Taku Sugimoto - Tori (2001)

The front, sporting artwork by Masae Tanabe.

By popular demand, here is yet more Taku Sugimoto (杉本拓). 'Tori', released as a slimcase CD by the Off Site gallery to coincide with an exhibition ('Birdy Program') of bird* paintings by Masae Tanabe (たなべまさえ), is from the same period as 'Italia', and though I enjoy it less than that one, it's definitely something people need to be able to check out. Therefore, as it has been out of print for over a decade, I feel it is my solemn duty to share it with you, and I do not take this duty lightly. Now could some other people with old and rare electro-acoustic improv recordings in their collection please follow my example?

The back of the CD. Not much to see, but posted here in the interest of historical research.

Four longish tracks here find Sugimoto-san performing live at the gallery, first on six-string bass guitar, next on electric guitar, then on contact microphone and his guitar case (!), and finally on acoustic guitar.
Limited to 400 copies, plus 100 additional copies that came with the book Tanabe issued especially for the exhibition.

*Tori (鳥) is the Japanese word for 'bird'. The kanji (character) is based on a drawing of a bird, as can be seen when you compare it to the bird in the artwork.

The bird is the word.


Otomo Yoshihide - Canary: Music from the Motion Picture (2005)

Today I present you with one of the countless film soundtracks that Ōtomo Yoshihide (大友良英)* has done over the years, most of which were hardly distributed at all outside Japan. This one is for カナリア ('Canary'), a 2005 film by Akihiko Shiota (塩田明彦) that I haven't seen (I've only seen 'Harmful Insect' (害虫), an earlier film by this same director).
Here's the IMDB synopsis for 'Canary':

Based on the true events of the deadly gas attacks perpetrated by members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult on the Tokyo subway system, CANARY tells the moving story of two children, each abandoned by their families, who come together in the wake of the scarring event.
Twelve-year-old Koichi has grown up within the confines of a religious cult whose violently instilled dogma has all but destroyed his sense of identity. After a murderous attack, the cult disbands and Koichi finds himself abandoned by his mother and forcibly separated from his sister. To reunite his broken family, Koichi breaks out of the child welfare system and sets off to Tokyo. While on the run, he meets Yuki, a girl desperate to flee from her abusive father.
Koichi and Yuki travel together in search of his sister, facing the inevitable troubles of children making their way in the world without the guidance or protection of adults. The separate scars of their pasts cause friction between the two, but their struggles develop a familial bond that allows them to confront both their pasts and the future ahead.
Beautiful and poignant, Akihiko Shiota's film illustrates the resiliency of forgotten youth in forging their own destiny from a tragic past.

Here's the tagline on the top of the CD cover:


And my loose translation:

After having been taken, they return.
Ten years later, the children are still standing on the front lines of the world.

The music isn't all by Otomo. This page at japanimprov.com can tell you much more about composer and performer credits. For this rip (which I've found online; for once, I don't own this album myself) I've credited track 11 to jazz singer and pianist 塩田明彦 (Mariko Hamada; she also sings on 2, 5 and 8, but this seems to be the only one she's composed herself), and track 14 to Zazen Boys-frontman 向井秀徳 (Shutoku Mukai; previously of Number Girls fame). The rest I've tagged as Otomo since he either composed or arranged it (I've transliterated his name but not the other 2; if you want full Japanese tags, feel free to change to 大友良英).
No empty turntables or guitar feedback here, of course. This is for the most part very accessible and polite soundtracky stuff, lots of real 'songs' with vocals, piano, synth, sax, etc., and some unexpected hip-hop towards the end. There's also one track that will put a smile on the face of anyone familiar with Ground-Zero's 'Consume Red'.

Track titles:
1. オープニング 
2. カナリア<遠雷MIX>
(Canary (Enrai Mix))
3. 光一と由希1
(Kōichi and Yuki 1)
4. カナリア<バスマリンバ・ヴァージョン>
(Canary (Bass Marimba Version)
5. 銀色の道 <バラード・ヴァージョン>
Gin'iro no Michi (Ballad Version)
6. 草原の女達
Sōgen no Onnatachi
7. 儀式
8. 銀色の道<ジャズ・ヴァージョン>
Gin'iro no Michi (Jazz Version)
9. 光一と由希2
(Kōichi and Yuki 2)
10. 光一と由希3
(Kōichi and Yuki 3)
11. Beyond
12. 銀色の道 <オリジナル・サウンドトラック・ヴァージョン>
Gin'iro no Michi (Original Soundtrack Version)
13. カナリア<インストゥルメント・ヴァージョン>
Canary (Instrumental Version)
14. 自問自答 <カナリアMIX>
Jimonjitō (Canary Mix)
(Title translations can be found on the same japanimprov page)

The album was released in 2005 on the 美音堂 label (punningly transliterated as Beyondo; it's actually Biondō, which one might render as something like 'hall/temple (堂, dō) of beautiful (美, bi) sounds/voices (音, on)'). No-one outside Japan noticed.

*His first name is Yoshihide by the way, not Otomo - many people seem to think it's the other way around, perhaps because he has adhered to the traditional Japanese order of names (last name first) on almost all his releases, even when other musicians haven't. When transcribing Japanese names on this site I usually put the last name last, western-style (for instance Akihiko Shiota), but for Otomo I make an exception.