc itself.


    Taku Sugimoto - Italia (2001)

    For some years now, I've had a lot of trouble relating to the work of Japanese guitarist, improviser and composer Taku Sugimoto (杉本拓). He seems to be disappearing into a black hole of theoretical concerns, and the resulting music is more often than not too dry, too absent to connect with. There was a time though when his playing was a lot less hesitant, a lot more spirited and soulful. To hear that Sugimoto, you need only return to such masterpieces as his solo album 'Opposite' (1998 HatNoir), or 'The World Turned Upside Down' (2000 Erstwhile, an improv trio with Keith Rowe and Günter Müller), or some of his duos with Kevin Drumm or Annette Krebs.
    'Italia' marks something of a transitional phase. Released in 2001 (and for years now impossible to find), it was also the first release on French label A Bruit Secret, they of the design even more minimal than the music. Four years later they would release 'Principia Sugimatica', which is unlistenable (well, almost completely inaudible) to me; apparently they'll stick with him however far he's willing to go. I gave up on 'Principia' immediately, but the concert recordings from Bologna and Milan that make up 'Italia' can captivate me. In the words of Dan Warburton: 'The music is, for the most part, exceedingly quiet, nearly empty (the word is more appropriate than "minimal," and Sugimoto's recent work has become even emptier), but once the ear becomes attuned, it's delicate, fleet (surprisingly active in places), melodic, and extremely beautiful.'


    Nmperign & Jason Lescalleet - In Which the Silent Partner-Director Is No Longer Able to Make His Point to the Industrial Dreamer (1999)

    Nmperign is the improvising duo of Greg Kelley (trumpet) and Bhob Rainey (soprano sax), and this is their first collaboration with Jason Lescalleet (tape loops, computer on the last track, don't play that one too loud if you care about your speakers), who has been mentioned here a couple of times before. This early work does not yet exhibit the amazing range that can be found on the much more well known double CD 'Love Me Two Times' (2006), but it's definitely well worth your time if you like detailed drones and buzzings and a creative approach to horns. Released in 1999 on Howard Stelzer's Intransitive Records in a run of 500 hand-numbered copies, this is another one of their lost treasures. Check this label out already, and buy 'Love Me Two Times' while you're there. Or some Lionel Marchetti. Go!


    Kim Doo Soo - Bohemian (1991)

    Here's a nice treat: 'Bohemian' (보헤미안), the third album by Korean folk singer/guitarist Kim Doo Soo (김두수). I also found the titles 자유로운 마음강변마을 사람들 and 'Jayuro-un ma-eum / Kang-byun ma-eul sa-ram-deul' for this somewhere, no idea what they mean or if they are correct. Let's call it 'Bohemian', shall we.
    Kim has gained many new fans in recent years because of his inclusion on 'International Sad Hits vol. 1', a compilation album released by the Damon & Naomi people on their 20 20 20 label, where he appeared alongside Kan Mikami (三上寛), Kazuki Tomokawa (友川かずき) and Fikret Kızılok, and because of his move to P.S.F. Records. This one, released in 1991 on Sea Ra Bul Records, predates all that though, and is rather hard to find. The trademark sound is there though (albeit with more accordion, cello, organ and harmonica here), the gorgeous wistfulness and quavering voice already in place. Here's what the track titles supposedly translate to:
    1. A Bohemian
    2. The People in the Riverside Village
    3. Free of my Hearts
    4. The Sun Shines on the Water (Ad Lib for Meditation)
    5. The River
    6. At the Distance
    7. The Secret of Green Barley Field
    8. The Shade of a Tree
    The cover shown here and in the scans is the one of the 2004 mini-gatefold CD reissue on Hyundai Records. Tracks are tagged in Korean.


    Michael Prime & Max Eastley - Hydrophony for Dagon (2006)

    Released in 2006 but recorded 10 years earlier in Copenhagen, this is a one-off collaboration between Michael Prime (of Morphogenesis and Negative Entropy) and sound sculptor Max Eastley. They both improvise here on tapes, objects and the like, and something labeled Hydroarc. And oh yes, they do it under water. Or something, I don't have any specifics here. Released on Absurd, when they were into those over-sized round fold-out covers (scans included).
    Re-upped! Here.


