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For all of those who seek for themselves ....  


■AIRPLANELABEL CD LIST 〜 レーベルからリリースされているCD 〜

 

 

 

Lake Ambient Lake Ambient New
APl1014 / 2021.2.12/¥2500+ 税
南博
綾戸知恵や菊地成孔などとの共演、共同製作でも知られるジャズピアニストであり、『白鍵と黒鍵の間に』等作家としても人気の高い南博。
今作は、それぞれ6枚の写真からインスピレーションを得て、ピアノの多重録音をしたアンビエントな作品。
独特の浮遊感や静謐感を味わえる高音質デジタル限定盤となっている。
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Messeage for parlienna Messeage for parlienna New
AP1091 / 2021.2.17/¥2500+ 税
南博
若き日のジャズピアニスト南博による、当時N.Y.で録音された初の海外流通作品。
抜けの良い音色と、繊細かつアグレッシブなプレイが光る名盤をリマスタリング!!
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Time Goes By Time Goes By New
AP1090 / 2020.12.16/¥2500+ 税
Nakajima Masaru
美しい旋律とソリッドな電子音が混在するサウンドスケープ。
SF映画からインスパイアした、プログレッシブな展開と深い音群から誕生した、三部作最後を飾るNakajima Masaru近未来サウンド。
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Mooney meets KOTEZ Mooney meets KOTEZ New
AP1089 / 2020.11.18 /¥2500+ 税
Mooney & KOTEZ
デュオの最大限を引き出したMooney&KOTEZの初音源!
全国各地でライブ巡業を続け、横浜ジャグフェスの主宰者Mooneyと、ブルース・ ザ・ブッチャー等で活躍する日本屈指のハーモニカ奏者KOTEZとの待望作品!
こういう時代だからこそ、肩の力を抜いて楽しんでもらえるような作品に仕上がった。
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PIANOHOLIC TAKES PIANOHOLIC TAKES(LPレコード)
APA1087 / 2020.5.27/¥3500+ 税
南博
これは、ニホンのジャズレーベル、イーストワークスからリリース(2001年~2007年)されてきた何枚かのCD のなかから南博がセレクションしたアルバムである。レーベルは残念なことに3年前に解散したのだが、その音源をエアプレーンで引き継ぎここに蘇ったわけである。何年かに渡りいろいろなスタジオで作られた、まちまちのマスター(アナログマスターだったり、DAT だったり、トゥールスだったりした)。
南博は天才的ミュージシャンだが、性格も天才的で繋がっている時と、あっちに行っている時があるのだ。
僕は実はこんな人が好きだ。こんな時代にはいていい人だ。そして、こんなアルバムもあっていいんだと思う。
A 面3曲。B 面3曲。 (川端 潤)
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These tracks are selections by Hiroshi Minami himself from CDs recorded on the Japanese jazz label, East Works (2001-2007). The label folded three years ago, unfortunately, and the source recordings were acquired by Airplane Label. The source music we acquired included analog masters, DAT tapes, and others, recorded in various studios over the years.

Hiroshi Minami is a genius. Musically, he is extremely talented, but his genius imposes periods of connectivity and disconnectedness.

This makes Hiroshi Minami special. In this time, it is fabulous. I am overjoyed to see the creation of an album such as this.

The analog album contains 3 tracks on each side. (Jun Kawabata)

Pianoholic Takes is blessing for pianoholics. While the tracks are a compilation of songs recorded at different times, with different players, and in different studios, Airplane Label has done a masterful job of making them sound like a cohesive, singular whole.

In part, it is the selection of tracks by the pianist, Hiroshi Minami himself. The selections are not only in some way representative of Minami’s vision during the last decade, but I think the two sides of the LP represent two different perspectives of that vision.

I find the first side to be more generally introspective than the second, with the exception of the last track, Epilogue, which is one of Minami’s most introspective. On the other hand, it may, perhaps, be more melancholy than introspective. It seems to resonate with lost love, not in the moment, but reflecting back in time, many years removed.

And #1, the track that opens the album, begins introspectively, but transitions into a wildly extravagant whirl, that seems to imply that the title of the track is, indeed, a boast. No doubt, if it is a boast, it does have backing. The accompanying saxophone, bass, and drums, too, provide pizzazz, but Minami’s piano is flaming hot. Contrasted with the more minimalist approach he takes on Serene, Minami sounds like an altogether different person.

With a mere six tracks, Pianoholic Takes gives a whole lot more than the number seems to indicate. Instead of inundating the listener with numbers, these Takes are each carefully selected works, chosen to speak words that resonate deeply and strong. /JGKK


事件 事件
AP1086 / 2020.04.22 /¥2,500 + 税
ASA-CHANG&巡礼
いとうせいこう氏が声で参加。実際の事件を元にした前代未聞の新作「事件」!
これまでのポピュラーミュージックでは経験したことのない、予想不可能な展開の連続。
様々な仕掛けがなされ、ASA-CHANG& 巡礼だからこそたどり着いた新領域。
聴きどころ満載のアルバム。
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Ito Seiko provided supporting vocals. The “Jiken” (Incident) is based on a real incident. It’s “pop music” from a dimension never before imagined. What an unusual experience!

It’s more than mere gimmickry, though the sound effects employed are bizarre and distorted. it’s music that is evocative. It exemplifies the visual performances that ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY frequently are asked to compose music for. It’s an album full of imagination.

ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY are a unit that are most associated with dance and performance art as music. Which is possibly somewhat of a surprise to those who stumble upon the music because of the participation of Asa-Chang, the percussionist that was the founder and bandleader of the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. While I first was introduced to the music under different circumstances, I was shocked, because my expectations were shaped by my acquaintance with TSPO.

I first came to live in Japan in 1987; TSPO was formed in 1988. After forming the band, Asa-Chang left the group in 1993. While Skapara continued to perform, with many shifts in membership, its heyday was certainly in the 90s. That fit perfectly with the period of time that I became accustomed to living in Japan and, particularly, in Tokyo. Their ska, jazz, and wild raucous style left a permanent impression.

So when I first heard ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY, I was dumbfounded. Years later, I still am.

Jiken is undoubtedly original. Once you’ve heard them, there’s no going back. Knowing this, I’m still taking the red pill. Rabbit hole, anyone? /JGKK


エロス エロス
AP1084 / 2020.04.22 /¥2,500 + 税
ASA-CHANG エマーソン北村
エレベーターミュージックとも言われる、プリミティブなビートボックスに、ASA-CHANG オリジナルの楽器、タブラボンゴと味わい深いトランペットが重なるグルーヴと唯一無二の世界観。
時には歌も織り交ぜ、どんどんクセになる存在感抜群の“ アサエマ” 待望の 新作。まるでスルメイカみたいだ。
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Called “elevator music,” based around a primitive beatbox, an ASA-CHANG original instrument, a unique groove supported by tabla, bongo, and a tasty trumpet.
The keyboards and vocals add a strange twist, making the music more and more addictive.

Kitsch never sounded this good before. The music isn’t so much sound, alone, but conveys the colors of a vaudeville performance. There is something undoubtedly erotic about the music, which makes the album title seem appropriate.

If the thought of kitsch music on a beatbox, tabla, bongo, trumpet, and keyboards doesn’t sound enticing or entertaining, think again. It’s reminiscent of a voyage with Esquivel or, perhaps, a minimalist Martin Denny.

I tried to imagine the sounds escorting me on a cruise ship, at sea somewhere between island hops in the South Pacific. There’s nobody else in the bar - it’s 4AM and the “band” is still playing, mostly because they’re just as awake from the monotonous days and nights between stops. There’s still two or three days left until we reach Borneo… Track 5, a cover of Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time, seems just perfect for the occasion. /JGKK


GREEN GREEN
APX1022/2019.11.06/¥2,500 + 税
JANICKS
ギタリスト天木教博を中心とし、ジャズ、ポップス、フュージョン、プログレなど、様々なジャンルの要素を取り入れたJANICKS 初のフルアルバム。女性ツインボーカルが特徴。
テーマとしてはかつてのどこかで聴いたことがあるフレーズ、コード進行を意図的に使い、違った曲を作るという試みをしている。ニヤリとする人は分かる人。
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GREATFUL BEGINS GREATFUL BEGINS
AP1083/2019.10.02/¥2,500 + 税
Mooney
シンギング アーリーアメリカ。偉大な功績を残した LouisArmstrong、Fats Waller などレジェド達の楽曲を、はじけるプリンのようなローハスキーボイスとシンプルな引き語りサウンドで表現したMooney 的作品!スキャットやマウストランペット、スプーン演奏等、Mooney のユーモアと愛情溢れる作品に仕上がっている。
Michigan Water Blues、Blue Berry Hill、Smoke Dreams、Small Town Talk、PolkSalad Annie、Georgia on My Mind など全13 曲。
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Country blues, the sounds of acoustic jug bands, seems to me to be about as far removed from the culture of Japan than practically any other kind of music. Whether it’s the songs of Appalachia, or the sounds of plantation laborers in swamp lands in Mississippi, I find it difficult to imagine a Japanese cowboy mingling and singing in these places.

But difficult things can be imagined, especially when accompanied by sounds. Mooney, here, is perfect. His deep, raspy voice, along with a twangy acoustic guitar, brings to life a Japanese version of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, and and Fats Domino.

The sounds are authentic. It’s a genuine revival. I am transported instantly to my childhood in the late 60s, when my father would play Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Harry Belafonte, Patty Page, and Nat King Cole on the home stereo, not much smaller than a fridge on its side. This CD might be contemporary, but everything about it captures a momentary lapse in time. Grateful, I am, for this Greatful beginning. /JGKK


昭和歌謡 月の沙漠 1 昭和歌謡 月の沙漠 1
AP1081 / 2019.11.06 /¥2,500 + 税
Luft
昭和歌謡特集。ピアノとギターのシンプルなアレンジで歌い上げるシリーズ1 作目!
知ってる世代、知らない世代に贈る、歌い継がれる日本の歌、昭和歌謡!ジャケットのデザインは、2019 年の現在も90 歳で先鋭なポスター制作を続けるグラフィックデザインの巨匠、永井一正氏によるもの。
ウナセラディ東京、ブルーライトヨコハマ、喝采、京都慕情、蘇州夜曲、17才、月の砂漠 など全10曲。
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Special compilation of Showa ballads. The first of a series of releases, featuring the simple arrangement of piano, guitar, and vocals. The collection contains ballads from a generation (or two) ago, passed on to generations who are unfamiliar with the tunes. Or, perhaps, they may ring true, like old friends…

The jacket design is cutting-edge graphic art from the Japanese master of graphic design, Kazumasa Nagai, who at 90 (in 2019) is still active.

10 tracks, including Una Serradi Tokyo, Blue Light Yokohama, Cheers, Kyoto Love, Suzhou Night Song, 17 Years Old, and Desert Moon.

These ballads from the Showa Period are songs that may bring back memories to many people, old and young. They might recall memories of loves lost, good times spent in pursuit of small but growing economic victories. Or, for some younger folks, they may find the songs are reminiscent of times when parents and grandparents shared the family home, workplaces were downstairs or in the neighborhood, and the concerns of an adolescent were mostly about things like what to do by the riverside that afternoon.

The songs hail from a time that I can only imagine, partly from films and books, but mostly from watching the Yoji Yamamoto films known affectionately by its star, “Tora-san.” The series, 50 films in total, depict Tora-san’s family home, in Katsushika-ku, Shibamata, a very shitamachi “down”-town suburb of Tokyo, and a broad range of local sites scattered throughout a modernizing Japan. The rapidly changing lifestyles, landscape, and livelihoods of Japan are depicted with honesty and nostalgia, a nostalgia that was heartwarming then as now.

As I listen to these tunes, now, they help me to imagine life in Japan during the times depicted in the Tora-san films. They are, in part, the Japan that my mother experienced in the immediate aftermath of World War Two, but also the land where my uncles, aunts, and cousins grew up in, while I grew up, by fate and chance, in California.

But even if I didn’t have family in Japan, I’d imagine that these songs would help me to conjure ideas of times gone by. The melodies and musical phrasing are not “contemporary.” They aren’t ancient, either. They undulate with tones that have no cynicism, dedicated to honesty, truth, and pure ideals. And this, perhaps, is something that we can all feel. And, in time, may mend some broken and tender hearts. /JGKK


WaRsaW WoW WaRsaW WoW
APX1021/2019.05.08/¥2,500 + 税
Kasper Tranberg and Hiroshi Minami Quartet( ピアノ 南博)
綾戸智恵や菊地成孔などとの共演、共作でも知られるジャズピアニストであり、「黒鍵と白鍵の間」等作家としても人気の高い南博による、デンマークのトランペッター(キャスパー・トランバーグ)とコラボレーションした、縦横無尽で予測不能な“ 北欧ジャズ”。南博がワルシャワで書いた曲である。
(南博のセルフライナー付き)
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This release features the Danish trumpeter, Kasper Tranberg, in a quartet led by the acclaimed jazz pianist, Hiroshi Minami, known for his collaborations and compositions with noted Japanese jazz musicians such as Chie Ayado and Naruyoshi Kikuchi, as well as a popular writer of books such as 2Between Black and White Keys.” The unit plays a unique form of Nordic jazz, composed by Minami in Warsaw. The enclosed liner notes are penned by Minami himself.

What is jazz? I’ve pondered this question many times, since the genre covers so many different styles of music that it seems to mean very little, much in the way that the term “rock band” means little except that some of the instruments are probably electrified.

Jazz, on the other hand, isn’t about electric/acoustic, but implies something about notations, timing, and style. Since I have never learned to play an instrument with any semblance of skill, it’s difficult for me to “know” anything about those factors, but after listening to tens of thousands of “jazz” tracks and thousands of groups play, I know that jazz isn’t all improvisation and freestyle.

Yet, much of what is considered the best in jazz, of course, involves some improv. It allows the musicians to explore notation, timing, and the spaces between the other players, as though a number of artists paint on the same canvas until the images converge and become a single piece. In the best jazz music, the musicians don’t start at the edges, but they begin in the middle, collaborating and converging, and explore the edges in between.

Nordic jazz, it seems to me, is a cooler form of this kind of collaboration, certainly cooler than the jazz of, say New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro. I mean, bossa nova and brass bands are cool, but their music tends to suggest dancing, bodies swaying and in motion. But in Nordic country, jazz seems often more cerebral, contemplative, and introspective.

Kasper Tranberg’s trumpet, throughout WaRsaW WoW, seems to pierce the intricate tapestry woven by the other three - Hiroshi Minami on piano, Motoi Kanamori on drums, and Yasuhiro Yoshiaki on bass. On the tapestry in my mind, the three paint, mostly in monochrome, while Tranberg sweeps across in colors, sometimes subtle and occasionally bold and bright. Perhaps this imagery is sourced from the black and white photography on the gorgeous digi-pak CD sleeve and liner. But I think that I am not the only one.

When listening to any jazz trumpeter, most people will probably compare the sound with Miles Davis. But here, the comparison is particularly unfair, as Europe is metric. But one might hear in Kasper Tranberg a bit of a flair not unlike Wynton Marsalis. As Wynton has demonstrated throughout his brilliant career, one doesn’t need to be as colorful as Miles to set milestones. /JGKK


FRUSTRATION FRUSTRATION
TUFFRTD2/2019.02.06/¥2,500 + 税
T-OFF
確かな演奏力に、豊かな音色と切ないメロディが楽器それぞれと共鳴する、現代を生きる大人に向けた自信作。
伸びのあるサックスの美しい旋律で、全編聴き心地の良く、思わず体を揺らしたくなる曲からエモーショナルなバラードまでバラエティ豊かに全10 曲収録。
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Thousands Dreams of Android Thousands Dreams of Android
AP1080/2019.01.09/¥2,500 + 税
Nakajima Masaru
SF 映画「ブレードランナー」をモチーフに様々な音群がからみつき、未来はこうなると予言した作品。
独自の世界観で切り開いたネオプログレッシブな音楽。
リリカルなサックスやインディアンフルートといった生 音とコンピューター。近未来音楽を表出。
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The music tries to capture the musical world of the future, using “Blade Runner” as a motif. It’s neo-progressive music with a unique worldview.
The music is composed on a computer, using an array of live sounds, such as saxophones, flutes, and mysterious percussion. They are the sounds of cyberpunk.

