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Rick Potts / Krewton the Knewtron
Previously unreleased material by the legendary Rick Potts of the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS), to commemorate his solo tour of Japan.
Raw, lo-fi avant-garde experiments with field recording, improvisation and tape music, recorded in the late seventies when Rick was in his early twenties. Featuring contributions by Le Forte Four and Doodooettes on one track, and two recently recorded unreleased tracks.
"In 1977 I wanted to make an animated film filled with the strange creatures in my sketch book. I called it From the Land of the Trushkin Ploon. There was no real story but it was to be a film with no words that would be a documentary of the odd figures I was drawing. I wanted to have a soundtrack to go with it. It is customary in animation to create the soundtrack first and than make animation to fit the sound. I began working on sounds and music for this film idea as well as drawing. The project was never realized except for the drawings and recordings. As I made the four-track recordings I made cassette mixes to listen to. This is what has been digitized for the CD along with sounds captured directly onto a portable cassette recorder. Also included are a couple of songs from later years. All recording were made in 1977 or 1978 except the last two songs."
Includes liner notes in English and Japanese. Original Rick Potts cover painting and illustrations. Twenty tracks, 38 minutes.
REIZEN / 3rd
Guitar - Atsushi Reizen
First PSF release of 2012 – the steel-eyed and drop-dead gorgeous third album by the ex-Nerae drone guitarist Atsushi Reizen.
Reizen first came to wider attention as the guitarist and leader of the ambient-drone group Nerae, but he has now split from Nerae to focus on his own music. Last November he opened for Rick Potts of LAFMS on his tour of Japan, as well as collaborating in a duo with Potts. Following his first solo CDr on Neurec, a follow-up on his own label, and a cut on the recent Tokyo Flashback 8 compilation, this is Reizen's first full album for PSF.
Reizen was inspired to start making music by hearing the work of Andrew Chalk, and there are similar elements of approach in Reizen's languid movement towards moments of uncertainty and inconclusiveness. The music is all played on guitar, in one-take real time. Slow sculptural drone and a curiously psychedelic sense of distance and perspective to the sound-field are the abiding characteristics of Reizen's music. Depth, mystery, and a gentle haze of nostalgic reverie. Stunning work.
Four tracks, 31 minutes.
Satoshi Sonoda / mimi-nuki
Subtitled “Secondary Works of Satoshi Sonoda, 1982-1989”, a fascinating archival glimpse of the febrile 1980s Tokyo free-music underground from one of its unsung players and documentarians.
The first volume of Sonoda’s works (Early Works Of Satoshi Sonoda 19771978) was compiled as a tribute to the late Fushitsusha bassist Yasushi Ozawa, and chronicled jaw-dropping performances from the late 1970s by the student free music society at Meiji University in Tokyo. This more personal second volume charts the development of the scene and its players into the eighties, with rare documentation of various one-off groupings, tape compositions, and free music festivals. The punk/free improv focus of volume one here broadens, as the musicians start to follow interests in Steve Reich’s tape music, bricolage moves, Renaissance music, microtonality, Augustus Pablo, Ainu song, screwy theatre music, and wilful improv pop.
Musicians include Tori Kudo, Masami Akita (Merzbow), Wataru Okuma, Rorie Amanuma (Luna Park Ensemble), Takuya Nishimura (Ché-SHIZU), Wataru Okuma, Otomo Yoshihide, and a host of others.
Nine tracks, 71 minutes. Comes with a booklet of extensive, detailed liner notes in English and Japanese.
Hisato Higuchi / Early Works
Guitar, Vocals – Hisato Higuchi
Early live recordings of exquisitely fragile vocals and guitar from ambient psychedelicist, Hisato Higuchi. His first release on PSF.
Higuchi first came to notice with a couple of releases on his own Ghost Disc label in the early 2000s. Those records showcased Higuchi’s blurred late night whisperings, and the emotionally redolence of his hushed guitar. Since then Western underground labels including Family Vineyard, Sloow Tapes, Apollolaan Recordings, and Root Strata have picked up on his deeply, remarkably still and fragile music.
These tracks, taken from a couple of Tokyo live performances in 1995 and 1996 take us further back still. Higuchi’s vocals have a strikingly androgynous feel here, caught somewhere between the welling of nebulous emotion and an uneasy tranquillity.
Eleven tracks, 32 minutes. Booklet of lyrics in English and Japanese.
Soldier Garage / Akai Hoshi
Solo avant-garde psychedelic guitar unit, from Tokyo-based illustrator Migiwa "Miggy" Shimizu.
Deeply spacey and spacious guitar and vocal work from Shimizu's solo group, Soldier Garage. Shimizu works as an illustrator, and something of the pure, innocent wonder of his illustrations (one of which graces the cover) permeates these three pieces, both in the unaffected hymned, yearning of his vocals and in the deep, ecstatically clutched ruptures of his guitar work. This is a deeply personal music that traces unique, azure trails through silence and eruption, creating emotionally resonant patterns of fade and sustain.
Shimizu formed Soldier Garage in 2000. The group have had five CDr releases to date, some of which were live giveaways. Soldier Garage also appeared on Tokyo Flashback 8 (PSFD-200). This is the group's first full CD release.
Three tracks, 47 minutes. Jewelcase CD with obi and booklet.
.es / VOID
Improvised contemporary music unit, based in Osaka.
