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Kazuki Tomokawa / Unreleased Live (PSFD-2001~2010 / Youth-213) 10 CD box.
Unreleased live recordings, from 1985 to 2009.
.es / VOID
Release date: January 10, 2013
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
Release date: December 19, 2012
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).
Soldier Garage / Akai Hoshi
Release date: August 15, 2012
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.
Hisato Higuchi / Early Works
Release date: June 25, 2012
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.
Satoshi Sonoda / mimi-nuki
Release date: June 25, 2012
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.