I’m not walking. I’m not running. I’m certainly not jogging. I’m not being forced to, but I’m in a rush anyway. Is it destiny? Is it even real?
This world is, of course, in the imagination. It sounds as though it comes from a dream. Not, mind you, like the soundtrack TO a dream, but OUT of one.
It probably is from a dream that was almost a nightmare, but not quite. It’s like when you wake up, in a sweat - slightly frightened - not because it was too grotesque or horrible, but because it was frighteningly real and enticing.
It reminded me, strangely, of the theme from “Midnight Express.” Its not that the music itself sounds similar, though they are both electronic and created mostly on a computer, but because they both take you into a world that most of us have never been in, yet it sounds absolutely familiar, like deja vu. I don’t know what it feels like to escape from a Turkish prison, but I believe, now, that I’ve been trapped in a cyberpunk future, under constant surveillance, alone in a densely-packed, technologically-advanced, and hyper-electronic metropolis. /JGKK


mujun mujun
AP1079 / 2018.12.05 /¥2,500 + 税
内海利勝
キャロルから実に43 年。ソロとしては10 年ぶりとなるファン待望のフルアルバム!
世の中、自分も含めて矛盾に満ちている。アコスティック&エレキギターを駆使、Mujun、サクラソウ、Bye And Smile、風になりたくて、今回も敬愛するブラインド・ブレークのEarly Morning blues など全10 曲。ダブルジャケット仕上げ。
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Hard to believe, but it’s been 43 years since Carol. It’s a long-waited album for fans - 10 years have passed since Toshikatsu Utsumi’s last solo work!

“The world is full of contradictions, myself included.” - Toshikatsu Utsumi

Fully loaded with guitar - acoustic and electric. 10 fantastic rock’n’roll and blues tracks, including Mujun, primrose, Bye and Smile, Wanting to be Wind, Early Morning Blues.
In a beautiful double-faced photo sleeve.

Carol was a legendary Japanese rock’n’roll band of epic proportions. Led by Yazawa Eikichi, the band consisted of three guitarists: Yazawa, Johnny Okura, and Toshikatsu Utsumi. Each went on to become legends on their own. Yazawa is widely considered to be Japan’s King of rock’n’roll and Okura the first rockabilly star, while Utsumi is considered one of Japan’s purest old-time rock and blues guitarists.
Given the superstar status of all three, it isn’t surprising that the band lasted for only three years, from 1972-75. I’d be surprised if they *didn’t* clash. Each of them rightfully could claim center stage.
Utsumi certainly hasn’t changed his tone much over the years. It’s easy to picture him jamming in Nashville or Memphis; his twang and buzz would fit right in perfectly at Sam Phillips Recording or anywhere on Nashville’s Music Row.
But like most rock’n’roll, this music is meant to be played live. The best thing about Utsumi’s music is, perhaps, that he, unlike his other Carol bandmates’, never really took to the stadiums and giant concert halls. Tucked in a small, underground club, with a bourbon in one hand and a beer in the other, listening to Utsumi rasp and strum - it’s an old rocker’s vision of Hell’s paradise. /JGKK


MANDALAY STAR -ミャンマー民族音楽の旅で見つけた黄金郷- MANDALAY STAR -ミャンマー民族音楽の旅で見つけた黄金郷- 
AP1077/2018.8.15/¥2,500 + 税
ポウン二ェッピュー
ドキュメンタリー映画「マンダレースター」と連動したCD。ポウン二ェッピューという17 歳の女の子(アイドル)を中心とする旅芸人一家の演奏と彼女の真摯な歌のアルバム。めぐまれたとはいえない環境の中で皆、祈りを捧げて歌い旅をする。その詩の内容には希望と夢がある。一座は娯楽のないような村に行き、寄進祭などを行うテント小屋で9時間もの間演奏し続け、村人たちを楽します。
歌の合間にはコメディアンたちが笑いをとる。「天井桟敷」の演劇みたいな世界だった。
こういう人たちがいっぱいいればきっといいんだなと思った。
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This CD is the companion to a documentary movie, “Mandalay Star.” The movie and album features the performances of a traveling entertainer family, centering on the serious songs of a 17-year old girl and idol singer, Pone Nyet Phyu.

The story revolves around the traveling gypsies, a environment in which the prayer and song is nothing short of engrossing. Their poems and performances are filled with hopes and dreams.

The troupe travels to and from rural villages, places where there are no entertainments. They set up their tent hut, playing for nine hours at a time, busking for donations and offerings.

Between songs, comedians perform. The entertainments are a form of vaudeville, reminding me of the Japanese underground theater troupe, “Tenjō Sajiki.” I imagined that the world would be better if more people were like this.

The music of “Mandalay Star” is entertaining. Like much of what is found in the “World Music” section of audio shops, it contains music that is otherwise difficult to categorize. The music adheres to traditions, melodies, harmonies, and rhythms that are confounding, perplexing, and mesmerizing to those of us raised under western musical influences.

But like a lot of World Music, sometimes the sounds and voices have a haunting quality that may not be familiar, but is nonetheless comforting. The music of Mandalay Star, in this regard, doesn’t disappoint. While the melodies and rhythms aren’t familiar, they sail blissfully like seabirds alongside ancient junks, capturing trade winds.

Some of the songs sound like nursery rhymes; it’s possibly the repetition, the cyclical poetry, mimicked by the drums and bells, sounding like a child repeating words strung together randomly but sounding somehow strangely sensibly and beautifully. Because the words are sung in Burmese, they mean nothing to me; yet, they remind me of an animated Dr. Seuss story, about Cats in Hats and Strange Things in Strange Places. The experience is magical.

But the music, ultimately, are a part of a documentary, the movie “Mandalay Star.” Watching the film grounds the music in the story of the traveling entertainers, a family that is steeped in traditions and providing both cultural experience and comic relief to rural villagers who live with little but hard work and the monotony of their years of unchanging circumstances.

Still, the value of the story as a record of cultural significance and the music as entertainment can be enjoyed separately. It is a strange world we live in. There is so much that can be seen and heard that are unfamiliar and fascinating. For whom these bells toll, I know not. But they do ring - gorgeously. /JGKK


Debut Debut
AP1076 / 2018.07.27 /¥2,000 + 税
ASA-CHANG エマーソン北村
今までありそうでなかった『日本産サウンド』
様々なフィールドで活躍する、東京スカパラダイスオーケストラの創始者でもある音楽家ASA-CHANG と、JAGATARA やMUTE BEAT で活躍したエマーソン北村によるデュオ作品。
二人がこれまでいくつも経験したデビューを詰め込んだ『Debut』。
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It’s a sound that is both familiar and new, that was unlikely until now. Collaborating on this music is ASA-CHANG, founder of the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and Emerson Kitamura, who played in JAGARATA and MUTE BEAT. The album’s title, “Debut,” is significant not only as it’s the duo’s first release, but as it showcases many elements that the two have debut over many years performing.

“Debut” doesn’t feel like a first. Not only are both ASA-CHANG and Emerson Kitamura seasoned professionals, but their sound is vaguely familiar because many of us have already heard them often in the past.

Their music has elements of ska, but it’s peppered with a lot of other flavors. Jazz, pop, electronica, psychedelia, chanson, and kitsch weave their way around the core rhythms. It’s bizarre, but elegant and entertaining.

It isn’t surprising that the duo have been asked to pen - and perform - the music for art performances. It is music that is visual. It evokes lights, /JGKK


路地裏路地裏 路地裏
AP1075 / 2018.07.04 /¥2,000 + 税
長洲辰三
路地裏のバンドマンは、今日もどこかでギターを鳴らし、小さなライブバーで演奏する。
40年以上のキャリアを誇る日本音楽界の生き字引、長洲辰三。
1 曲目は宇崎竜童の幻の曲「あゝ今」から。横浜の線路沿いのスタジオでコツコツ録音され、夜は皆で居酒屋へ。
曲、詩、歌、ギターフレーズには横浜の彼の人生が染み付いていていろいろと考えさせられる作品である。
「ヘイ横浜、オイラをうけとめてくれ!」 長洲辰三、初のソロ作はキャリアを総括するベスト級EP!!
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Japan’s consummate bandman in the back alley is still playing guitar somewhere today. probably in some tiny bar. With a career spanning over 40 years, Tatsumi Nagasu is possibly Japan’s greatest living guitar legend.

The album opens with a “phantom” track, the famous lost Ryudo Uzaki song, “Ah…Ima.” The album was recorded in a studio underneath the train tracks in Yokohama; after the day’s recording was done, we all went to an izakaya for food, drinks, and reverie at night. T

he poems, melodies, and guitar phrases are woven from the fabric of his life in Yokohama. It’s a work that screams, “Hey Yokohama, it’s me, Baby!”

Blues. The blue seas on the harbor. The blue skies over cityscapes. Blues are etched over Yokohama.
Tatsumi Nagasu is the man most likely to be etching Yokohama blue.
Every track on this album is a gem. It sounds more like live music in a small underground bar than a studio, probably because of the studio’s location underneath the tracks and the band’s back and forth in bars between sessions. You get the sense that they were actually rehearsing all night in the bars. Or, maybe, that was where the real work *was* getting done.
In any case, if Nagasu weren’t singing in Japanese, it would be practically impossible to tell that these guys aren’t from Chicago or Philly. Their blues is true, dark, and really extremely good. /JGKK


Earth Beating Earth Beating
AP1074/2017.12.06/¥2,500 + 税
Nakajima Masaru
ブライアン・W・オールディスのSF「地球の長い午後」にインスパイアされた、ネオ・プログレッシブ・ロック。
「わずかに残る希望の光を音にしたいと思った。」
(中島まさる)
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The music is neo-progressive rock, inspired by the writing of Brian W. Aldiss’ 1962 science fiction novel, “Hothouse.” I tried to create the sound of “tiny rays of hope.” Nakajima Masaru

As you might expect, the music is somewhat melodramatic. Cinematic. Evocative. It is inspired, after all, by a science fiction novel, not a self-help book.
I wouldn’t listen to this music every day. It probably isn’t even music I would listen to while working. It’s too visually evocative. Instead of writing, translating, designing, analyzing, and advising, I end up wanting to draw, paint, or sew. But then, listening to the “soundtrack” a few times, I realized that I want to read the novel. /JGKK


We got Rhythm We got Rhythm
AP1073/2017.10.04/¥2,500 + 税
ムーニー & 藤井康一
横浜のボスMooney と、ウジャコダ藤井康一によるデュオ作品。
2 人のルーツでもあるアーリーアメリカンミュー ジックを中心に、ブルースやカントリー、ジャズなどクロスオーバーしたBar Live 感満載アルバム。Candy、愛しのスウ、Blue Christmas、I got Rhythm、など全13 曲。
松坂のライブハウスM’ axa の協力のもと制作された。
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身じたく 身じたく
AP1072 / 2017.10.18 /¥2,000 + 税
Kaco
圧倒的な世界観と唯一無二の声を持つ、愛媛県出身のシンガーソングライターKacoの全てを詰め込んだ初全国盤!!
松岡モトキ氏をサウンドプロデューサーに迎え、ピアノ弾き語りは元より、バンド編成を主体とした骨太な全6 曲に仕上がった。
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With a stunning voice and impressive perspective, Kaco, a singer-songwriter from Ehime Prefecture, splashes on the scene with her first national release. With Motoki Matsuoka as the sound producer, the music was a tough go, with a full band filling out her compositions, rather than alone, singing with her piano.

Just as in the United States and Europe, the singer-songwriter explosion in Japan has dominated pop consciousness in this decade. While most of them choose to play accompanied by the guitar, Kaco plays the piano. 24 years old at the time of this release, her biography says that she started playing piano in elementary school. Her first demo was released in 2015, two years before this release.

It’s an album that shows a maturity that belies her age and experience. This is probably partly attributable to the production of Motoki Matsuoka. With a stellar resume, playing in bands such as Bonnie Pink and the brilliant green and producing the likes of Superfly, Angela Aki, and Funkist, Motoki Matsuoka has bonafide star credentials.

In a very competitive space, sensitive storytellers have a wider following in Japan than in many markets. It remains unknown whether Kaco has the power and pull to build a long term and loyal following, but if this, her first fairly major debut is any indication, she’s got the tools. /JGKK


恋のドライビングウェイ 恋のドライビングウェイ
APEM1023/2017.08.02/¥2,778 + 税
村山一海
日本のロックに多大な影響を及ぼしたCOOLS のヴォーカル村山一海、5 年振りの新作を発売!
Rocky Auto タイアップ曲「恋のドライビングウェイ」含むロック攻め全11 曲!
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The vocalist for COOLS, Kazuumi Murayama had a tremendous influence on the development of Japanese rock music, performs on this, his first release in 5 years. Sponsored by Rocky Auto, the title track, “Koi no Driving Way” (Driving way of love) rocks!! The attack continues with a total of 11 tracks.

“Koi no Driving Way” (Driving way of love) starts with the revving of an engine, then explodes with a cloud of dust, in the spirit of music from American Graffiti. That iconic 1973 film, launching the magnificent careers of Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Paul Le Mat, as well as being one of the earliest films by both Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, is notable for its coming-of-age theme, as well as its association with cars and music. These, of course, parallel nearly exactly the themes and associations held by Japan’s fans of COOLS and Kazuumi Murayama.

From the start of COOLS, in 1975, and throughout their heyday in their first decade, COOLS released a total of 15 EPs. While they continued to perform in the many years since then, they’ve only released two singles. They released many albums throughout, but their mass popularity, seen in the release of singles and EPs, was in the 70s and early 80s.

No doubt, too, their music continues to resonate because of its nearly constant themes of cars, girls, and endless romance. It is easy to forget that this CD is from 2017. Close your eyes and you will be easily transported to a 70s diner, albeit in Kamakura and not Modesto, California. I can easily imagine this to be playing on the car “radio,” while awaiting for the movie to play in a drive-in theater. Don’t turn around, cuz there might be some hanky-panky going on in the back seat! /JGKK


馬鹿騒ぎライブ!! 馬鹿騒ぎライブ!! (LIVE)
AP1071/2017.06.07/¥2,000 + 税
BACABACCA
レジェンド達による馬鹿騒ぎライブを完全パッケージした新作!!
新井武士や内海利勝、長洲辰三、松本 照夫の4 人からなるBACABACCA 最新盤!!
既存の曲はもとより、ブルースの名曲も散りばめた、BACABACCA の生ライブを感じられる一枚。
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This unleashes a crazy live performance that is the stuff of legends. The four legends performing here are Takeshi Arai, Toshikatsu Uchiumi, Tatsumi Nagasu, and Teruo Matsumoto. The recording captures the essence of their stage performance, with a collection of songs from their respective repertoire, as well as blues standards.

Throughout the world, some of the best old bands of the 60s, 70s, and 80s have been “reuniting” and releasing new material in the past decade. Many people who might be called “Boomers” are saying that it is the last chance to hear these legends playing. whether they are saying this about the musicians or about themselves isn’t clear, but new music from bands and people like the Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Ritchie Blackmore, Paul Simon, Elton John, and the last tour of KISS among others, seem to indicate that there are many older rockers, in their 70s, who might be nearing the last of their touring days.