Thrilling proof that there is musical life to be found in the art galleries of Japan still. .es (pronounced Dot Ess) are a wild improv unit, formed at Gallery Nomart in Osaka in 2009. The group consists of performers Takayuki Hashimoto (saxophone, guitar, harmonica, modified shakuhachi) and Sara (piano, percussion, dance), as well as producer and gallery owner Satoshi Hayashi. Many of their performances are collaborations with visual artists, graphics designers, contemporary dancers, etc.
There is a thrilling immediacy to the duo performance captured at Gallery Nomart in 2012. Hashimoto explodes out of the gate with an ululatory skronk and squeal on sax, firmly in the aggresso-meditative lineage of Kaoru Abe and Albert Ayler, which Sara drapes in resonant piano spaces. The piece evolves, with Hashimoto switching to dense and knotty clutches of acoustic guitar, long breathed harmonica, and finally back to howling at the moon on sax. The combination of mind-void fire music motion and gallery space is frequently staggering – concise, expansive, and utterly resonant.
One track, 23 minutes. Jewelcase CD with obi and booklet of liner notes (by Takuya Sakaguchi) in English and Japanese.
Kaoru Abe / Solo 1973.3.30 Pit Inn Tearoom
Latest (and final) volume of the long dormant J.I. Collection – PSF's groundbreaking collection of rare Japanese free jazz recordings from the early 1970s!
Kaoru Abe was easily the brightest shooting star of the late sixties and early seventies Japanese free jazz scene, a wilful iconoclast who specialized in solo improvisations on alto sax and bass clarinet that seemed to slice and dice the air, glittering with a dangerously honed edge.
Abe would burn himself out by the late seventies (he died in 1978) when most of his available recordings were made. To hear him at his best, you really need to go back to his solo live recordings from the first half of the seventies. This recently unearthed recording captures him at his peak, solo at the Pit Inn Tearoom in Shinjuku in 1973. Over three long, urgent tracks (including his take on the standard "My Foolish Heart") Abe stretches out, attacking his phrases with a cuttingly sharp intensity one minute, before slipping into deep pools of melancholy the next. Still utterly peerless.
Three tracks, 52 minutes. Jewelcase CD with obi and booklet. Japanese subtitle: Haruka na tabiji (The Long Road).
Inner Trance Organ (ITO) Maq ITO / N.O.R.D.
Suishou No Fune / Wishing On a Star
This album was released to celebrate their Europe tour started at the end of March. The album includes live recordings at the club Show Boat (February 2, 2015) and the café Kuroneko Sabo (“Black Cat Tea Room”).
The simplest among all of their previous albums, and filled with natural psychedelic feelings. Excellent representation of emotional landscapes by PIRAKO’s Japanese psychedelic vocals! The guitar sounds like a voice singing, creating amazing natural psychedelic feelings. The first free psychedelic piece “Gathering Stars – Becoming Flowers” is a must to listen to.
“Gathering Stars”: PIRAKO made up the lyrics and sang on the spot during her performance as she suddenly visualized the winter night sky. “Becoming Flowers” is about her cat “Chibi” who died in her arms at the age of five. PIRAKO says this mischievous boy “Chibi” appears here and there during the spring time.
The second piece “The Spring Spirit” is an instrumental which was recorded at midnight at the café “Kuroneko Chabo.”
Hideaki Kondo / ASYLE
Hideaki Kondo's second album. Valueable improvisational music mixed with free jazz, contemporary music, Biwa and others. A great challenge as extremely free and unique guitar music to modernize Biwa music using Miles Davis's "Blue in Green," Piazzolla's "Night Club 1960" and Sakutaro Hagiwara's "Hyouhakusha(wanderer)."
Hideaki Kondo (guitar, 10 strings guitar, Biwa)
Toshiya Nakamizo (oboe)
Shin-Ichiro Kanda (piano)
Jun Kawasaki (contrabass)
Keiko Higuchi (poetry reading)
1 .Points (H.Kondo)
2. Repetition (H.Kondo)
3. Hyouhakusha (wanderer)'s song (poem: Sakutaro Hagiwara/translation: Keiko Higuchi, music: Hideaki Kondo)
4. Night Club 1960 (Astor Piazzolla)
5. Red (H.Kondo)
6. Rain (H.Kondo)
7. Hier ist Friede (Alban Berg)
8. Blue in Green (Miles Davis)
Makoto Kawashima / Homo sacer
"Homo sacer – sacred human. Kawashima's sax is ripe with the spirit of Japanese free jazz, dwelling as it does between the violent and the beautiful. Kaoru Abe, Masayoshi Urabe, Takayuki Hashimoto, Harutaka Mochizuki… all of these altoists live in an area of personal expression rare in the world, one that feels like the body itself is being whittled away at. It feels like we have a new genius to add to that list." (from the Japanese liner notes by Hideaki Kondo).
Kawashima Makoto (Kawashima is his surname) was born in Saitama in 1981. He picked up the alto sax in 2008, and started playing solo in 2010. Homo Sacer is his second solo release. It was recorded live at the gallery and café Yamanekoken in Iruma, Saitama. The first track was recorded during a heavy rainstorm. Kawashima played with a reed he had been given by Kaoru Abe's mother, facing up towards the ceiling, his sound arcing up to meet the raindrops beyond the roof.
Two tracks, 40 minutes. Jewelcase CD with obi and booklet of liner notes in Japanese.
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