    Steve Roden - Ear(th) (2005)

    Sorry for the low activity lately, but here is another beautiful Steve Roden album to appease you. The audio part of a large installation at the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery (who also released this album the next year, in an edition of 2000 copies in a nice large booklet, complete scans of which are included). This large construction transforms earthquake date into music. One of Roden's most impressive creations, no doubt. And hey, what do you know, the resulting sound is very nice too. Check the pictures and text in the booklet for more information, or look here.


    John Hudak & Jason Lescalleet - Figure 2 (2001)

    Two sound artists improvise in a church in Massachusetts during a blizzard, one (Hudak) manipulating sounds extracted from his immediate environment, the other (Lescalleet) working his old reel-to-reel tape player. Together they create a rich tapestry of drones, rumbles and crackles. This CD edition, released in April 2001 on Intransitive and one of a bunch from their rich catalogue that is now sadly out of print, probably doesn't match the experience of the audience that day, but it's definitely enjoyable in its own right.


    Keith Rowe & Cor Fuhler - Doek 3 (2006)

    Cor Fuhler is an Amsterdam-born musician who plays prepared piano, solo and in tons of collaborations, such as his own Corkestra, Ōtomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Orchestra and MIMEO (Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra). Tabletop guitarist Keith Rowe is also in the latter, and was a founding member of the legendary free improvisation group AMM, but surely this is old news to anyone remotely into improvised experimental music. The two released a duo recording in 2007 entitled 'Culprit' as a download for purchase from the now defunct (and reborn as a regular CD label) 7hings. One year earlier though there was this semi-private release of a December 2003 recording on Fuhler's own Conundrom label. He has been using this name for over 10 years now for small releases in home-made cardboard-packaging and decoration, barely distributed, usually of him solo (the first one was credited to DJ Cor Blimey And His Pigeon), with the occasional collaborative recording (there's also one with Jim O'Rourke entitled 'F-O'R').This one was recorded less than a year after Rowe's fabulous duo with pianist John Tilbury on Erstwhile ('Duos for Doris'), and invites comparison. In the words of improvised music critic and Rowe expert Brian Olewnick: 'As with the Doris session, it’s Rowe who’s argumentative and prodding with the pianist adopting the role or conciliator and as on that recording, the results are exceedingly fine. Eventually, the calm wins out and the pair stroll away, arm in arm. A beautiful set.'
    New link!


    Ensemble Clément Janequin - Psaumes et chansons de la Réforme (2000)

    The Ensemble Clément Janequin, founded by countertenor Dominique Visse in 1978, are a hallmark name in the performance of French Renaissance music. On this compilation, the title of which translates to 'Psalms and chansons of the Reformation' (on the reissue it was changed, God knows why, to 'Chansons and psalms...'), they tackle some of the religious polyphonic material by Clément Janequin (from whom they took their name), Paschal de l'Estocart, Claude Le Jeune, Orlande (or Roland) de Lassus, and some less familiar names. The voices take central stage here: apart from Visse there's an alto, a tenor, 2 baritones and a bass. There is some modest accompaniment of lute and organs.


    Kazuki Tomokawa - Le Petit Papier Important & Detaramena Yoru (2010)

    Kazuki Tomokawa (友川かずき, or in recent years more often with his first name in katakana: 友川カズキ) is a Japanese folk singer, songwriter and poet. He's also a painter, a bicycle race fanatic, occasional actor and, reportedly, quite the skilled drinker. Born in the same year as Kan Mikami (三上寛), 1950, he too debuted in the first half of the 1970s, and over the years created a highly personal, very passionate style, accumulating a vast œuvre and eventually being picked up by PSF Records (originally a psych rock label, as the name - Psychedelic Speed Freaks - indicates). They have recorded together, too: a shared live album entitled 御縁 ('Goen', meaning 'Fate', but with a play on the word for '5 yen coin') was released in 1994; there was also a video cassette of the event. More video material was released in 2004: a live DVD entitled ピストル:渋谷アピア・ライブ 2003 ('Pistol: Shibuya Apia Live 2003'); a great concert, unfortunately not the greatest sound.

    With Vincent Moon's documentary on Tomokawa ('La Faute des Fleurs', referring to the 1993 album 花々の過失, 'Hanabana no Kashitsu' aka 'Fault of Flowers') doing the rounds at film festivals and in art theatres, Tomokawa's profile is finally on the rise. To tie in with this, a lavish book containing all (well, most of, I noticed some omissions) his lyrics from 1974 to 2010 has been published along with his new album 青いアイスピック ('Aoi Aisupikku', 'Blue Ice Pick'). It is entitled 'ユメは日々元気に死んでゆく ('Yume wa hibi genki ni shinde yuku'), which was already the title of a 1998 album (except there the kanji for the word 'yume' was used, rather than the katakana characters: 夢) and was translated there as 'Dreams Die Blithefully Day by Day'.