Japan, too, isn’t uniquely absent of this phenomenon. Not only have many of the aforementioned groups made their “final” tours here, but the shows of E. Yazawa, Yuming, SAS, and others, too, have been hailed as perhaps rare opportunities to see these greats perform for the last time. There are probably a great many others that I’m neglecting here, but I won’t forget that the shows being performed by BACABACCA are undoubtedly legendary.

Since these guys are still firstly living and secondly actively performing, at least before the novel coronavirus pandemic has but live shows and gatherings of all kinds on hold, I won’t assume that this live performance is their final one. But given the scope of the current situation, one cannot help but wonder if and when live shows, particularly in small clubs and halls, will resume. The quality of this recording and, particularly, the absence of the ruckus that a stadium crowd creates i the background, is fantastic. The sound is intimate, personal, and sincere.

It isn’t easy to imagine Paul McCartney, Jimi Page and Robert Plant, Ritchie Blackmore, or Elton John recording anything quite like this now or anytime soon. I can imagine them trying to play in a small, dingy club, but then being forced to stop by authorities who are trying, unsuccessfully, to stop the crowds from barging in and creating a fire hazard. Which is a shame, because the rare opportunity to hear, even on a CD, music recorded by such legends in an intimate live performance, unedited, is magical. I love listening to these magicians! /JGKK


ルート2nd ルート2nd
APEM1021/2017.03.08/¥2,000 + 税
影山きたろう
『シンガーソングファーマー』影山きたろうの初流通盤!
なじみ易いブルースサウンドで活動を続けている影山きたろう。
この度待望の貴重盤を発売。ルート2nd、あ~もう~、金で買えないもんが。。。
メリーゴーランドなど全9曲。
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The “Singer Song Farmer” Kitaro Kageyama has finally released his first album for a wide audience. It’s as expected, a very familiar blues sound. This has been long-awaited by his fans. Route 2nd, oh yeah, it isn’t something that money can buy.
9 tracks in all, including Merry-go-round.

“Singer Song Farmer” on his resume, Kitaro Kageyama is a man with a long musical history, but without any recognizable evidence of that history. With a following, a series of live performances, legendary players who vouch for his pedigree, this first album stands as the sole testimony to Kageyama’s blues career.

The band on this album consists of the famous slide and electric guitarist, Tatsumi Nagasu and two well-known session and live rock musicians, Tadashi “chew” Nagamoto on bass and Naoto Goto on drums. This line-up stands as validation of Kageyama’s credentials, but there is just so little information about him.

But in the absence of information, one can rely on the ear to try to understand more. The music is fairly straightforward, blues-inflected rock, with a western flavor - cowboy blues. His voice is elegant, melodic, rhythmic, reminiscent of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, pre-Eagles. The music does evoke the image of a singer song-wri… no, farmer. Vivid, rich, and full of very real stories of country life in Japan, the music is undoubtedly original and uniquely his. The only real question I have now is, what happened to Route 1st? /JGKK


CARILLON CARILLON
APX1017 / 2017.01.25 /¥2,500 + 税
Miyuki Miura & Malin Harue
イングリッシュコンサーティーナとほのかに香る夏の花のような女性ボーカルとの共演。
地球外生物さえにも捧ぐ贈り物。そして、何万光年か先までにも届いて欲しい愛の形。
そして、コンサーティーナの音色よ宇宙に突き刺さされ!
Carillon、タイスの瞑想曲、アマポーラ、グリーンスリーブス、Heaven など全8曲。
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The album is a duo, the collaboration between English Concertina and a single voice, sounding like the faint scent of fresh spring flowers. It’s a gift not only for humanity, but for the extraterrestrial worlds beyond.
The two voice a love that we hope will extend tens of thousands of light years away. And the sounds of the concertina to echo throughout the universe!
Contains eight songs, including Carillon, Meditation de “Thais,” Amapola, Greensleeves, and Heaven.

A carillon is an instrument, typically housed in a tower, with at least 23 bells. Like the bells often played around Christmastime in Christian churches throughout the world, the bells are played in melodies and together, to form chords.
I found the title of the album to be somewhat strange. The sound of the English Concertina is very different from that of the carillon. And the setting, with the carillon sitting atop a tower of a church or town symbol, seems so distinct from the harmonies voiced here.
I have been impressed by the capacity of the vocalist, Malin Harue, to contrast with the booming, expanding, specially vast voice of the concertina. But she does so magnificently. Somehow, the softness is not buried in that expanse.
Or, perhaps, it is better attributed to the skill of Miyuki Miura, to paint a landscape as broad and rich as is the nature of her instrument, yet provide enough space and surface for Harue’s flowers to bloom.
It is probably both, certainly, but it is nevertheless a mysterious joy to discover. Even more, that mystery doesn’t dwindle with age, but grows. /JGKK


悠久の自然 アラスカ 悠久の自然 アラスカ-
AP1070 / 2017.01.25 /¥2,500 + 税
写真・エッセイ:星野道夫 語り:磯辺弘 音楽:中島まさる
アラスカの大自然を撮り続けた写真家、星野道夫。
カムチャッカで不幸にも事故にあい亡くなった。その大きな自然と会話し続けた写真家のエッセイには悠久の哲学がある。その中から心に響く部分の文章を磯部弘が再構築して舞台用に仕上げた作品。
音楽は中島まさる。そのマッチングストリーが心打たれ素晴らしい。
これは音楽と朗読だけで仕上げられたアルバム。
舞台作品では星野道夫の写真も投影され、彼の様々な自然に対峙した想いを再認識することになる。(川端 潤)
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LOOKING FOR THE QUIET SUN -静かな太陽を探して- LOOKING FOR THE QUIET SUN
AP1069/2016.12.07/¥2,500 + 税
Jun Kawabata
宇宙に散った無名のパイロットに捧げるラプソディー。
美しい旋律と異形のアンビバレントな世界。ECM 系静寂感。
心の奥の遺伝子を覚醒させるざわめきのサウンド。
映画のサントラとして作られたアルバム。
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The music was created as a rhapsody for an unknown astronaut scattered in space. It’s filled with beautiful melodies of a strange and ambivalent world.
It’s an ECM-like silence. It’s the sound of noise to awaken the DNA of the soul.
“LOOKING FOR THE QUIET SUN” is composed as a soundtrack to a film.

The album opens with the sounds of water on an imaginary shore. The track, “Stare at the Sea,” proceeds with an aural landscape that evokes longing, rather than lounging by the seaside. Through the proceeding tracks, it becomes gradually clear that the mindscape being painted is very wide. The sounds are interspersed, scattered, as notes and fragments in space.
I haven’t seen the film the music is composed for. I’m not even certain if the film was ever made. But while the music itself might not *sound* similar, the effect of the music is most similar, I feel, to the music of Pink Floyd, especially around the time of “Meddle” or “Saucerful of Secrets.” Kawabata, like the band when it was composed of Waters, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason, builds stories, not songs, as visual as aural, parts of symphonies and not individual tracks.
Special kudos to Yokotarou and Takashi Meguro, who provide backing acoustic and electric guitars and mandolin, as these sounds throughout the album add the sharpness of color in the vast Space Kawabata creates. /JGKK


JOHNNY JOHNNY
AP1068/2016.12.07/¥2,000 + 税
山下大悟
革ジャンにリーゼント、J-ROCK の魂を引き継ぐ、平成生まれ昭和育ちのロックンローラーの初全国盤。
J-ROCK 好きのツボを抑えつつも、挑戦的な楽曲達で挑む、男臭くも現代的な骨太ロックを提示している。
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Donning leather jackets and a “Regent” hairstyle - the hallmark of rockabilly rebellion - this release marks the first nationwide unveiling of Johnny. Born in Heisei, but bred in Showa, the spirit of Japanese rock’n’roll is sprung alive. This is J=Rock in its most bold, masculine, and contemporary form, pricking the nerves of fans like acupuncture needles.
Exposing his upper torso like Yutaka Ozaki in a fashion pin-up pose, Daigo “Johnny” Yamashita makes quite an impression. From the first notes of his first major release, there’s no mistaking his sense of self-confidence and certainty. Unlike Ozaki, there isn’t a hint of vulnerability and self-hatred.
The entire album is a series of explosions - fast and furious. The lyrics are full of references to cars, girls, speed, and work, repeated wildly like a youth unleashed for the first time. The sound is not unlike boys clamoring on stages across America, in London, Berlin, or underground in Moscow throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It is music that sounds as though time stopped around 1975, before punk music changed contemporary music forever.
This is not to say that the music is unappealing; rather, its both strange and - like his physical unveiling in the cover art - impressive. The impression is powerful, because it doesn’t seem possible that this music is being created now, in the midst of the idol and common J-Pop fanfare, among the singer-songwriter superstars that often leave lonely the impression that feels good for a moment. Just like the beautiful chick-dude-babe-hunk-substitute any derogative term you like here you pass on the street, after you turn your head back around, the moment is lost.
But not Johnny. Johnny, after all, explodes. I don’t know if the explosion will end or if he will continue to go boom. Still, if you want to have a bang, I guarantee that Johnny will light your fire. /JGKK


BEAMS BEAMS
AP1067/2016.12.07/¥2,200 + 税
佐立努とニューヘヴン
独特な感性で日々の風景を切り取り表現した佐立勉らしい傷つきやすく儚くあやうい作品。
そして、浮遊する美しいメロディと独白。
スティールパン、タブラ、管楽器も加わり巡礼のドラマが始まる。
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A very tender work by Satachi Tsutomu that is characteristic of his depictions of everyday life. His monologue float on melodies that waft like hymns upon a tapestry woven with steel drum, tabla, and wind instruments.

The stories woven in his lyrics and in the folksy melodies may be based on everyday themes, but the overall sense to the listener is of a journey, a pilgrimage, perhaps. Occasionally lonely, the melancholy starts dripping like a very light drizzle. Through the nine tracks of the album, the pitter-patter continues. In the end, one might feel the sense of the ending of a cathartic voyage. /JGKK


impress impress
APX1019/2016.08.25/¥2,500 + 税
加藤喜一
SALLY でデビュー。ギタープレイ、スモーキーボイスを堪能できる日本的ブルースアルバム。
研ぎすまされたギタープレイとスモーキーボイスが織り成すいろっぽい大人のアルバム。
ブルースを基軸に、親しみ易い邦楽要素を盛り込んだ2 年振りの作品。
奇跡、Rosy Cloud、シャンプーを買いに、など全11 曲。
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Keach Kato made his debut on vocals and guitar for SALLY. On this release, you can really enjoy the electric guitar, smoky vocals, and searing blues. It’s music that is aged and matured, like a fine bourbon, with the smoky flavor of old oak. The sound is familiar, hard core Japanese blues, without any hint of the span of two years since his last release. 11 tracks, including Kiseki (miracle), Rosy Cloud, and Shampoo wo kai ni (Going to buy shampoo).

I listened to this as a virgin would. While I might have heard SALLY before, the band formed and broke up prior to my first residence in Japan. The band only existed from 1984-86. Still, with a string of hits, five albums, and launching the careers of two rock superstars, it wouldn’t be unusual to have heard their music at some point since 1987.

But other than his name, I don’t recall ever listening to Keach Kato. But both his voice and guitar style sound familiar. His style is similar to Stevie Ray Vaughn. It’s mostly Texas blues, although the music is frequently peppered with saxophone, something that makes their sound seem vaguely like an early R&B release from Atlantic, featuring King Curtis. But there’s something very contemporary about the music, it has something to do with the rhythms and arrangement. It reminds me of many other Japanese blues and rock artists of Japan, who seem to have absorbed a variety of styles, genres, and eras seamlessly, because they were outside of the actual experiences they had in Japan.

Keach Kato and I not only share our surname, but, born in 1965, he’s only a couple years younger than I. The shared timeline of our lives provides a kind of reference for the music, movies, art, and events we would have lived through, as well as the age that we experienced them. This, then, quite probably is the biggest reason for the familiarity I sense in listening to Impress. It feels comfortable, cozy, and fits like an old, forgotten glove. The glove, I think, is a catcher’s mitt. I may never again play, sit behind the plate, facing the prospects of catching a fastball or wicked curve, but the smell of ancient worn leather, the give and take of a glove that has been pounded and stretched, yet remains intact, strong, and flexible, is heartwarming. /JGKK


俺だけの唄のなかで・・・ 俺だけの唄のなかで・・・
AP1066 / 2016.08.08 /¥2,500 + 税
新井武士
ミュージシャンとしての生き方を貫く新井武士のソロ名義フルアルバム!
コミカルで風刺的な言葉遊びで思わず笑ってしまう様な曲から、不意に入り込む切ない曲まで、“ 新井武士ワールド” を存分に楽しめるメッセージアルバム。突き刺さるコトバ、最近、こんなのない。
スモーキングブギ其の2、知らず知らずのうちに、枯れとんにゃ。
告白、東京弐千00、永遠のきずな、など全13 曲。
ゲストに柳田ヒロ(Key)、Bob 斎藤(Sax)、関根真理(Per) 。
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This is a solo album that characterizes perfectly the life of Takeshi Arai as a musician. The full range of his musical expression - from the slightly comical and satire-laden lyrics that make you laugh to the serious anguish of true to life moments - welcome to the world of Takeshi Arai.
In the world of contemporary music, it sounds refreshing.
Then, without pretense, smoking boogie.
With 13 tracks, including Confession, Tokyo 2000, and Eternal Bond.
His guests include Hiro Yanagida (Keys), Bob Saito (Sax), and Mari Sekine (Per).

Takeshi Arai is best known as longtime member of the Down Town Boogie Woogie Band, DTBWB to its fans. The band plays old-time rock’n’roll, practically unchanged stylistically from the days of Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, or, more closely, Elvis Presley.
Like Elvis, Arai tends to offer emotional storytelling “experiences,” often heartbreaking and theatrical. Thankfully, he shuns the rhinestones and glitter, opting for dark, dingy, and forgotten drinking holes, clouded, unfortunately by cigarette smoke. On the cover, he’s tugging on one.
That, though, is a characteristic that is evident, too, in his lyrics, often lamenting over a drink and smoke. I suppose it’s a reflection of a gone bye era.
The album’s release in 2016 is a bit of a surprise, because it sounds more like it could have been recorded a half century ago, or any time in between. It’s a great collection of old tunes for anyone familiar with DTBWB, or for someone with a predilection for reminiscing. /JGKK


Here Comes The Band Here Comes The Band
AP1064/2016.10.04/¥2,500 + 税
KOTEZ & YANCY
ガレージに眠っていた古いアンティークを少しお手入れしたら、現代的ですごくお洒落になった。そんな音楽。
比較的ポピュラーな楽曲がマナーで進化した予想外の完成度は、良い意味で期待を裏切ります。
まさにルーツミュージックへのリスぺクトと新たなる挑戦。
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We were cleaning out the old antiques in the garage. When they finished, the music turned out sounding new and stylish. Their sound.
Relatively popular music, when rearranged perfectly never disappoints.
This is a new challenge for KOTEZ & YANCY. Roots music with a flair.

