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VA - Obscure Independent Classics Vol. 4 - Special Japanese Edition (1987)
As a follow-up to the last post, here's Vol. 4 of Obscure Independent Classics - Alan Jenkins' twisted collection of what he considers "classics". This one is even less accessible than Vol. 2, and that's saying something. These two are the only in the series in my record collection, so if anybody happens to have Vol 1 or Vol 3, please send me a note. Cheers.
Again, Alan's one sleeve notes:
LP - ERICAT025
Huge Box - The Bien
Ein 0041 - Quino
Kyo de Sayonara - Momo
Through the heavenly eyes - The Flag
Barren Land - Man Decade
Drow the Curve - Dea
Blue Rose - Suttee
Cheerful Afternoon - Roly Poly
An Idle Land - S. Core
Cowboy Go Ahead - Camp Three
Lusefeea - Haginsha
Eastern Blue - Femme Fatale
Back of Universe - Mamo Bell
Gomenne - Ten Nin Go Sui
Gulliver Takes a Walk - Circadian Rhythm
Acryl baby - Iris Underground
Those of you who own copies of Obscure Independent Classics Volume Three may
remember a group called 'S.Core'; well the man behind S.Core is Yutaka Tanaka,
and he selected all of the tracks for this L.P. and posted them to me from
Tokyo. I've also been corresponding with him for the last year trying to find
out various details about the groups on this record., the Japanese music scene
generally and the history of music in Japan. I thought that there was probably
a Japanese musical tradition going back centuries which has made the
independent scene somehow different to the one in the west, but apparently this
isn't the case; the bands that Yutaka mentioned as being influential are
Bauhaus, Siouxsie, The Sex Pistols, The Cure, Depeche Mode and New Order. There
really must be some sort of indiginous Japanese influence too because the
band's on this record don't sound all
much like the aforementioned British groups, but I couldn't find anything out
about it. What the hell? The tracks can speak for themselves can't they? Well,
some of them can. Some of them can tap dance, and one track near the beginning
of side two has just made a model of Sydney opera house out of matchsticks.
Appart from that I have a few details about the individual contributers written
on little folded pieces of paper...lets see now...
THE BIEN means 'the beautiful flame' in Japanese, but apparently it also means
'nasal catarrh'.....a double meaning you see...er...this lot
a bit like Depeche mode. There are three of them: Chiko, Takeshi and Shu.
qUINO was formed in 1981 by two lesbians. Gosh. Although they were subsequently
joined by someone else (a male) in 1985. I have a list of lots of interesting
things they've done here such as taking part in 'a musical performance that
highlighted the architectural drawings show inside the art museum', and they
composed a piece of music "Called aware of New Musics 1 & 2" with "Mies Van der
Rohe", but I don't really know what any of it means. Anyway, they appear to
have made some cassettes which look like they might be interesting. They're on
DIN Records in Japan.
MOMO was formed a couple of years ago by some people at Kyoto University,
Takeuchi Tatsuto (keyboards) and Tadakara Himari (vocals, and writes the songs)
being the main members. There's also Kimura Hiromi (guitar) and Alistair Swale
(bass). They like Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins and their hobbies include
gardening and scrabble. No, sorry, I made up the last bit.
THE FLAG seem particularly keen not to be called 'THE FROG!' I don't know what
this means . It's just what it says on this piece of paper. They're going to
make a single soon. Why not write and ask them what they meant about the frog ?
MAN DECADE have been going since 1983. They made a single called "Eschatology"
in 1985. The members are Satoshi Iwase and Yutaka Tanaka....just a minute...I
know that name...
DEA are: Hiroko Yoshihara (Vocals, keyboards), Shinichi Omata (keyboards), and
SUTTEE are lead by Yumiko Kobayashi who, it's explained here, is female. It
also says 'Suttee will lead you to a distant place'.
ROLY POLY's songs are popular and rich in variety. (Yes I'm just copying out
the piece of paper again). "God only knows what kind of sound Roly Poly will
play next time..." It goes on. This is probably Yutaka Tanaka again.
S.CORE. This is definitely Yutaka Tanaka.
CAMP 3 are Hashizo Maruta (vocals), Kinya Umeno (guitar), Kaichiro Sugiyama
(bass), and Taisuke Kamigauchi (drums). This is apparently based on folk music.
Yutaka Tanaka probably isn't on that one. I don't appear to have any
information on Haiginsha...so I'll make some up...
HAIGINSHA is a team of fresh water squid who record music directly onto
magnetic tape by emitting electrical impulses. There. One of them is probably
Yutaka Tanaka. Hey, I hope you guys aren't going to take offence at this sort
of thing......lets get back to reality for a moment.......oh this sounds
interesting, I'll just copy out the piece of paper again...
"FEMME FATALE is the units formed in early 1986 by Mr. Hisayoshi Mukae
(mandolin & violin) and Mr. Junpei Taniguchi: (quitar and synthesisers). They
are seeking unique pop music so-called ESNOPOPS. Mr Mukae's technique of the
electronic mandolin is really worth appreciation." I'll second that ; and I
hope they find that ESNOPOP real soon.
MAMO-BELL is Mamoru Takahashi's solo project. Ambient music. mm.
The next one is another complicated one so I'll write it out again:
TEN NIN GO SUI - Amiable, tender, sweet-voiced and fiendish women - on March
1986 Akiko and Yuko started Ten nin go sui: means: five processes of the
celestial death. From first they are are backed up from able staffs (fashion
co-ordinators and interia designers) so, their stages are always visual. Then
their voices - Erose's voices in the tragedy of ancient Greece - decoy you to
the world of women's rancor.
Woman's Value 1. The womb curses dark and damp histories of women. The fact we
were born from the same womb was inherited to our daughters and their
daughters. Even if we wipe it off it over and over again, it adheres to our
fingers and our hair. It weigh heavily on women's days after we die. after we
die. after we die. (words by Yuko).
Members: Akikio Ishizawa (vocals, keyboards), Yuko Suzuki (vocals, piano), Rie
CIRCADIAN RHYTHM are Kohtaro Tamaka (guitar), Keiko Murayama (voices), Masahiro
Ohsato (percussion), Chisumi Kuratani (bass, casio, voice) and Toshiyuki
Kikuchi (guitar). They say: "we have been collecting sounds we adore in
everyday life in culturally, musically, environmentally, chaotic tokyo." This
song was used in an American independent film; and there's a single available
through Recommended Records. Some lyrics:
I throw away dislike sound
Through the dead trees
Remember to forget
When I turn that corner.
So that just leaves:
IRIS UNDERGROUND: this one says: "Iris, the goddess of rainbow from the ancient
greek myths. Iris Undergorund reminds me of rainbow in the underground world or
a little girl Iris's adventure there."
YUTAKA TANAKA Track selection and Artist liaison.
ALAN JENKINS Editing and executive production.
SATOSHI IWASE Arranged the photographs.
All titles are published by Octagonal Rabbit Music (1987)
The writers of the tracks are thus:
1. Takeshi Suzuki
2. Akihiro Uchida
3. Himari Tadakara
4. Kkoi Takahachi
5. Yutaka Tanaka
6. Hiroko Yoshihara
7. Yumiko Kobayashi
8. Yutaka Tanaka