    The book, released by Million Shuppan (ミリオン出版) is housed in a cardboard slipcase that also contains an extra folder with a DVD inside: 大事な小さい紙/出鱈目な夜 ('Daiji na chiisai kami / Detarame na yoru', or as it is also labeled on the cover: 'Le Petit Papier Important & Detaramena Yoru'). The first part refers to 61 minutes of live recordings made in 'Kingdom of Belgium', France and Switzerland in 2006; the second part to a 47 minute concert recorded 7 August 2010 at a place called Cafe Gati. On top of this, there's an interview (in Japanese, no subtitles) of about 20 minutes.

    The whole package can still be obtained through various Japanese sources, but will cost you 69$ outside Japan. For us gaijin, this is perhaps a bit steep, considering that the book is entirely in Japanese. Since the DVD is not available separately, you can have a look here.

    Tracklists: below you'll find the Japanese titles, followed in the case of the European recordings with date and location of recording; a transliteration of each title followed by the translation as given on Tomokawa's site; and the album on which each track was first featured.

    大事な小さい紙 (Le Petit Papier Important) 27 Oct - 9 Nov 2006

    1. サーカス (rec. 28 Oct, Ghent, Belgium) (Saakasu / The Circus)
    from: 俺の裡で鳴り止まない詩~中原中也作品集~ / Ore no uchi ni de nariyamanai uta - Nakahara Chūya sakuhinshū / Poems That Won't Stop Crying From Within Me (1978)

    2. ジャン・ジュネに訊け (rec. 31 Oct, Bourogne, France) (Jan June ni kike / Ask Jean Genet)
    from: エリセの目 / Erise no me / The Eyes Of Elise (2001)

    3. おじっちゃ (rec. 2 Nov, Marseille, France) (Ojitcha / Grandpa)
    from: 肉声 / Nikusei / A Natural Voice (1976)

    4. ぜい肉な朝 (rec. 3 Nov, Lyon, France) (Zeiniku na asa / Fat In The Morning Light)
    from: ぜい肉な朝 / Zeiniku na asa / Fat In The Morning Light (1996)

    5. 似合った青春 (rec. 4 Nov, Geneva, Switzerland) (Niatta seishun / A Fitting Adolescence)
    from: 肉声 / Nikusei / A Natural Voice (1976)

    6. ピストル (rec. 6 Nov, Metz, France) (Pisutoru / Pistol)
    from: サトル / Satoru / Satoru (2003)

    7. 訳のわからん気持 (rec. 7 Nov, Strasbourg, France) (Wake no wakaran kimochi / Can't Comprehend The Meaning Behind These Emotions)
    from: サトル / Satoru / Satoru (2003)

    8. カラブラン (rec. 9 Nov, Nantes, France) (Kara Buran / Kara Bran)
    from: 青い水 赤い水 / Aoi mizu akai mizu / Blue Water, Red Water (2008)

    9. グッドフェローズ (rec. 4 Nov, Geneva, Switzerland) (Guddo ferōzu / Good Fellows)
    from: 一人盆踊り / Hitori bon-odori / Dance A Bonodori Alone (1995)

    出鱈目な夜 (Detaramena Yoru) 7 Aug 2010
    (the title is hard to translate, something like 'An Evening of Nonsense')
    subtitled in the cardboard folder: 欧州ツアー秘録 (Ōshū tsuā hiroku / European Tour, Secret Notes)

    1. 花あそび (Hana-asobi / Flower Trumps)
    from: 青いアイスピック / Aoi aisupikku / Blue Ice Pick (2010)

    2. 三種川 (Mitanegawa / Mitane River)
    from: イナカ者のカラ元気 / Inakamono no karagenki / A Bumpkin's Empty Bravado (2009)

    3. 海みたいな空だ (Umi-mitai na sora da / Look At The Sky, It's Like The Ocean)
    from: 無惨の美 / Muzan no bi / Beauty Without Mercy (1986)

    4. 顕信の一撃 (Kenshin no ichigeki / A Blow By Kenshin)
    from: 顕信の一撃 / Kenshin no ichigeki / A Blow By Kenshin (2002)