Usually, KOTEZ & YANCY play and perform as a duo. The simplicity of the duo - just piano & blues harp/vocals - makes everything hang out in the open, there’s no wall of sound to hide behind. When I first heard them, I wasn’t easily convinced, because I just couldn’t ignore the pronunciation.
Hearing this band - from the first time - was a completely different experience. Mind you, I’d already listened to the duo many times; I’ve grown more than accustomed to KOTEZ. He sings with a passion and authenticity that makes me believe that he understands the words he’s singing - KOTEZ has got the blues!
Joined by an amazing band - with trumpet, trombone, sax, electric guitar, bass, and drums, as well as a fine chorus - one might imagine a less simple delivery. But this is still classic KOTEZ & YANCY, being true to the classics and yet with a pizzaz that is all their own.
I can picture them at home in New Orleans or Yokohama. I get the feeling that they would be as happy playing and singing in either place, on the town, in a cozy pub underneath the railroad tracks, or in a garage playing to their families. Count me in! /JGKK


RE:BEST RE:BEST
AP1063 ¥2,500 + 税
中村翔
卓越した技術が裏付けする説得力と、ポップスだけでは片付けられない楽曲の幅。
弾き語り曲のイメージを裏切るシンガーソングライター初全国盤。
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Beauty of Tradition-ミャンマー伝統音楽の旅で見つけたサインワインの独奏- Beauty of Tradition-ミャンマー伝統音楽の旅で見つけたサインワインの独奏-
AP1062 / 2015.11.04 /¥2,500 + 税
バンタヤー・セインフラミャイン
ミャンマー伝統音楽の主役とであるサインワインをフィーチャーした3 作目。
半月から満月へ。
古典歌謡からオリジナルまでを収録。曲のほとんどは歌をうたう歌謡であるが、本アルバムではサインワインソロ。ヤンゴンの空気感を余す所なく収めた、ミャンマー国内でも珍しいサインワイン独奏をぜひご堪能あれ。風を感じる心和む音楽である。
何も考えずにボッーと聴くのもよいかも。(井上さゆり 解説書付き)
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The third CD of the Beauty of Tradition series features the saing waing, central to the traditional music of Myanmar.
From a half moon to full moon. The music includes traditional songs and originals.
Most of the songs are composed to be accompanied by vocals, but on this release, it is all solo and instrumental.
We hope that you find the music enjoyable. It is rare to be heard in this manner, but it captures the spirit and atmosphere of Yangon. The music feels the breeze in the air.
It is best to listen without thinking.
(Enclosed liner notes includes commentary by Osaka University Researcher and Associate Professor of the Research Institute for World Languages, Sayuri Inoue.)

Songs?

It is music, certainly, but not in the way that most of us are used to. There’s no discernible melody or, for that matter, rhythm. The instrument, the saing waing, is percussive, but these drums are tuned, quite intricately, in fact. But despite the extremely fine notation, there’s no apparent “tune.” It’s a seemingly endless array of beautiful but unpredictable notes, struck like rain falling down from heaven onto a musical rice paddy.

It also sounds vaguely similar to the sound of the mbira, popularly known as the kalimba. Or, rather, it sounds like a giant kalimba played at a schitzophrenetic pace.

The most striking thing about the sound, though, is that without some familiarity, it is practically impossible to visualize how the player is playing the instrument. Even after observing the player, in this case the virtuoso player, Pantaya Sein Hla Myaing, the speed and command with which he plays is stunning.

The music is certainly not relaxing, in a general sense, partly because of the frenetic energy with which he plays. But it is strangely meditative. Just as practitioners of Zen Buddhism meditate in a manner that produces absolute alertness by empty of thought, this music elicits the act of hearing without thinking concretely about anything. Instead, the mind wanders, abstractly, as in a dream while waking. After experiencing this, the result is something nearly cathartic. /JGKK


Beauty of Tradition Beauty of Tradition
-ミャンマー民族音楽の旅で見つけた仏教の歌-
AP1061 / 2015.07.02 /¥2,500 + 税
カインズィンシュエ
19 世紀の古典歌謡から20 世紀の近代歌謡までブッダを讃える曲を集めたCD。
花のように鳥のように。
この様な仏教に関する歌謡を集めたアルバムは珍しく興味深い作品である。しかし、ミャンマーの上座部仏教では僧侶は戒律で音楽等には関わることは禁じられているとのこと。カインズィンシュエはビルマを代表する歌手のひとりである。
また、ミャンマー音楽に取り込まれたピアノを聴くこともできる。(井上さゆり 解説書付き)
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The collection compiles songs in praise of Buddha, ranging from classical music of the 19th Century to modern tunes of the 20th Century. It is music like a flower or a bird.

The CD is a rare collection of Buddhist traditions; as such, it is an interesting work.

However, in the conservative Theravada Buddhist tradition, monks are prohibited from engaging in music. Khine Zin Shwe is one of Burma’s leading singers.

In the release, you can hear the piano, imported into the traditional music of Myanmar.
(Enclosed liner notes includes commentary by Osaka University Researcher and Associate Professor of the Research Institute for World Languages, Sayuri Inoue.)

Khine Zin Shwe is a leading female singer in Myanmar, famous not only for preserving traditional songs of Buddhist culture, but as a university professor in Yangon. Born in 1974, she had been largely undiscovered until 2010 when the reclusive military regime began to gradually bow to international pressure, and open up. In that year, the EarthSync channel of India produced Voice Over the Bridge, a musical collaboration between two traditional vocalists in Myanmar and Western musicians. In Myanmar, they discovered two young women singers, Shwe Shwe Kaing and Khine Zin Shwe. This was, perhaps, the first introduction of the Great Songs praising the King and Buddha to the western world.

Jun Kawabata’s forays into Myanmar’s music weren’t long after that. His first visits were in 2013. The first result of his adventures resulted in the first CD release in 2014 of the 3-part Beauty of Tradition series, as well as the 2015 film, “Beauty of Tradition - Traditional Music of Myanmar.” This CD soon followed. Since then, the last CD and another movie ensued.

From an ethnographic perspective, the works are important as a record of the traditional musics of Burma. They have, no doubt left a lasting impact on the academics who study the history, culture, and Buddhist traditions of that formerly reclusive nation. But from a solely musical perspective, the works are an incredible compilation.

The Herculean task of taking recording equipment and recording volumes of music in less-than-contemporary industry standards is, alone, incredible. Adding to that the complexity of language differences and people who may be suspicious of even the best intentions of outsiders, and the task seems daunting. That the group triumphed in making even a single quality recording would be tremendous. But Kawabata and his crew succeeded in making three long-play CDs and two great documentary films!

The music, too, while impossible to understand, is a phenomenal achievement. Discordant, lacking in any semblance of western harmonies, and adhering to rhythms that sound completely off-kilter and unsettling, the sound is strangely ethereal and peaceful. I cannot grasp the structures that the music must adhere to, given the propensity of the players to anticipate and respond to the sounds produced by the others. It sounds chaotic, yet, like in meditation, it is possible to simultaneously listen and let go.

Ultimately, if the most important role of music and art is to help people find inner peace, then I imagine that this music is most successful. It probably wouldn’t be high on the list of my recommendations for a candlelight dinner, but if there is any music that captures the essence of an hour’s meditation, this is it. Peace. /JGKK


STRINGS STRINGS ※ハイレゾ配信限定※
API1010 ¥3,143〜
TOMASZ DABROWSKI AD HOC
ジャズピアニストの南博と、デンマークのトランペッター(Tomasz Dabrowski)らと共作した配信限定作品。
ダイナミックなトランペットと、予期せぬ展開のピアノが織りなすフリージャズ。
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Thanks Jagie Day Thanks Jagie Day
AP1060/2015.07.20/¥2,500 + 税
Mooney & His Lucky Rhythm
サッチモやファッツを中心にルーツミュージックの素晴らしい楽曲達が蘇るJagie (Jazz + Boogie) な一枚!
戦前ジャズ ジャイアントに焦点をあてたトリビュートシリーズの集大成とも言える、BOSS ムーニーの美学が詰まった傑作。ラッキーリズムがガンと出たノリノリの演奏。全13 曲。
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BOZON BOZON
AP1059 / 2016.01.21 /¥2,500 + 税
BRADBURY
アルバム『BOZON』は70 年代のプログレへのオマージュ。因みに『BOZON』は、同一量子状態をいくつもの粒子がとることができる素粒子BOSON から来ており、多様な音群がその輪郭を不明確に融合していくBRADBURY の音を象徴している。
フロイド、クリムゾン、ELP 系にはオススメ。
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The album "BOZON" was penned as a tribute to the progressive rock of the 1970s. The title comes from the "boson" that give elemental particles mass and is hugely important in quantum physics. It is symbolic of the sound of BRADBURY, in which we strive to produce various kinds of sounds a musical genres in a undefined manner.

Recommended for fans of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and ELP.

The music of BRADBURY is, as the liner notes suggest, difficult to peg. Jun Kawabata (Piano and Keyboards), Kiho Yoshihiko Kagomiya (Drums and Heart Sutra), and Takashi Meguro (Bass and Guitar) create an explosive aural cosmos that is based certainly in progressive rock. Like the bands they seem to emulate, the music evokes a visual cacophony that is deeply rooted in the late 70s.
But the music of BRADBURY isn't spacey in the same way as, say, "Saucerful of Secrets" or "Brain Salad Surgery." Instead, I hear sounds that remind me of Buddhist readings of the sutras. The hypnotic voices and bells grow inward, not out.
This band is deep. It's a sound that seems to be produced at below the cellular level. For those who really want - to - get - down. /JGKK


喜怒哀楽 喜怒哀楽
AP1058/2015.04.22/¥2,500 + 税
BACABACCA
キャロル、ダウンタウンブギウギバンド、宇崎竜童バンド、West Road Blues Band のメンバーが集結したスーパーバンド!全員還暦を迎えてもなお爆進中のまさに完熟、ファン待望流通初作品!こんなやつらは貴重だ。
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This Superband consists of members of Carol, Downtown Boogie Woogie Band, Ryudo Uzaki Band, and West Road Blues Band. Though every member is over 60 years old, they play with vigor and energy that rock’n’roll fans have been waiting for. It’s a bonafide masterpiece!

Reunions and Tribute albums can be good, but most of the time, they feel like they are trying too hard to bring back something that is lost. Perhaps, it’s a sign that there are things that should be left to memory.
These four legendary musicians weren’t getting together for a reunion or a tribute to anything - they just wanted to play together. What’s more, they decided to call themselves something that reflects the incredible lightness of being - old. They’re BACABACCA, loosely translated to “Dumbassed Dumbos.”
It’s this humor that makes these guys great. They are having a good time. That’s what made it work getting together to cut an album. They are not only enjoying themselves, but they are rocking their hearts out.
There is no pretension, no posturing, no preening, and no sense of competition. All of them have been frontmen. They all sing led vocals, play their instruments - 2 guitarists, bass, and drums. They share the stage equally.
It isn’t even like they decided to do it because they didn’t want to hurt anyone’s ego. It sounds like it just happened that way. Their egos never got in the way.
The result is just incredible rock and roll. /JGKK


Beauty of Tradition REINCARNATION -リインカーネーション-
AP1057 / 2014.12.01 /¥2,500 + 税
Jun Kawabata
静かな太陽を探して。
いきなり、どこか遠いはるかな地の果てにほうりだされる。よく旅し、よく耽溺し消尽し、落ちながら昇っていく。
夢みながらめざめている。さすらいのトラベローグミュージック。死すべき存在をその呪縛から解き放つ、美しくて、残酷で、はかなくて、切ない恩寵だ。ゲストに類家心平(Pet)、喜多直毅 (Violin)、井上 JUJU 博之(Sax)、竹内直(Sax) 本田珠也(Drums)、荒巻茂生(Bass)、内海利勝(Guitar)、Malin Harue(Vocal) 参加。全12曲。
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We tried to imagine a quiet sun. Experimenting with tranquility and silence.
I’ve always been tormented - filled with obsession and frustration.

Jun Kawabata (Piano, Keys, Percussion)

Accompanied by:
Shinpei Ruike (Trumpet)
Naoki Kita (Violin)
Hiroshi Juju Inoue (Sax)
Shigeo Aramaki (Double Bass)
Nao Takeuchi (Sax)
Tamaya Honda (Drums)
Toshikatsu Uchiumi (Guitar)
Malin Harue (Vocals)

In his liner notes, Kawabata says that he’s “always been tormented.” Listening to “REINCARNATION,” this statement sounds, at first, almost unbelievable. This exploration of sounds - tranquility and silence - is as ethereal as the theme - trying to imagine a quiet sun - suggests.
The line-up suggests jazz, with keyboards, trumpet, saxes, guitar, double bass, and drums. No doubt, with the diverse background of the musicians, there are elements of jazz in the music. But the composition is minimalist, sparse, as much subtract as abstract, and with a slightly off-kilter melody.
In the third track “Amour after the rain,” Kita’s violin screeches against Malin’s vocal landscape, creating a strangely pleasant dissonance. “Incantation,” track eight, instead of the vocals one might expect, the chanting is mostly by trumpet and violin. By the second or third listening, I started to hear “other” voices, beyond the ethereal.
I first listened to this when it was first released, in 2014. In the years that have transpired since then, I’ve listened to it occasionally. And now, in 2020, I’m listening it to write this review. In retrospect, it is a sound that is both comforting and somewhat jarring. I think, perhaps, it is because for “REINCARNATION,” death is a prerequisite.
Thankfully, the album provides ample opportunities to find rebirth and renaissance. /JGKK


Beauty of Tradition Beauty of Tradition
AP1056 / 2014.12.03 /¥2,500 + 税
ミャンマーの18 世紀あたりより続く伝統音楽を知るための入門編。
200 年前のラブソング。伝統楽器の竪琴や太鼓、チャルメラ(笛)、バッタラー、歌などによるサインワインオーケストラやソロによる演奏。いろいろなミャンマー伝統音楽のタイプを知る事ができる一枚。ナッ(精霊)信仰の音楽もある。
(井上さゆり 解説書付き)
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れでは聞いてくださいvol.2 それでは聞いてくださいvol.2
APEM1026 ¥2,000 + 税
Kuyuki
透き通るウィスパーボイスとバンドサウンドが融合した、Kuyuki初全国盤!
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NEVER LET ME GO/SADIE NEVER LET ME GO/
APEM1018/2016.04.20/¥2,500 + 税
SADIE(セディ)
乾いた色気のあるジョアンナ・ウォンを彷彿させるSADIEの初フルアルバム。
心地よい大人の雰囲気を醸し出す。ビートルズの「Come Together」も歌う。
ボーカルに寄り添うロックなギターリフ、オールドなオルガンも必聴。
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Full of dry sex appeal, the music is reminiscent of Taiwanese-American songstress, Joanna Wong. The music is adult, contemporary, and rocking. Among the originals is a rocking version of The Beatles’ classic, Come Together. Raucous guitar riffs and organ cuddle around sultry vocals.

The music is reminiscent of an earlier period of rock. There was a period, in the late 60s and early 70s, when it was cool, fashionable for rock music to have band members who played “other” instruments, saxophone, violin, flute, mandolin, and, especially, the organ. It wasn’t gimmicky, but it seemed quite normal for kids who grew up playing in marching bands and orchestras to join rock bands without giving up their instruments.

I’m not sure what happened during the 70s, but by the time I grew into adolescence and early adulthood, rock bands were mostly represented by three instruments - guitar, bass, and drums. Occasionally, piano, keyboards, and synthesizers, but there was precious little space on stage for anything but the standard four dudes, one with a microphone.

I remember well Billy Preston playing the organ, in the background, alongside The Beatles, the fifth musician on the makeshift stage on top of Apple Corp. Don’t Let Me Down.

Sly and the Family Stone, too, showed us between 1966 and 1983, but especially in the period of the late 60s to early 70s that organ, sax, trumpet, and women belonged in rock’n’roll, but also, just as importantly, that rock could be simultaneously funk, soul, and psychedelic music.

Some great bands today, from the North Mississippi All Stars to Alabama Shakes, and Ozomatli to even the way too popular Red Hot Chili Peppers remind me that rock music has a soul and that it should celebrate life with a funky good time. While Superfly, The Okamoto’s, and the Suchmos may be Japanese bands that are much more familiar to nearly everyone, even those who follow Japanese popular music, Sadie’s music, though, doesn’t just shake, rattle, and roll. She includes numbers that are sultry and vulnerable, more in line with what is found in the “singer-songwriter” catalog.

