takashi kokubo

Just reading about Takashi Kokubo makes one feel decidedly less accomplished. Since the early ‘80s, Edokko Takashi has been knee-deep in the environmental music world. Outside of Japan, few would know that he is responsible for perhaps some of the most terrifying sounds you’ll ever want to hear.

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beckers

Günther Beckers music has a perfect word for it: Gesamtkunstwerk. Gesamtkunstwerk is an interdisciplinary artistic work combining various disciplines — music, painting, poetry and design. Wagner conjured up this idea when trying to produce a work that could also wrap in artistic ideas derived from theatrical, poetic, and musical influences. Aesthetics would be the English word we’d create to wrap around one whole artistic ethos for a movement. Extremely personal in execution, it was Günther Beckers’ 1982 release Walkman that really put this idea into fruition.

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黒いドレスの女 OST

This is such a rare album, for a truly forgotten movie. Masahide Sakuma and dip in the pool’s soundtrack for 黒いドレスの女 (otherwise known as Kuroi Doresu No Onna/A Woman With A Blass Dress) hints at darker themes underlying the whole movie. The movie itself, one starring Tomoyo Harada, was a sexy noir movie based on a novel by Kenzo Kitagata. Based in an imaginary city somewhere outside of Tokyo, Tomoyo plays the titular role as a femme fatale trying to seek vengeance for some bad done unto her.

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The Journey

A personal favorite of mine, not because it’s his greatest work — I’d wager more people expect the late, great Swedish guitar maestro Thomas Almqvist’s Balearic masterpiece Nyanser to be that one — but because it’s the one that sounds the most honest to where I come from. Thomas Almqvist’s The Journey was his second album exploring the interconnection between experimental guitar technique and what seemed to be a very personal, spiritual journey. Meant to evoke the mystical, otherworldly vibe of the American southwest — an idea easily captured by the reworking of Ansel Adam’s meditative photographic masterpiece “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” for its cover — although recorded in Sweden, The Journey has all the trappings of someone moored by all sorts of shamanistic, environmental ideas far from any man-made border.

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7-FOND_SOUND

I was going to write about how much I appreciate all of you, the readers, who keep visiting this blog and give your precious time to discover music I feel passionate about. It’s been over a year since FOND/SOUND began. It’s because of your encouragement and support that this labor of love keeps going. With that in mind, I wanted to show some gratitude by making a playlist full of love songs, ones that are both easily apparent and some that take a bit to fulfill that choice. In doing so, I was inspired by the words and early life of one Brett Raymond who kicks off the whole mix.
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Proof positive that maybe the Germans were on to something. In 1979, the independent German music critics’ association bestowed upon Santiago’s Walking the Voodoo Nights their highest honor, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis. For album of the year — knee deep in the time of punk and post-punk — one wouldn’t think that such a high honor would be given to something that sounds decidedly out of step with the critical mass. Listening to the album one can’t help but understand why. A sterling example of how many ideas you can eke out of AOR, boogie, and Latin-lilting funk, Walking the Voodoo Nights still has an undeniable groove that can make anyone a believer of what they heard.

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Flora 1987

There’s something about fall that makes me play Hiroshi Yoshimura’s music much more often. On prior albums like GreenA・I・R (Air In Resort), and Soundscape 1: Surround, Hiroshi perfectly seized on exactly what “environmental music” could be and how it could differ from BGM (background music). No longer mere ambient music, it was decidedly rich, melodic experimentation that seemed to enhance or project precisely what mood Hiroshi was aiming for. On this archival release, Flora 1987, recorded in 1987 and released on CD in 2006, Hiroshi Yoshimura finds a new twist to take the more melodic part of that equation. In this time of gloomy, darken skies, Flora 1987 adds an uplifting swoop to any day.

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takami hasegawa L'Ecume Des Jours

These are the kind of stories that make me smile. Truth be told, there is desperately little story out there to tell of Takami Hasegawa’s sole release L’Ecume Des Jours (a nod to Boris Vian’s novel Froth on the Daydream…). Singer-songwriter Takami Hasegawa from Fukushima decides to release an album of Gallic-style, Les Disques du Crépuscule-influenced vocal Jazz Pop, enlists master Japanese session jazz artists like Chito Kawachi (percussionist/producer), Hideo Ichikawa (on keys), and Kunimithu Inaba (on fretless bass) to sculpt her ideas, does so in 1983, and promptly falls off the musical map — that’s what written history I could scrounge up anywhere. That’s not what makes me smile.

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/ November 7, 2017 / Comments Off on New Child: Rehabilual (1990)

New Child: Rehabilual (1990)

rehabilual

Maybe Harry Hosuono was onto something? Mishio Ogawa, the “Trance” part of the Love, Peace, & Trance equation…and also ex-lead singer for Japanese experimental New Wave act Chakra…seemed like an odd choice to be one of the three vocalists for his eclectic and forward-thinking quasi-ambient techno group of the same name. However, judging by the music found in New Child’s one and only album, Rehabilual, Mishio was already primed lead him further down some mystical rabbit hole.

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/ November 3, 2017 / Comments Off on Pictures: Pictures (1983)

Pictures: Pictures (1983)

pictures1983

I’m still floored that such an album like Pictures exists and that it exists in such an arrested state of discovery. In 1983, Andy Stennett and John Rocca, of influential British electro-funk group Freeez, decide to hide away from their record label and sure chart-topping success (courtesy of their infamous/ubiquitous hits, “Southern Freeez” and “IOU”) to record something completely unexpected. Released in 1983, and never reissued since then, Pictures remains another forgotten masterpiece to childhood nostalgia.

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