    5. シシャモ (Shishamo / A Smelt-Fish)
    from: エリセの目 / Erise no me / The Eyes Of Elise (2001)

    6. 先行一車 (Senkō Issha / Senkô Issha)
    from: 青いアイスピック / Aoi aisupikku / Blue Ice Pick (2010)

    7. 青い水 赤い水 (Aoi mizu akai mizu / Blue Water, Red Water)
    from: 青い水 赤い水 / Aoi mizu akai mizu / Blue Water, Red Water (2008)

    8. 絵の具の空 (Enogu no sora / Pigment Sky)
    from: イナカ者のカラ元気 / Inakamono no karagenki / A Bumpkin's Empty Bravado (2009)

    9. 明るい耳 (Akarui mimi / Bright Ears)
    from: 青いアイスピック / Aoi aisupikku / Blue Ice Pick (2010)

    10. 赤いポリアン (Akai porian / A Red Polyanthus)
    from: 赤いポリアン / Akai porian / A Red Polyanthus (2000)

    11. 生きてるって言ってみろ (Ikiteru 'tte itte miro / Say With Conviction, I Am Alive)
    from: 千羽鶴を口に咬えた日々 / Senbazuru o kuchi ni kuwaeta hibi / Clenching A Senbazuru In My Mouth Day After Day (1977)

    12. ワルツ (Bonus Track) (Warutsu / Waltz)
    from: 無惨の美 / Muzan no bi / Beauty Without Mercy (1986)

    Newly uploaded files, November 2011. The original zipped folder has been freshly cut up into 5 new chunks, so don't combine these with any original parts you may have - will not work!

    1 2 3 4 5


    Ground-Zero - Consume Red (1997)

    Throughout the '90s, Ground-Zero (yes, with hyphen) was Ōtomo Yoshihide's behemoth band, a seething cauldron of jazz, rock and noise, of reappropriation and sheer creative energy. Their last concert took place in Tokyo in March 1998 and was released on CD a year later, entitled: 'Last Concert'. It culminated in a thrilling 40 minute version of 'Consume Red', the massive project initially recorded only one year earlier, where samples of a recording by Korean National Treasure Kim Seok-chul (김석철) playing the hojok or taepyeongso (a double reed wind instrument, similar to a shawm) serves as the backbone for a slowly unfurling but ultimately crushing group improvisation. What you get here is that original version, all 57 glorious minutes of it. The people involved (first names first):

    Yoshihide Ōtomo (大友良英): turntables and guitar
    Sachiko M[atsubara] (松原幸子): sampler
    Yumiko Tanaka (田中悠美子): futozao-shamisen
    Masahiro Uemura (植村昌弘): drums
    Yasuhiro Yoshigaki (芳垣安洋): drums
    Naruyoshi Kikuchi (菊地成孔): soprano saxophone
    Mitsuru Nasuno (ナスノミツル): electric bass
    Kazuhisa Uchihashi (内橋和久): electric guitar, effects

    This beautiful monster was released in April 1997 on Creativeman Disc. (Japan) and on RéR (Recommended) in the UK. It was subtitled vol. 1 of the 'Consume / Consume Ground-Zero' project. 2 hard to find albums released within the following year contained remixes and reconstructions; they are entitled 'Conflagration' and 'Consummation', vols. 2 and 3.


    Rolf Julius - Wet Speakers (2009)

    The tribute continues...
    A CD-R release limited to 100 hand-numbered copies. It came out on the Canadian Oral label in 2009. Made available at Rolf Julius's Music for a Wide Plain performance, Oboro, Montreal, September 18, 2009. Sounds like an electro-acoustic rain forest.
    New link!


    Colloquio - Va Tutto Bene (2001)