There are lots of sounds, many boxes that can be checked when you listen to Sadie. What’s the most defining? I think, that if you’re a person with Fantastic Negrito and Big Ol Nasty Getdown on your playlist, then you need Sadie. /JGKK


シャーマン狩り-Go gunning for Shaman- SCARABE
APX1015 / 2014.06.04 /¥2,500 + 税
MIYUKI MIURA
極上のリードが紡ぐ、アコーディオンの音色が柔らかく響く。
幻想的な音世界で生まれ変わるクラシックの名曲!
ストーリー性溢れる演奏は必聴。
主よ人の望みの喜びよ(J.S.Bach)、ヨーロッパ中世の音楽など全10曲。
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The glorious sound of the accordion, spinning softly in its finest form. This is classical music in its most full range of sounds. It’s a performance that should not be missed.
Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude (Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring) by J.S Bach, and nine other Medieval European classics, including compositions from Satie and Sibelius.

The accordion, to many people, is an instrument that is played in schools and folk and country music. Much maligned, it is difficult for many to fathom the full range of expression that a maestro possesses, with the percussive keyboard of the piano and the pipes that blow from the bellows. It is an instrument that is best thought of as a personal pipe organ.
Here, the organ is taken out of the cathedral and miniaturized, condensed in the nimble hands and vast repertoire of Miyuki Miura. Starting with Bach, mere mortals tumble to humility in the presence of Jesus, Son of God. In the middle, Erik Satie raises questions of consciousness, while Sibelius entertains and rejoices with a different sort of reverie and dance.
The musical choices and performance is gleeful. Just as the chamber orchestra provides a simplified view of the composer’s intent in contrast with the symphony, this orchestra-in-a-box provides the clarity of a single, commanding voice - the voice of God from beyond. /JGKK


シャーマン狩り-Go gunning for Shaman- Pure Glass
MOR004 ¥2,500 + 税
Keach Kato
元SALLYのヴォーカル加藤喜一による、デビュー30周年にしてファン待望初のソロアルバム!
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シャーマン狩り-Go gunning for Shaman- シャーマン狩り-GO GUNNING FOR SHAMAN-
AP1055 / 2013.12.04 /¥2,500 + 税
小田朋美
独特で卓越したピアノ演奏力、トランシーなまでの濃厚な歌唱力と、圧倒的で全方向的な才能が菊地成孔との共同プロデュースでデビュー。無限の可能性と壊れ易さ、粗暴なまでのボーイッシュと胸を締め付けられるガーリーな声の魅力、オリンピアードなまでの実力と遊戯の様に楽々と繰り出される奇跡は聴くものを捉えて離さない。
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The fantastic debut of a multidimensional talent, with uniquely fantastic piano and a rich voice, in collaboration with the producer, Naruyoshi Kikuchi, is Tomomi Oda. This album showcases incredible virtuosity, with extremely fragile femininity, boyish charm, and a cutesy voice that titillates, with the miracle of her incredible piano. Wow!

The album title suggests a hunt for a shaman. Methinks she’s found one. Or, more likely, a roomful of shamans.

Tomomi Oda seems, to me, the Japanese reincarnation of Amy Winehouse. her piano is dramatic and evocative. But it’s her voice, and vocal style, that draws you in, pulling you back and forth like a condor on a short leash.

Every song is a dramatic story; like a master storyteller, Oda is always in total control of the plot line. And her delivery is exquisite. She studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts, GEIDAI, one of the most prestigious art universities in Japan. She’s performed as the keyboardist for the Nintendo Special Rock Band at the Nintendo Switch experience in 2017, and she’s performed with ASA-CHANG & Junray, but she’s still a bit of a mystery.

Over the past couple of years, she seems to be active as an actress and stage performer, in addition to her musical talents. Since this 1st album’s release in 2013, she’s a whole bunch of material. Movies, television dramas, and commercials, too. it’s not the lack of stuff, but the plethora, in so many directions, that makes her mysterious.

But going back to the music, I’m flabbergasted. Blown away, actually. She’s polished. Not like a diamond, but like rhinestones. Thousands of them. In all colors and cuts. Go gunning. /JGKK


Sacrifice For Pleasure Sacrifice For Pleasure
AP1054/2013.10.25/¥1,905 + 税
Chihei Hatakeyama
坂本龍一を魅了し、岩井俊二が「空気を一変させてしまう音楽」と言ったアンビエント・ドローン。
「人間の死は生に先行する」という重いテーゼをテーマにしつつも、静止した時間の中でいつまでも漂う浮世離れなサウンド。
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This is music that captivated YMO member and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” star Ryuichi Sakamoto and anime and film director Shunji Iwai called “music that changes the air.” It can also be described as ambient drone. The music is based on a very serious theme, that “For humanity, Death precedes Life.” Despite the heavy background, the sound floats infinitely in the still of a timeless moment.

Wow. The sound. The sounds. The. Sound.
It feels silly to say… anything. But I’ll try.
The music sounds like a Zen proverb. It isn’t music FOR meditation, but it can provide an impetus. You might not get the sense of enlightenment, but you should get an idea of eternity. /JGKK


メビウスの鳥 メビウスの鳥
APX1014 ¥2,000 + 税
蜂谷真紀 ユーグ・ヴァンサン
フランスのチェリスト、ユーグ・ヴァンサン、 日本のボイスインプロヴァイザー蜂谷真紀。
明日の音を旅して止まぬ鬼鋭2人が意気投合。これは大人の真剣な遊びの記録。
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BAR LIVE 62 BAR LIVE 62 (Live録音)
AP1053/2013.10.25/¥2,500 + 税
Mooney
25 年前に近所のBAR から始まった引き語りのバーライブ。
いつしか仲間もお客さんも増え、夜な夜な繰り広げ られる笑えや踊れの大騒ぎ! Mooney 真骨頂のBARLIVE。
臨場感溢れる高音質(192kHz 録音)のライブ音 源! Ain’t Nobody Business、Lazy River、 ルート66、ねこは屋根、朝からエビバディ など全15 曲。
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失踪者 -Missing Person- 失踪者 -Missing Person-
AP1046 / 2013.10.25 /¥1,905 + 税
Jun Kawabata
「サヨナラ日常」と思うことがよくある。
2011 年3 月11 日以降放射能があちこちに降り注いだ。
東京のガイガーも上がった。その時の心情を音に綴ってみた。始まりの曲はハインラインの「地球の緑の丘」、終わりの曲はネビル・シュートの「On The Beach」をタイトルとした。
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All too often we think to ourselves, “Goodbye - the daily grind.”
Since the fateful day on March 11, 2011, radioactivity falls here and there. We can count the increase on Geiger counters here in Tokyo. I tried to make sounds out of my feelings at that time.
The first song is "The Green Hill of the Earth" by Heinlein. The last track is by Neville Chute, entitled, "On The Beach.”

Inside the CD jacket, the album is dedicated to “Missing Persons.” But the album title is singular.
I think that most music is intended to be played live. For an audience. Most.
Missing Person, I feel, is intended to be listened to alone. But that isn’t to say that it is all gloomy. there is no sense of doom here. It seems more like it’s intended for each person to think for themselves, to take a somber moment, not to think of the dead and mourn, but to try and find the “Missing Person” inside each of us. /JGKK


If forced to put this music into a box, I’d probably put it into one labeled “New Age” or “Ambient.” Or, I’d look for a box that said, “Other.”

In an imaginary office, where a desk clerk would file mail into slots, this would be one that he sets aside in the slot labeled “unfiled” or, even better “Later.”

This music is certainly best left for later, not earlier. I don’t mean it as a euphemism for putting it aside, never to hear. Rather, later in the day, later in life, later, when you’ve gotten over listening only to songs that make you feel good, make you want to dance, fall in love, make you feel like you belong. This isn’t music to make you feel these things.

In fact, you might feel lost, sad, even uncomfortable. There is a great amount of beauty, tranquility, contemplative landscapes, and strange colors in the music. But it doesn’t stay *settled.* The sounds are strange. There are peaceful sounds, but on the whole, it is unsettling.

I imagine that’s why it’s called Missing Person. I don’t know if it’s Kawabata, who’s missing, or the listener, or someone else. I imagine that he’s trying to find someone who’s missing. After listening to this, I keep hoping that he’ll find the someone someday. I wonder what that will sound like - Lost and Found. /JGKK


LE KEMONO INTOXIQUE LE KEMONO INTOXIQUE
AP1051 / 2013.09.18 /¥2,500 + 税
けもの
禍々しさと呑気、ハイスキルと幼稚、呪いと笑いが悠々と混在。ジャズベースでありながら斬新な世界観を持つ青羊の、異様なまでに生々しい歌声と佇まいと、本邦ジャズ界でも屈指の若手実力派によるドープでグルーヴィーな演奏が醸し出す圧倒的な魅力と存在感。
「日本のニーナ・シモン」等と称され、熱狂的な指示を受けて来た。
21 世紀型女性ソロユニットけもの、菊地成孔プロデュースによる1st フルアルバム。
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Painful and carefree, high skill and innocent, curses and laughter sit together cozily. With jazz bass at its roots, the strange and fresh vocals burst with youthful color and freshly squeezed talent. The performance is dope, possessing groove.

She’s been hailed as “Japan’s Nina Simone” and received ravenous reception. Kemono is a female vocalist for the 21st Century.

This first full album is produced by Naruyoshi Kikuchi.

Intoxicated… With? By? It’s unclear, the meaning of the album title, but I am struck by its boldness.

The music does sound like late night music, played in a place that undoubtedly serves something intoxicating. But I think the reference is more than that. Upon listening to Le Kemono Intoxique, I *feel* intoxicated. Not drunk out of my wits, but as though I’ve been drinking casually and moderately all night long, engaged in conversation with the pleasant companionship of someone extremely attractive, intelligent, charming, and delightful. It’s music for those kinds of moments, the ones you just wish might go on forever. Forget the adolescent lust or the seriousness of *adult* responsibilities, just enjoy the joyful moments that linger…

There’s enough sung in Japanese and in Japanese-inflected English to be accessible to pretty much anyone who needs to be able to understand some of the lyrics to appreciate the music. I find “World Music” enjoyable, but it’s partly because I like imagining what they might be singing and I am not particularly uncomfortable if I don’t know. But when someone is voicing clearly words that seem impassioned and meaningful, it is difficult for some to appreciate the voice absent of meaning.

The music. I started a sentence with the two words, but found completing it so difficult. It isn’t finding *something* to say, but deciding *which something* is worth saying. There’s just so much. So I’ll stop trying, and just listen. I suggest we grab a bottle of fine red wine or umeshu, and sip for awhile. /JGKK


“Aoyama Noise”Live at Cay “Aoyama Noise”Live at Cay(限定アナログ盤)
APFT2011 / 2012.02.21 /¥2,200 + 税
伊藤まく、美川俊治、大友良英、エドウィン・ファン・デル・ハイデ、古舘徹夫
2010 年8 月1 日、青山Cay のノイズライブ録音。ハーシュ・ノイズの奇跡。押し寄せるノイズ山脈、しかし、ずっと聴き続けるとヒーリングで頭が癒される。ノイズをハイクオリティーなアナログ盤で聴くのは最高の贅沢と言えよう。44.1KHz 以上のスペック音が聴けるのだ。
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This recording is from August 1, 2010, live at Cay in Aoyama. It’s a miracle of Hirsch noise.

It’s a thunderous mountain of noise, but if you keep listening to it, it becomes comforting.

It is said that listening to a high quality piece of analog music is the finest luxury. You can hear the frequencies above 44.1KHz.

The recording is two tracks, one on each side of the vinyl LP. I’ve seen it described as noise, noise/silence, and harsh noise. The players used computers, turntables, and electronics in their two part performance. The first performance, Side A, was played by Yoshihide Otomo, Maq Ito, and Toshiji Mikawa. The second, Side B, was Edwin Van Der Heide and Tetsuo Furudate.

It isn’t an album most people would select to play for a wedding, or a birthday party. Despite the words in the brief liner notes, the comforting aspects of the sound don’t come from the melodic instrumentation or quaint and romantic lyrics. It’s got neither.

The sounds that dominate are certainly harsh; they are industrial or, at least, mechanical noises that are evocative of industrial decay, destruction, and the screeching of something gone wrong. There are certainly moments of silence or, perhaps, quiet contemplation. But rather than peacefulness, they seem to suggest fragments of broken machinery and a temporary respite. I keep imagining that I am in some dark cyberpunk world.

This, it seems to me, is not unlike what many people might expect in Tokyo’s underground. Somewhere in the back alleys of Akihabara, Odaiba, or even Shinjuku, in neo-Gothic palaces decorated with neon, dust, and mecha, the walls reverberate with these sounds. Perhaps someone is polishing their mecha wares. Or, possibly, the mecha itself is working diligently to come to life. The androids don’t sleep here, so even in silence, the noise persists.

I wasn’t there on August 1 at Cay, so I don’t know what these five people were trying to convey, nor what the audience was imagining. But if the intent was to conjure the vision of a Steampunk dystopia, they got it just right. Or all wrong. Either way, you’re off on a sbizarre journey. Bon voyage. /JGKK


behind the inside behind the inside
AP1050/2013.08.07/¥2,500 + 税
The Modern Trio (ピアノ 南博)
日本を代表するピアニスト南博とデンマークのミュージシャン(Bass ニルス・デヴィットセン、Drums アナス・モーンセン)とのレコーディング。2012 年夏のコペンハーゲン・ジャズ・フェスティバルで結成された、日本+ デンマークの最高級ブレンド・ピアノトリオ “The Modern Trio”。
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The recording features Japan’s leading pianist, Hiroshi Minami and two Danes, bass player Nils Davidsen and drummer Anders Morgensen. The Modern Trio is a fantastic amalgam of Japan and Denmark’s finest, formed in the summer of 2012 at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival.

Power trios in the world of electric music are usually guitar-bass-drums. But in the acoustic world, the drums and double bass are joined most frequently by the piano. This format, when played by the most skilled and cohesive units, provide a range of textures and tones that can range from the discordant and exciting to melodic and sublime.

From Bud Powell, Ray Brown, and Buddy Rich to Ellington Mingus Roach to The Bad Plus, the jazz trio is filled with iconic music, setting musical standards that broke previous standards. The Modern Trio explores the world of modern jazz, with a healthy dose of cyclical notations that evolve continuously, making the repetitive elements sound more maniac than monotonous. Their aural schizophrenia sometimes seems unrelenting, but it always evolves again into something strangely reassuring and even peaceful.

Not surprisingly, the three penned all of the tracks on this release. Davidsen penned three and Morgensen two, but the remaining seven are composed by the three together. This isn’t merely appropriate, but the tunes sound completely original and uniquely theirs. The 7th and 8th tracks, What makes sense? and Don’t fixit!, seem to me to be their two most defining statements on the album. It certainly isn’t broken, but it might not be anything you were expecting either. As they suggest, though, don’t fix it, just lay back, listen, and enjoy the ride. /JGKK


沈黙の声 the very voice of silence 沈黙の声 the very voice of silence
APX1013 ¥2,400 + 税
黒田京子
様々な演奏形態で、ジャンルを越えた活動を続けるピアニスト、黒田京子のピアノソロアルバムがリリース!
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飛ぶものたち、這うものたち、歌うものたち 飛ぶものたち、這うものたち、歌うものたち
AP1049 / 2013.05.22 /¥2,500 + 税
ものんくる
「彼等を世に出さずに何をすれば良いのか」アコースティック・ポップ・ミュージックの新時代を告げるアンファン・テリブル(恐るべき子供)「ものんくる」、鬼才菊地成孔のプロデュースによる衝撃のデビュー作。
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Can’t hold down talent like this.”

