Month / April 2017

/ April 28, 2017 / Comments Off on Syoko: Soil (1986)

Syoko: Soil (1986)

Everytime I put on Syoko’s Soil I have to do a double-take. Seriously? The music coming out of my headphones right now was made by the same person who created the My Neighbor Totoro soundtrack and Kichijoutennyo. Sonically, I can see the connection to the latter but stretching the conceit to his countless Miyazaki soundtracks seems to question his elasticity […]

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/ April 26, 2017 / Comments Off on Büdi Siebert: Hmm… (1983)

Büdi Siebert: Hmm… (1983)

New age records shouldn’t sound (or look!) as fun as German Büdi Siebert’s Hmm…, but I wager no one ever asked Büdi where his records should be classified. If I could compare him to anyone, it would most likely be Don Cherry, a similar artist who has no specific style but a magnificent taste in music. Straddling […]

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/ April 24, 2017 / Comments Off on Sheila Chandra: Quiet! (1984)

Sheila Chandra: Quiet! (1984)

It still boggles my mind that Quiet! was in fact crafted by the same artist who sang in the proto-Asian Underground hit “Ever So Lonely“. A severe departure from the proto-Asian Underground Pop she’s known for, Quiet! showed Sheila Chandra working untethered, trying to go beyond the Orientalism of her past work and push it forward in directions that weren’t entirely […]

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Just look at that album cover. Mio Fou’s self-titled debut has an album cover that has fascinated me to no end. You see, the utterly sublime music found in Mio Fou must have some connection to this image. For months I struggled to define what time of the year this picture was taken and what time of […]

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/ April 19, 2017 / Comments Off on Ric Kaestner: Music For Massage (1982)

Ric Kaestner: Music For Massage (1982)

What a lovely hour of music. What’s else is there to say about Ric Kaestner’s criminally unknown Music For Massage? “an hour of soothing music designed for massage therapy” is what the cassette cover states on the Japanese-influenced woodblock album artwork, for once who am I to disagree? Made up of two cassette sides – one a-side devoted […]

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/ April 17, 2017 / Comments Off on Yas Kaz: Shinran/Path To Purity (1987)

Yas Kaz: Shinran/Path To Purity (1987)

Originally recorded to soundtrack Rentarō Mikuni’s Jury Prize-winning Cannes film festival “Shinran: Path to Purity”, Yas Kaz’s own Shinran/Path To Purity does well to exist on its own, outside the cinema. Taking cues from the original story of Shinran, the Buddhist monk who promoted a very egalitarian method to spirituality/salvation, so does Yas Kaz transform his knowledge of Japanese […]

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/ April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Geinoh Yamashirogumi: Ecophony Gaia (1990)

Geinoh Yamashirogumi: Ecophony Gaia (1990)

Deep, deep, earth music from Tsutomu Ōhashi and the Geinoh Yamashirogumi crew. A macrosymphony composed for the International Garden and Greenery Exposition in Osaka, Japan, 1990, Ecophony Gaia, was supposed to be the stunning, aural centerpiece for a light and water performance system echoing the sentiment of the venue: “Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind.”

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/ April 10, 2017 / Comments Off on Hiroki Okano: 1987-1990 (1991)

Hiroki Okano: 1987-1990 (1991)

Hiroki Okano’s debut 1987-1990 is startling in more ways than one. A trailblazing stew of new form Japanese ambient and new age minimal music isn’t something you normally see coming out of Germany’s Innovative Communication label. Also surprising, is that for such a fully formed debut, what we’re hearing is actually a collection of works spanning three years […]

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/ April 7, 2017 / Comments Off on Michael Karoli & Polly Eltes: Deluge (1984)

Michael Karoli & Polly Eltes: Deluge (1984)

Even for me, what I’m going to write next seems something out of a fever dream. Polly Eltes, elite, English model/actress seen in the pages of Italian Vogue, and on the catwalks of Europe, teams up with CAN guitarist Michael Karoli to create a forward-thinking blast of Fourth World dub music. If I didn’t have […]

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/ April 4, 2017 / Comments Off on Flávio Venturini: Nascente (1982)

Flávio Venturini: Nascente (1982)

There are few albums that just put me in a special place. Flávio Venturini’s Nascente is one of them. When it’s on, it seems my whole spirit bends to its will. Overrun with string instruments, mostly warm-sounding, and some of the most captivatingly tender harmonies on any side of the hemisphere, or era, Nascente just has […]

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