    What, more Italian (dark) wave? This blog ran out of steam pretty fast...
    OK, so next time I'll go for something more predictably cool, but check this out - 'a sick and disturbed mixture between Depeche Mode and Le Masque. Deep, dense, morbid wave with impressive Italian lyrics - these melodies will break you into little pieces...' Says the press release, and they ought to know what they're talking about. This album has always had a special significance for me, even though it doesn't sound like anything else in my collection and it's quite likely that when presented with a supposedly similar band, I would hate it. I'm not sure what makes the difference for me here - it must be either the melodies or the vocals, or both; they are imbued with a gloomy warmth, while at the same time being very sober and restrained. I'm not sure what's up with all these depressed Italians, Le Masque too can sound pretty melancholy (check out some of the longer songs on 'Dal Diario di un Soffiatore di Vetro'). The guy on the cover here looks a bit like Samuel Beckett, another happy-go-lucky scamp.
    This was Colloquio's second full-length album; the first one was a self-released CD in 1997 ('...E lo spettacolo continua' - 'and the spectacle continues'), and even that was preceded by numerous cassette releases, as far back as 1993. I wonder if they took their name from that Le Masque 12". Unfortunately I haven't heard any of those tapes or even that first CD, so if someone can hook me up, please be so kind. From this album on (July 2001) they have been on Eibon Records. Label boss Mauro Berchi must be pretty fond on them: not only did he invite vocalist Gianni Pedretti to sing on a couple of songs on the next two albums by his own band, Canaan (more somber Italians), both bands even merged into a new project named Neronoia. Meanwhile there has also been another Colloquio album in 2007 ('Si Muove e Ride' - 'he moves and smiles'), which didn't really connect with me like 'Va tutto bene' ('all is well') did. Check this one out and tell me what you think. Translations below are my own.
    1. Un nome, una data (A Name, a Date)
    2. L'Appuntamento (The Appointment)
    3. Va tutto bene (All Is Well)
    4. Solo con me (Alone With Me)
    5. Benvenuti (Welcome)
    6. Tu che passi (You Who Go By)
    7. L'unica cosa che ho (The Only Thing I Have)
    8. Va tutto bene (II parte) (All Is Well (Part 2))
    9. Irraggiungibile (Unreachable)
    10. Io sono gli altri (I Am the Others)
    Some of the lyrics are very nice, maybe I'll translate those too some day. In the meantime:


    Bruno Meillier & Dan Warburton - Cho (2002)

    Some French improv of the busier variety, today, by Bruno Meillier (electronics only here) and Dan Warburton (violin & (prepared) piano). Sounds a bit old-fashioned with its prickly dark ambient backdrop and hyper-active scrabbling and string torture on top, but definitely enjoyable.
    Meillier is really a sax player, he was co-founder of Les i in 1979, and played on 'Les Sillons de la Terre' (1984), the fifth album of French avant-rock band Etron Fou Leloublan. Later he was in other bands such as Zeropop, Le Vaste Océan, Bruniferd and Ni Trêve, Ni Relâche, recorded duo albums with Toshimaru Nakamura (中村としまる) and Noël Akchoté, and a bunch of solo albums. Warburton meanwhile is a British expat in France and the man behind Paris Transatlantic webzine. He has written a lot of 'modern composition' pieces (won some prizes with those, too) and has recorded in the company of everyone from Tomas Korber to Nikos Veliotis (on his more abstract works), and from Arthur Doyle to his own band Return of the New Thing (on the jazzier end of the spectrum). These last few years he has been on stage a lot with Aki Onda (恩田晃) and Jac Berrocal. There was only one album by their duo project Cho (as in 蝶, 'butterfly'?). It was released on Meillier's SMI label (that stands for 'Saxophone & Musiques Innovatrices') in 2001 or perhaps rather 2002, not sure. Enjoy.
    PS. My copy is a bit scarred on the cover by a price tag, so... so is your scan.


    Le Masque - s/t (1995)

    This is a follow-up post to the Cellerino album, and a special request. Enjoy, Claudette! (And everyone else of course). Not sure what happened to my cover scan, btw. It's not supposed to be that wavy. Oh well.


    Azure Skies - Azure Skies (2001)

    Azure Skies was a one-off collaboration of Jan Carleklev and Håkan Paulsson (both in Sanctum) and David and Samuel Durling of Mental Destruction. I don't know the latter band, but Sanctum's 'Lupus in Fabula' (1996) is definitely one of the better albums on Swedish industrial/ambient label Cold Meat Industry. Their brand of rhythmic noise with dramatic synths and some angry or melancholy vocals now and then rubs off on this project, on Ant-Zen.
    The Sanctum guys also play in Mago, and Carleklev has a solo project named Parca Pace which I remember was pretty good. They are also in a number of other bands I haven't heard, as this is not really my 'field of expertise' or even major interest. But Sanctum and Azure Skies are potentially interesting to a (slightly) larger audience, I think. This is possibly what an industrial album made by the Neurosis guys would sound like. Maybe. You tell me.
    (There are 3 different covers for this release, mine has some rocks on it.)