Enfant Terrible (the terrifying child) mononkul signals the beginning of a new era of acoustic pop music. Their impressive debut is produced masterfully by the genius, Naruyoshi Kikuchi.

It’s Showtime!! Take a seat and prepare to be entertained.

This is a very impressive debut album. The music is crafted carefully like a Broadway musical. Or, more accurately, like an off-Broadway musical. There’s no aura of the magnificence of a Andrew Lloyd Webber or Harold Prince production, because the numbers sound like they are meant to be performed in a small, underground theater, tucked between warehouses, a 15-minute walk away from the bright lights of Times Square.

But the lights on mononkul are actually more likely shining in Kichijoji, Koenji, or even Kyoto. In an underground playhouse or community theatre, the song, dance, and avant-garde performance might be sparsely attended, but the people who are there would be everyone who is *someone* in the Japan underground performance art world. It’s no longer new music to be “discovered,” but anyone who expects to be taken seriously as a Japanese underground music insider couldn’t be unaware of the incredible talents of mononkul.

While this scenario is left uncertain in a post-COVID world, there is no stopping the imagination in listening to Flyfolks, Crawlfolks, Singfolks. So be prepared - to fly, crawl, and be sung. /JGKK


BrasilianGroove - Live at Coffee Bigaku BrasilianGroove - Live at Coffee Bigaku
GPME0001 ¥2,000 + 税
永田ジョージ&露木達也
リリカルでしなやかなピアノとギターが織りなすブラジリアンジャズのニューフェイスがここに誕生!!
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ALMANDINE ALMANDINE
APX1012 / 2013.03.17 /¥1,905 + 税
三浦みゆき
三浦みゆきによるオリジナル第二弾。コントラバスとの共演。非現実間の漂う音の 世界観
全オリジナル作品の中でコンサーティーナ独特の強いエネルギーが感じられる曲ばかり集めたアルバムっとなっている。躍動感、宇宙感、全曲にわたって、ストーリーが感じられるように書き下ろした作品。
Almandine、Choral、Pagoda など全8曲。
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This is our second release of original compositions of Miyuki Miura. This time, with the accompaniment of contrabass.
The sounds seem to drift in an unreal world. The album is a collection that embodies all of the powerful energy that emanates from the hands of the concertina virtuoso.
Dynamism and spacey, the eight songs attempt to tell the full story of the concertina’s novel emotional potential.
The album’s title track, Almadine, Choral, and pagoda paint a contrasting landscape.

While the English concertina seems most similar to the accordion, I would liken the sounds it creates to something more like the cross between bagpipes and a pipe organ, with the slight twist imposed by a harmonica. While the powerful energy expands and floats like the pipe organ, it weaves and waves like the bagpipes. It sometimes sounds like two people - twins - playing simultaneously. Perhaps that is because the sound is the same whether the bellows are blowing in or out, something peculiar, I understand, in such instruments.
Miura, alone, with her invisible twin, is joined here by Mao Yamada, undoubtedly a different person, on the double bass. The notes that fall - bellow - are, no doubt from a different source, a voice that is as much to counter as complement the voices from the concertina.
Each of the three tracks pointed out in the liner notes does provide contrasting colors in Miura’s broad palette. She’s the maestro, offering strokes that evoke visions of Picasso working alone, painting mostly to show himself what he is capable of. But I think that another track - Twilight Zone - provides a vivid story, emotional and otherworldly. Here, the clarity with which you can hear the metal levers that produce the concertina’s sounds, contrasted against the contrabass, create the impression of strange footsteps. It’s haunting and hypnotic. /JGKK


THE LADY OF SOUL THE LADY OF SOUL
APX1011/2013.03.20/¥2,667 + 税
Ahya -彩-

心を揺さぶる「魂の歌声」 天才ソウルシンガー「彩-Ahya-」伝説のブルースシンガー大木トオルプロデュースでデビュー!大木トオルが美空ひばりの再起をかけて作曲した「魂のかけら」を収録。全10 曲。

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Produced by the legendary blues singer, Toru Oki, the incredible soul voice of Ahya on this debut release resolutely affirms the album’s title, “The Lady of Soul.”
The album contains 10 wonderful tracks, including the final cut, “Tamashi no Kakera” (Shards of Soul), penned by Toru Oki and conjures the spirit of another Japanese legend, Misora Hibari.

Soul music isn’t racially or ethnically prejudiced. That is, there is nothing that keeps anybody who isn’t an Afro American from being a top soul performer. But a natural reaction for most people in listening to Ahya for the first time is, “She’s not Japanese, is she?”
Without any exaggeration, Ahya is soul. Her rendition of Natural Woman conjures Aretha Franklin. Powerfully. Expansively. Hauntingly.
The range of emotions and expressions belies her years. This debut album was released in 2013 when Ahya was in her mid 20s.
Born in Kyoto, Ahya started playing alto sax in junior high school at the age of 12. At 14, she started to study music formally. She’s a woman of transitions, though, having gone through four names as a performer, from Ayaka to 彩花iroha (Ayaka Iroha) to 彩Ahya (Aya Ahya) to 物部彩花 (Mononabe Ayaka). With several albums now under her belt, she’s a much more accomplished and mature performer. But I’m still enamored to this, her debut. /JGKK


Spirals are dancing alone Spirals are dancing alone
APX1010 / 2012.12.12 /¥2,000 + 税
喜多直毅 Frédéric Blondy(フレデリック・ブロンディ)
二人の鬼才が奏でる究極のアコースティック・サウンド、奇跡的な邂逅の記録。
本CD はヨーロッパ即興演奏シーンの第一線で活躍するピアニスト、フレデリック・ブロンディと共に、パリのSaint-Merri 教会で録音されたものである。秀逸。
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This is a recording of a miraculous encounter between two virtuoso performers. Recorded at the Église Saint-Merry in Paris, Violinist Naoki Kita performs two improvisations with Frédéric Blondy, a pianist that is a leading player in the European improvisational scene. Par excellence!

My first, gut reaction was, “What is this?” After several times listening, I’m still not entirely certain.

The music is, perhaps, equal parts classical, jazz, and noise. The instruments - violin and piano - are acoustic, but the sound, echoing in the chambers of the medieval church, seems frequently strangely electronic. Or, rather, the sound often seems non-human.

Both the piano and violin are, of course, stringed instruments. Conventionally, the violin is plucked or bowed, and the piano played by using the percussive hammers that are activated through the keys. Many players of both, however, employ other techniques, making sounds that can make both the violin and the piano percussion instruments, and the tones that emanate from the strings themselves to sound unusual.

Both Naoki Kita and Frédéric Blondy, though, are highly unconventional. Their originality isn’t gimmicky, however. Their musical explorations are dark and expansive, perfectly suited to the Église Saint-Merry. The Gothic cathedral, built in the first half of the 16th Century, contains the oldest bell in Paris, cast in 1331. Undoubtedly, even such an ancient bell has never before heard music rendered quite like this. /JGKK


『Sign of Pink』(ピンクの気配) Sign of Pink
AP1047 / 2012.12.19 /¥2,667 + 税
God's Pink(ゴッズ・ピンク)
ブルース、ロックンロール、ポップ、クラシック、プログレを飲み込み全てを浄化させるMalin Harue 率いる極大プロジェクト。元キャロルのギター内海利勝が結成に関わる享楽と逸脱の超濃厚こってり大盛りパッケージ。マリンバ、Key も加わり綺麗目で猛々しい祝祭的な空間のオンパレード。
デスペラードな音楽で男も女も歌垣的な喜びにみちた時間に痺れませんか?
Dusty Road、ヘブンリーロマンス、細い雨、Airplane、Wind、廻り舞台~短い夏の夢~など 全13曲。
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A huge undertaking, led by Malin Harue, that attempts to fuse blues, rock’n’roll, pop, classical, and progressive music, making an altogether novel genre of music. Former guitarist for Japan’s rock giant, Carol, Toshikatsu Uchiumi fronts the stellar cast of musicians and guests, with a delightful array of sounds that stray from the more frequented path of popular contemporary music. Marimba and keyboards provide a less than common foundation to the core line-up, while guest musicians provide violin, viola, and cello to fill the festivities.

You, too, may be frozen in contemplation, mesmerized by the the stunning spaces defined by God’s Pink.

13 tracks in total, including Dusty Road, Heavenly Romance, Light Rain, Airplane, Wind, and Circus Stage (Short Summer Dreams).

Many of the song titles suggest flight and the heavens - Heaven, Heavenly Romance, Light Rain, Airplane, Wind, Angel’s Christmas, Rock’n’Roll Star. There’s just one Christmas song, but the release, in late December in 2012, suggests the winter holidays. Many of the lyrics are, after all, much about love, hopes, joy, and the heavens.

There’s a bit of rock, pop, and contemporary classical sounds in the music, as the liner notes suggest, but the overall sound is adult contemporary Japanese pop music, but definitely not standard J-Pop. That being said, it is music that should have a big following, though it hasn’t made a major impact on the Japanese music scene.

Uchiumi’s guitar, both acoustic and electric, make their mark on several of the tracks, but overall, the violin, viola, and cello has a powerful impact on the sound. The impression is partly classical, but more, the feeling I got is contemplative and surreal. I imagine the music as being sounds being played in an imaginary garden, somewhere that isn’t existence itself but a program, existing only in the mind, like in the film The Matrix. There, in the very real garden of our minds, all of our hopes, aspirations, and loves are true. /JGKK


青春の光と影 青春の光と影
AP1045 / 2012.08.28 /¥1,905 + 税
Luft(ルフト)
雨にぬれても、パリのめぐり逢い、モーニングアフター、バクダットカフェ、追憶、ムーンリバー、青春の光と影。
いつか観た恋の映画や今もう一度聴きたい恋の音楽をテーマにした1960 年代~ 80年代の映画音楽特集。
歌とピアノのみで静かに演奏するアパートメントシリーズの第3 弾でもある。
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We might get wet in the rain, but you can still see the sights of Paris, the morning after, Baghdad Cafe, recollection, moon river, the shadows and light of youth. The music is made as the soundtrack to a feature film of the 1960s to 80s, with the themes of loves from the past and loves I hope to relive once more.

It’s also the third installment of the Apartment Trilogy, with soft songs accompanied by the piano.

Songs sung in the spirit of French pop music of the 70s, Harue Malin brings back memories of Françoise Hardy and France Gall, singing softly songs of love or, should we say, amour. With the piano playing softly in the corner, the lovely ladies would saunter through the cafe, singing in sultry voices and making hearts go fluttering.

The concept of the trilogy, though, is songs playing somewhere in an apartment. It’s a concept that seems rather sad, since the songs of love are being played and sung to a non-existent audience, save for each other, we presume. But then, why should such a personal moment be sad?

Perhaps the music celebrating love can be appreciated most fully when it is not being played for an audience.

This is a recording, however, one that is being heard, somewhere, because someone has at least pushed a button somewhere to listen to it play. It could be an office, a car, or even outdoors, but it’s probably music that some people would like to hear in an apartment, on a quiet, rainy day or evening. Then, it might be easy to imagine that it isn’t a CD, that it’s Malin, singing in another room, accompanied by the piano.

I like that image. In fact, if I close my eyes, I can see it unfolding. The wind blowing in my window now, and the very slight sound of raindrops help. C’est la vie. /JGKK


AFRODITA AFRODITA
AP1048/2012.10.17/¥2,500 + 税
東京ザヴィヌルバッハ
DCPRG、菊地成孔Dub Septet 等でも活躍するピアニスト、キーボーディスト坪口昌恭率いる東京ザヴィヌルバッハ。複雑に絡み合うポリリズムの上に、ローズピアノの鮮やかな旋律が鳴り響く、エレクトリックジャズ最前線!!ライナーは村井康司の解説と菊池成孔の長文解説「キカイダー撤退。犬から猫へ」。全9曲。49分15秒。
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Tokyo Zawinul Bach is an electronic fusion band led by Masayasu Tzuboguchi, a keyboardist in several other bands, including DCPRG (Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden) and Naruyoshi Kikuchi and Dub Septet. The release features intricate polyrhythms and the vibrant melody of a rose piano, a wonderful front line to electronic jazz!
The liner notes feature the insight of jazz writer and music critic Koji Murai, as well as a long piece by Tzuboguchi himself, cryptically entitled “Kikaider retreat. From dog to cat.” Nine tracks in total, spanning 49 minutes.

Jazz. Electronica. Fusion. Progressive Jazz. Avant-prog. Free Funk. None of the above. All of the above. It’s music that’s too large to peg into small holes.

Tokyo Zawinul Bach is Masayasu Tzuboguchi on keyboards and his longtime friend and collaborator, Kikuchi Naruyoshi on saxes, playing in one of their several groups, that perform under different monikers depending on their styles and other members. Here, their music forays into electronic jazz-funk fusion, with a bit of dub and drum’n’bass mixed in. It’s mostly very late night club music, with Ibiza or Cafe la Mar in mind. But it’s music that is mindful of the reality that it exists mostly in Tokyo, synthesized and mixed on computers and in studios, not played on turntables as the sun slowly rises on the beaches on a Mediterranean island.

The band gets its name from the fusion of Joe Zawinul and Johan Sebastian Bach, fronted by the city in which the group primarily operates. As one might expect from the moniker, the music definitely explores territory that was pioneered by Zawinul’s seminal band, Weather Report. While Bach seems somewhat exaggerated, the group’s progressive compositions align with the extravagant electronic rock opera of ELP and King Crimson, both of which have been associated by many with contemporary classical music.

While in form and substance, the release is likely to be filed under jazz in the fusion section, as with some Japanese bands such as Shakatak and Cassiopeia, I think that a broad audience will find the music to be a long and inspiring adventure. /JGKK


1st Encounter - Live at Coffee Bigaku 1st Encounter - Live at Coffee Bigaku
GPME-0002 ¥2,000 + 税
伊藤大輔 鈴木直人 永田ジョージ
ジャズの伝統を受け継いだ三人が織りなすインタープレイ。
幸せな音粒たちが会場を包み込んだ一夜の記録。聴きながらついつい笑顔に。とても素敵なライブアルバム!
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The Standards I've met The Standards I've met
SR-0005 ¥1,429 + 税
市川 愛
Da LuaでもおなじみVocalist 市川愛の待望のソロミニアルバムが ついにリリース!
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Double Torus Double Torus
APX1009 ¥2,500 + 税
田中邦和 林正樹
吠えるようなブロウから囁くような美音まで自在に操る田中邦和。
恐るべき反応速度でフレーズとグルーヴを噴出させる林正樹。みんな、こんなジャズが聴きたかったはずだ!
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CHANGE MY WORLD CHANGE MY WORLD
APEM1008/2012.07.14/¥2,858 + 税
村山一海
ROCK & Ballade !! そしてCOOLS の真髄、村山一海の集大成 !!
70年代、ティーンエイジャーに多大な影響をもたらしたCOOLS、そのボーカル村山一海のソロ作品を発表!
COOLS の30 年以上にわたる一貫したロックンロールのイメージから一歩先へ、アーティスト「村山一海」として様々なナンバーを歌い上げる。
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Rockers and ballads - The ultimate collection of Mr. COOLS himself, Kazuumi Murayama!

In the 1970s, Mr. Cools was a vocalist that influenced a generation of teenagers. This is a remarkable release that revives that period.

With more than 30 years of COOLS under his belt, this solo release moves ahead a step, taking a contemporary leap forward as Kazuumi Murayama.

