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.