I was not in and around Japan in the 1970s. But, as a child of that period, a teenager though the period from 1974-1982, the music of the 70s is what reverberates most in my nostalgic moments. Unlike the music of the 60s or the 80s, or even more recently, I listened to the music of that decade in real time, as a child “discovering” his world.

The music of the 70s is oft derided. Many people dismiss that era as being too “disco,” the era of vapid “AOR,” Blaxploitation, or early heavy metal. This common narrative points to punk rock as the quintessential rejection of that pablum.

But I can’t agree. Those moments glued to a transistor radio, listening patiently to the Billboard Top 40 releases for the week, were where I heard many styles of music for the first time. And without the distraction of a fractured Billboard, with separate lists for rock, pop, R&B, soul, hip-hop, and everything else that would follow, the music we heard contained bits of everything.

This was the phenomenon that I learned later was global. But for most of us growing up in the west, global meant in the U.K. and, perhaps, other parts of Europe. But for bands in Asia, the kids listened not only to the sounds being produced in their own countries, but from the U.S.A., Great Britain, and throughout the world. it comes as no surprise, then, that the music found in Japan, Asia, Latin America, and Africa, their rock’n’roll is rich and mysterious.

The mysterious part isn’t just the tunes sung in Japanese. In the middle of a classic rocker, one can hear notes reminiscent of ABBA. Or a rockabilly track sung in the voice of a black soul crooner. And this makes the music COOLS.

The cover of the CD finds Kazuumi Murayama on a black chopper. He’s probably around 18 years old at the time. That’s about right. You’re in for a ride. with Mr. COOLS. /JGKK


LIFE IS GOOD LIFE IS GOOD
APEM1005/2010.05.21/¥2,667 + 税
内海利勝・ジェームス藤木・和田静男
70’ s ジェネレーションロックギタリスト集結!!
CAROL、COOLS、ダウンタウン・ブギウギ・バンドのギタリストが今なお走り続ける衝撃の1st !!
まるで古いアルバムを聞いたような懐かしさ。
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This release gathers together some of the top guitarists of the 70s! This is the first release that puts together the talents of the guitarists of CAROL, COOLS, and the Down Town Boogie-Woogie Band. These old guys rock! The music feels like listening to an old, familiar album.
On the third track, Ikiteiru Uchi ga Hana Nan-daze (Life is Flowering only when You’re Alive), the refrain repeats, “ikiteirukai?” - Are you alive? It is to respond to this question that these people gathered to record what is undoubtedly the stuff of legends. For Japanese rock fans, this album is the equivalent of The Traveling Wilburys. Toshikatsu Uchiumi of CAROL, James Fujiki of COOLS, and Shizuo Wada of the DTBWB, could easily be the Japanese equivalent of George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty.
On LIFE is GOOD, they hook up with a diverse array of friends and former bandmates, to deliver something that is a retrospective, in terms of song selection, but with the audio quality and musicianship of the 21st Century. The result is a Cd that feels like an old, 70s classic, but with a whole lot of contemporary twists. Instead of sounding like a modern remastering of something as iconic as a Dark Side of the Moon, it feels much more like discovering an old Grateful Dead live album, not a fan-produced bootleg, but a previously unreleased Bear’s Choice, taken from the concert PA system.
Of course, the album is recorded not live, in a club, but in a variety of studios, but the sound captures the spirit of live performances. Perhaps it is the series of photos in the CD art, but the players and guests who are pictured in a variety of shows and in bars and clubs sound like the music is played in those places. Perhaps, many of them are recorded in a single take. In any case, sit back and enjoy the ride. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the end clapping, stomping, and cheering for an encore. /JGKK


Love me tender Love me tender
APX1008 ¥2,381 + 税
北浪良佳
高い歌唱力と豊かな表現力で多くの聴衆を魅了するボーカリスト北浪良佳。
3年ぶりのアルバムをリリース!ボーカリスト北浪良佳の魅力を存分にお楽しみ下さい!
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TARADO 1&2 TARADO 1&2
APEM1007 ¥2,000 + 税
Killer Smells
TBSラジオ 「菊地成孔の粋な夜電波」で紹介され各所で話題沸騰!
Killer Smellsの幻のアルバム『TARADO』と『TARADO 2』を2 in 1でリリース!!
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OstinatO
APEM1006 ¥2,000 + 税
Philippe Ollivier , Yannick Jory
タンゴでもなく、JAZZでもクラッシックでもない、伝統と前衛の繊細さを感じさせるヒーリングCDを独占流通!!
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OstinatO envelops you instantly, silences the noise of the world, and in a language without words, tells of life, inspiration, the small hours of the morning, great impulses, emotions which fill your heart and make time stand still. Its themes fold and unfold as changing landscapes and restless tides, whose melodies express, in expansive sensitive arcs, something indescribable and rare, which could well be the truth.

The album, OstinatO, comes in a simple eco CD Digipak, one of the kind that has a folded cardboard cover with a single plastic insert that the CD clips into. Printed mostly black on white, the sole color on the CD is the duo pictured on the cover inside a circle, crunched up, embracing and playing their instruments in a strange, European rendition of the Ying/Yang symbol.

I thought that the word, ostinato, sounds like Portuguese. I was mistaken; it’s derived from Italian. but in music, ostinato means a phrase or rhythm that is repeated continually, often in the same pitch.

That, then, accounts, for the repetition that is used throughout the music. It’s not merely that they repeat phrases, but the music they play is continually being echoed between the accordion and bandoneon, played by Philippe Olivier, and the saxophone, played by Yannick Jory.

But the repetition, their ostinato, isn’t monotonous. Part of it is because the instruments themselves are so, well, unique. They aren’t, shall we say, run of the mill sounds to begin with, but played together, they sound mystical and even strange. And it isn’t just repetition that they play. It’s just some of the motifs, but the sway and flow shifts and cascades, as though it’s trying to say that some things never change but everything, as a whole, is constantly changing and, perhaps, evolving.

There are no words, save for the liner notes that are plain to see, in French, English, and Japanese, but the feeling I get is that these gentlemen are playing a conversation, and trying to engage in a discussion with us, the listener. That being said, a conversation, with a CD recording, makes for a very limited interaction. Still, if these were words, I’d imagine that they would not be shouting in a single direction. It’s music that inspires a live performance, really. It’s probably something that would be played live in a small cafe or, ideally, in a tunnel inside a subway station.

Nice to see you again, I’d say. and listen to the same notes - ostinato - evolved, another day wiser. /JGKK


English Concertina Fantasy English Concertina Fantasy
APX1007 / 2011.10.23 /¥1,905 + 税
三浦みゆき
世界的にも非常に珍しく、演奏を聴く機会の少なくなったコンサーティーナ。
日本では唯一といっていい奏者三浦みゆきによる独奏。
イングリッシュコンサーティーナの美しい音色や世界観、繊細さが表現された作品。
Cristal Valley、Julian、Silver Lotus Garden など全7曲。
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The English Concertina has become a rather rare instrument, throughout the world. Opportunities to hear the instrument are becoming extremely rare.
Miyuki Miura is the only concertina player in Japan. Her virtuosity is evident in this release, expressing fully the diverse expressions of the delightful instrument.
The album contains 7 tracks, including Cristal Valley, Jurian, and Silver Lotus Garden.

Like some relatively similar instruments, such as the accordion and smaller harps, the music of the Concertina started with classical foundations, but transcended via the churches to other lands and musical forms, often associated with folk music. The concertina started with a single design, patented on December 19, 1829 - #5803 - in Great Britain by Sir Charles Wheatstone.
I’d first heard the sound of the concertina years ago in Celtic music. I thought it was an accordion.
The music of Miyuki Miura here is all as a soloist, showing the broad range of styles and emotions that can be evoked by a virtuoso performer. From the ambient to the devotional and processional, this recording is, as its title suggests, fantastic. /JGKK


Sector b Sector b
AP1044/2011.09.07/¥2,500 + 税
類家心平 4 Piece Band
若手ナンバー1 の驚異のトランペッター、類家心平率いるワンホーンカルテット「類家心平 4 Piece Band」セカンドアルバムが菊地成孔のフル・プロデュースによりリリース。
日本ジャズ界に全く新しいフォームとマナー切り開く、アバンギャルド な名盤。全7曲。
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The album features the amazing young trumpeter, Shinpei Ruike, who leads a 4-piece quartet in its second release under the wing of the prodigious Japanese musician and producer, Naruyoshi Kikuchi. The release is an avant-garde masterpiece, that opens up jazz in Japan to a whole new world. 7 tracks total.

The eco digi-pak sleeve cover depicts two sides that seem incongruous and gull of intrigue. On the front, Shinpei Ruike poses, glamorously and proud, looking more suited to the cover of a fashion magazine than a jazz album. On the reverse, little other than a monochrome of a man holding a horn. But the pose, seems confidant and, with a shirt slightly open and revealing skin, feels defiant.

But thankfully it isn’t the graphics that is most defining. The music is crisp and bold. Like the cover, it is monochrome, drawn in sumi ink like Japanese calligraphy. If it were written onto a folding screen, the characters would be drawn in one take with a large brush held in both hands, like a trumpet.

At 44 years on April 27 2020, Shinpei Ruike’s a bit older than he looks. On Sector B, released in 2011, he is playing at around 35 years of age, still young, but with something around 20 years of experience playing his horn. This goes far in explaining how he plays with the skill and confidence of a man coming into his musical prime. And, with the rather staid and conservative character of jazz music in Japan, as well as the nation as a whole, it also gives some insight to his apparent defiance.

All of this gives great hope and light to the jazz music scene here. The music is wildly imaginative. One of the tracks is penned by their producer, Naruyoshi Kikuchi. Four are penned by Ruike himself. But one gives me a sign of bright times ahead. it is a cover of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. Made me go, “Ga Ga Goo Goo.” /JGKK


The Sounds Fur Klastar Point The Sounds Fur Klastar Point
AP1043 / 2011.04.06 /¥2,191 + 税
大島輝之
Sim(シム)などで複数の異なる時間軸の配置により鮮やかに既存の音楽を脱臼させた大島輝之が放つ5年ぶりソロアルバム。ゲスト・ミュージシャンには、やくしまるえつこ、大谷能生。
粒子のような音楽素材が収縮と拡散を繰り返すパラドキシカルなイマジナリー・サウンド。
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In his first release in 5 years, Teruyuki Oshima brilliantly dislocates a wide variety of more recognizable musical sounds in a vivid sim exploration. Guest musicians include Etsuko Yakushimaru and Yosio Ootani.
The sound is paradoxical and imaginative, with the musical material repeated and distorted like particles, contracted and diffused.

Like the artwork included in the simple eco-sleeve, The Sounds Für Kləstər Pöint swirls in a double helix like mutated DNA, giving insight into the mind of the organism that gave this music life. While not monochromatic, it is largely minimalist.

But while the liner notes implies a very digital world, the musical samples are highly analog. Notes of violin, viola, clarinet, saxophones, and flute are interspersed with the drums and percussion, as well as Oshima’s guitars, bass, and piano. The voices, though, while not altered in the manner of vocaloid, seems imagined, like they originate from animated characters. And the whole is altered significantly using computers and digital studio pyrotechnics.

It’s quite difficult to place the compositions in time. They sound simultaneously like the visionary and experimental works of Kraftwork, Tangerine Dream, and YMO as well as contemporary avant-garde music, from Sun Ra to John Cage and Milton Babbitt. This is a tremendous musical achievement that should not be dismissed lightly. /JGKK


Crossmodal Crossmodal
APX1006 ¥2,381 + 税
林正樹 STEWMAHN
Salle Gavaeu、菊地成孔&ペペ・トルメントアスカラール他数多くのミュージシャンと活動する
人気ピアニスト 林正樹のリーダーバンド「林正樹 STEWMAHN」がついにアルバムリリース!
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Continental Continental
AP2036/2011.03.03/¥1,800 + 税
orwell
ポップジャンルを主軸に、実に現代的な切り口で古典的ポップスを奏でる10 年代フレンチポップの新しい形!!
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we don't care about music anyway... we don't care about music anyway...
AP1042 / 2011.01.10 /¥2,000 + 税
V.A.
ガスパール・クエンツ監督の日本のノイズミュージックシーンと東京の風景にスポットを当てたドキュメンタリー作品のサントラ。坂本弘道、大友良英、L?K?O、NUMB 、山川冬樹などが繰り広げる轟音と爆音の音塊。
映画では10 人のミュージシャンによる即興演奏はテクノロジーに 基づきながらも、ノイズ音楽と文化について語る。
人間の根源的な魂の発露を思わせる未開で未知の音楽作品。
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This soundtrack is from a documentary by Gaspard Kuentz, about the Japanese noise music scene and the landscape of Tokyo. The film focuses on 10 musicians, who are immersed in technology but are obsessed by noise music and culture. The music is an exploration into the unknown and raises questions about the nature of human soul.
Includes music by Sakamoto Hiromichi, Otomo Yoshihide, L?K?O, Numb & Saidrum, Yamakawa Fuyuki, and others.

Any music that refers to itself as “noise” is bound to be disturbing. When the music is intentionally a part of a visual experience, it’s even more likely to be a jolt to the senses.

When I was listening to the soundtrack the first time, I was at times uncertain that the music was playing at all. I live in Tokyo, so the sounds of the city are always in the background. Sirens, honking, screeches, buzzing, droning, and the sound of static are as much a part of the city’s landscape as the vast emptiness of background noise.

But even though I might have even forgotten that the music was playing, at times, the overall effect of listening to the soundtrack was something close to exhaustion. It’s a weariness that does well to describe life in Tokyo, even without the visual support that the movie provided originally.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite the nod to technology, the soundtrack doesn’t seem so much cyberpunk as it does contemporary reality. It owes more to dark and decayed concrete than it does to electronic-infused science fiction. Rather than Hatsune Miku lurking from behind the scenes, I see a Japanese Banksy, spray-painting screams and attempting to escape. It’s highly explosive stuff. /JGKK


"The End of Legal Fiction" Live at JZ Brat "The End of Legal Fiction" Live at JZ Brat
AP1041/2010.11.25/¥2,500 + 税
濱瀬元彦 E.L.F Ensemble & 菊地成孔
21 世紀型マンドライヴ・テクノ・ジャズの最高峰「THE ELF Ensemble」のデビュー作。
音楽学者濱瀬元彦の帰還。菊地成孔をゲストに迎えた100% 手弾きによる驚異のテクノジャズ。
渋谷JZ Brat での演奏を無編集、無修正でそのままパッケージ化。
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Abyssinian...Solo Piano Abyssinian...Solo Piano
APX1005 ¥2190 + 税
坪口昌恭
東京ザヴィヌルバッハ、Naruyoshi Kikuchi Dub Sextet等、ジャズからクラブジャズ、音響シーンまで
多彩な活動をしているピアニスト、キーボーディストの坪口昌恭のピアニスト回帰宣言!
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From me to me From me to me
AP1040/2010.07.06/¥2,500 + 税
Minami Hiroshi Go There!
実に7 年ぶりとなる南博のリーダーバンド、Minami Hiroshi Go There !
みずみしく美しいメロディとハーモニーが凝縮された一枚。ジャズ界きっての実力派 である4 人が至芸のアンサンブルで奏でる、最高傑作!2020年限定再発盤(南博の新セルフライナー付き)
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It’s been seven long years since the last release by Minami Hiroshi Go There! Well worth the wait, though, as this album is full of freshly gorgeous melodies and harmonies. The four players are masters of their domains, with Hiroshi Minami (Piano), Masakuni Takeno (Sax), Hiroaki Mizutani (Bass), and Yasuhiro Yoshiaki (Drums). This limited edition with a beautiful eco digi-pak cover with liner notes by Hiroshi Minami himself (and also by music critic Koji Murai).

The album title sounds self-indulgent - From me to me. But rather than narcissism, the music feels like the result of years of inner-contemplation, reflection, and release. While it is composed entirely of songs by Minami, the format allows each of the band members to shine. Angie Dickinson, in particular, is a number that sounds more like four people playing solos together than anything else.

During a year that has been unprecedented, in our lifetimes, with so many people spending an anxious spring either directly affected by illness and death or sheltering-in-place, the notes of Sea and the ocean, Window in the sky, SAKURA - cherry blossom -, Tears, and Falling Falling Petals all may seem like a harbinger of green life coming hopefully soon. If so, the album is a timely bearer of good fortune. I hope so. /JGKK


HOAGY'S BACK HOAGY'S BACK
AP1037 / 2009.06.05 /¥2,800 + 税
Mooney & Keni with Lucky Rhythm
戦前のジャズ・ジャイアントに焦点をあてるアーリー・アメリカン・ルーツミュージックトリビュート3部作の最終章はホーギー・カーマイケル!ムーニー、ケニー井上、ラッキーリズムの面々が共にジャイブ、ジャンプ、ハワイアン、ジャグバンド、ロック等の様々な語法でホーギーの楽曲に挑み、春の陽気が体全体を包み込むような、ゆるやかなアルバムに仕上げられた。
レイジーリバー、ホンコンブルース、ジョージア・オン・マイマインドなど全14 曲。I’ mgood for nothing but love はバンバンバザールの福島康之とのデュエット。
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空に吸はれし心 空に吸はれし心
APX1004 / 2008.11.11 /¥2,400 + 税
喜多直毅+黒田京子
超人的かつ変幻自在な演奏で強烈なインパクトを与え続けるヴァイオリニスト喜多直毅と、即興演奏のフィールドで先鋭的な活動を広げてきたピアニスト黒田京子の二人が切り拓く、ヴァイオリン&ピアノの新境地。空に吸われし揺れる心。オリジナルに加え、ルグラン、マンシーニ、武満徹の曲。
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This release is a pioneering effort, led by the violinist Naoki Kita, who continues to delight audiences with his powerful and eccentric performance. He is complemented in this duo by Kyoko Kuroda, a pianist who is himself a radical improvisational performer.

The skies shake and shudder; it will seize your heart.

In addition to several originals, the tracks include pieces by Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, and Toru Takemitsu.

The violin is a very difficult instrument. Since I don’t really play any instrument, it isn’t because of the difficulty in learning to play the violin. It’s the sound of the violin itself - the piercing, high-pitched, temperamental voice - that makes it stand out so starkly in most contexts that makes it difficult.

In an orchestra, the violins - plural - become its stars. The violas, cellos, and contrabasses share the front of the stage, but it’s the violins that are the prima to the donnas.

There have been bands, including rock groups, with a violin featured - Roxy Music being prominent - but in my memory, only one violinist - Stéphane Grappelli - was a part of various groups and duos that have been legendary. I think that for many potential collaborators, the prospect of playing “second fiddle” is daunting.

In Kyoko Kuroda, Naoki Kita has certainly found a player who complements his expansive, exploratory vision. It can be called a genius, but it might also be called madness. The inclusion of Henry Mancini’s Moon River is a delight, but it is the suite including Toru Takemitsu’s Small Sky sandwiched between A Full Moon (by Motoori Nagayo) and A Heart Drawn Up to the Sky (by Naoki Kita), that is the album’s highlight. The track starts melancholy and nostalgic. It has the feel of an old Japanese folk song, that segways into a longer, more painful, and adult-themed romance. The Takemitsu composition transitions seamlessly into the Kita composition, creating a piece that seems to say that folk tales can evolve into honest experiences and stories.

The Kita composition, Furusato (Hometown), is also fantastic. It thunders and shakes, before it recedes into a peaceful rest,

Managing difficulties is always a triumph. Kudos to Kita and Kuroda for their triumphant achievement. /JGKK


Orwell Le Génie Humain
AP1036/2008.11.05/¥2,400 + 税
Orwell
TAHITI 80 やFUGU に通じるフレンチPOP を軸に、60 年代のソフト・ロックや80 年代のアコースティック・エレポップを感じさせるやさしくカラフルな一枚。
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Recorded Recorded
AP1034/2008.08.25/¥2,500 + 税
ORI'S
どこまでも切ないインディゴブルーなメロディーライン。
有機的で官能的メタリックな強い意志を持ったオリエンタの歌声。北欧のファンタジーや童話のような歌詞世界。
ロジカルさとセンチメンタルが交錯するの極上ポップスをご堪能あれ。
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The melody line is dyed in indigo blue. Organic, sensual, and powerful, the voice carries an aura that is difficult to define, but is somehow Oriental. The lyrics are fantastic, conveying something magical like the fairy tales of Northern Europe. Listen and enjoy fine pop music that exists in the intersection between the intellectual and sentimental.

Recorded was released in 2008. In this era, one would expect that if an artist or a band has continued to play and perform, one would be able to find out more about them on the Internet. But Ori’s and Ori Tachibana are a mystery.

The music, too, doesn’t provide much clue, either. No doubt, it’s pretty polished material. There’s nothing idol-like, nor is it really simple singer-songwriter lullabies. These are carefully crafted, multi-dimensional tunes, with he complex interplay of guitar, bass, keys, and percussion, with an array of drummers playing on different tracks and trumpet and saxophone, to boot, on one of the tracks. It’s highly polished stuff.

And Ori Tachibana’s vocals, too, are gorgeous. She isn’t, say, the second, or even third coming of Aretha Franklin, but she sings with a command and vulnerability that is impressive. The music is cool, deep, and mysterious.

So I’m rather taken aback by the lack of anything more about her; I could only find a few links to this album, plus some YouTube videos uploaded by Airplane Label - live versions of tracks from this album. I want to find out more, to listen to anything that gives more clues to the conundrum. But, nothing.

Perhaps it’s better that way. Sometimes mysteries are better unresolved. /JGKK


From The Far East From The Far East
AP1035/2008.06.22/¥2,800 + 税
荒巻茂生
無情の力学!スウィングジャーナル誌でジャズベーシスト人気NO1 の評価を得る等、現在のジャズシーンでの代表的なベーシスト荒巻茂生のアルバム。
モダンジャズからフリージャズ等のジャズの歴史的なファクターが集まって構成された極東ジャズ・シーンの現在進行形がここに。ライナーノートは村井康司。全5曲。
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A masterpiece. Swing Journal rates Shigeo Aramaki as Japan’s #1 jazz bassist, which this album undoubtedly attests. It contains 5 tracks that showcase the progressive jazz scene in the Far East, highlighting its roots in modern jazz and free jazz. Liner notes are provided by Koji Murai, the prolific and much acclaimed music critic, poet, and editor.

This album is a studio work that sounds like a live performance. All of the songs are penned by Shigeo Aramaki, but it sounds like the band is improvising the whole time. The liner notes reference modern jazz and free jazz as influences. That seems appropriate, because the first person I thought of in hearing it was Ornette Coleman, the inventor of the term - free jazz. Joe Zawinul, who played with Miles Davis on his way to co-founding the great fusion band, Weather Report, once said of Coleman’s music, “nobody solos, everybody solos” - which describes perfectly what I hear in From the Far East. Clearly, the best in modern jazz is alive and well in Japan. /JGKK


LOUSY WHY LOUSY WHY
AP1033/2007.12.20/¥2,500 + 税
LOUSY
宇崎竜童、原田芳雄等のバックバンドで名を馳せた『長洲辰三』がリーダーのロックバンド。
宇崎竜童の名曲『無風地帯』も収録。ジェントリーでヴィヴィッドな声色で渋く聞かせる大人のロック。
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This rock band is led by Tatsumi Nagasu, who made a name for himself in legendary bands led by the Ryudo Uzaki and Yoshio Harada. The CD contains Ryudo Uzaki’s famous song, Mutekaze. The adult-oriented rock is full of good vibes and vitality.

Ryudo Uzaki is one of Japan’s most famous old-time rock’n’rollers. His most famous band, the Down Town Boogie-Woogie Band is so well known that it is most frequently referred to by its initials - DTBWB. Tatsumi Nagasu is a guitarist who played in DTBWB and the Ryudo Uzaki Band, where he became well-known to a great many musicians and music fans.

For 40 years, Nagasu has played mostly in the background, Here, with Lousy, he steps to the front of the stage. His rock and R&B cred intact, Nagasu struts and strolls through a total of nine tracks, all of which are defined by their extremely rootsy, Midwestern American feel, but all composed by Japanese musicians. This is undoubtedly Japanese rock and roll.

It’s quite easy to imagine all of the music contained to have originated at virtually any time in the past five decades. The CD was made in 2007, but it sounds like it could have been made at any time between the 70s to today. In this sense, it helps that the music is sung nearly entirely in Japanese, because without any lyrical reference points, it is pretty much impossible to “peg” the music apart from the sound itself.

And the sound is fabulous! It sounds like the music is being performed in a small club - cozy and comfortable. Enjoy with a glass of bourbon! /JGKK


Stamp of Dreams Stamp of Dreams
AP1032 / 2007.07.21 /¥2,500 + 税
内海利勝
「キャロル」のギタリスト『内海利勝』の最高傑作と言っても過言ではない過去作品や新曲を含むベスト盤のような選曲!ロックン・ロール!!
キャロルから30 年、罪と罰を繰り返す贖罪的セルフカヴァーアルバムがここに誕生!
ファンキーモンキー・ベイビー、ルイジアンナ、ロッキンブギー、ブラインド・ブレークのポリス・ドッグ・ブルースなど全11 曲。
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Without exaggeration, this is a masterpiece by Carol’s legendary guitarist, Toshikatsu Utsumi. This album contains some rerecorded versions of some of his classics along with new songs. It’s all great rock’n’roll.
Thirty years removed from Carol, Utsumi is reborn in the sins and retribution of yesteryear.
11 tracks including Funky Monkey Baby, Louisiana, Rockin’ Boogie, and Arthur “Blind” Blake’s Police Dog Blues.

This mostly retrospective album is Toshikatsu Utsumi rediscovering a range of tunes spanning his entire career, with some new originals that capture the electricity of old. It’s worth noting that without knowing which songs are from his days with Carol, from his early solo career, as he’s grown into middle age, and the new ones he’s penned for this album, it’s impossible to tell the era that these songs come from.
Utsumi’s music is grounded always in the blues. From those roots bloom a rock that is plugged in many lands, some distant and others close to home. But where most of Japan’s great blues rock artists sound pays homage to northern and southern parts of the United States, characterized most prominently by the sounds of Chicago and Detroit or Louisiana, Utsumi’s grounded in the Midwest. His cover of Arthur “Blind” Blake, one of Paramount Records’ top artists of the 20s and 30s, is, perhaps, testimony to a wild, western tailwind.
Still, Utsumi never forgets that he’s Japanese. It isn’t mimicry that he’s after.
My favorite track is #10, No Moon Tonight. Hard, driving boogie woogie, the sound is simple and rough. It sounds like something many bands all over the world play in clubs, bars, and dives. But despite its simplicity, it isn’t derivative. Most people try to sound like someone, emulating someone that they think makes it sound cool. But with Utsumi, I get the impression that he is just singing for himself. And, that, I think, is very cool. /JGKK


221 (two to one) 221 (two to one)
AP1031/2007.03.22/¥2,400 + 税
KOTEZ&YANCY(コテツ&ヤンシー)
ブルースファンや音楽ファンから絶大な支持を集めるブルースハープとピアノのデュオKOTEZ&YANCY のサードアルバム。シンプルかつダイナミックな演奏に真っ向から向き合った今作は、ルーツミュージックをスタート地点とした二人にとって一つの到達点と言える内容となった。
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This is the third album of KOTEZ & YANCY, a blues harp and piano duo that has gained the following of blues and music fans. The simplicity and dynamism of the duo has been their hallmark and has won them a bevy of fans, with the core coming from the followers of roots music.

II can’t remember the first time I heard KOTEZ & YANCY. To be honest, I had a difficult time appreciating KOTEZ’s vocals, on the tracks in which he sings English. I don’t usually think so, but his pronunciation is sometimes so wrong, it can be disconcerting.
But after several listenings, the music started to give me a much deeper impression. It’s actually the simplicity that makes the bad pronunciation stand out; when it’s just the piano, or the blues harp, it is totally irrelevant that these guys are Japanese.
In addition, in time, I’ve not only adjusted to his pronunciation, but the bold nakedness with which KOTEZ sings his heart and soul in these songs is irresistible - from Many Rivers to Cross to Take Me to the River to Darling You Know I Love You, not imitating, but he takes to heart the spirit of such diverse voices and talents as Jimmy Cliff, Al Green, and BB King.
The duo play one original track each, but it's really these covers that are incredible. It’s more than justice that they do to Ray Charles, Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Billy Joel, and Billy Preston, it’s love and blues. /JGKK


海辺のアパートメント 〜 Apartment 2 海辺のアパートメント 〜 Apartment 2
AP1030 / 2006.11.11 /¥2,400 + 税
万琳はるえ+吉田桂一 (Malin Harue+Yoshida Keiichi)
60 年代、70 年代のロックの名曲をピアノと歌でカヴァーするシリーズ2 作目。
海辺のアパートメントをイメージしてセレクトされた珠玉の名曲達。青い影、ディ・アフター・ディ、動物と子供たちの詩、オン・ザ・ビーチ、アス・アンド・ゼム(ピンクフロイド)、中でもボヘミアンラプソディはピアノオペラでで圧巻!ビックリする演奏。全15曲。
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The second of the Apartment series covers rock classics from the 60s and 70s as piano ballads. The album reimagines them as songs played in a beachfront apartment.

A Whiter Shade of Pale, Day After Day, Ziggy Stardust, Bless the Beast and Children, On the Beach, Us and Them, and bohemian Rhapsody as a piano opera. Such a masterpiece!

The performance is memorable. 15 songs in total.

Whenever I am confronted by a piano, in an empty room, I wish that I could play. I wish that I’d kept playing, after taking it up for a summer, when I was around seven or eight. I stare at the black and white keys, 88 of them.

As I end up playing Chopsticks, I imagine that I can play some of my old, favorites, rock tunes from the 60s and 70s. The notes I play are monotonous, out of step, and juvenile, but in my mind, I hear Elton John, David Bowie, Van Morrison, The Beatles and Paul McCartney.

In my imagination, I am probably more likely to be playing in a wooden cabin, in a forest, tucked away in the mountains, away from the city, alone except, perhaps, with a German Shepherd sleeping on the floor, by the fireplace. But it could be, too, an apartment by the seaside, the wind gusting outside, as the yachts come in from the sea and the sun sets out in the horizon. Here, time seems to flow more slowly, waiting for the music to finish before passing on by.

And the rock music, as it were, has changed, shifted just a tad, to become just “roll.” And rolling along, I keep playing my piano, softly. /JGKK


VIOHAZARD VIOHAZARD
APX1003 / 2006.06.28 /¥2,400 + 税
喜多直毅
喜多直毅が遂に放つ究極のヴァイオリン・ミュージック。ライブで人気の高い「板橋区」、喜多自身が作詞も手がけたミステリアスなバラード「千年前の村」はもとより、宮野弘紀、鬼怒無月が提供した2 曲も忘れられない名曲だ。
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Naoki Kita has finally released his ultimate music. Two of the tracks included are popular songs by Hiroki Miyano and Natsuki K, respectively “2012” and “Null Set,” while another track included is his popular live track, Itabashi Ward. Also included is the mysterious ballad, Sennen-mae no Mura (Village of a Millennium Past), for which Kita himself wrote the lyrics.

Biohazard, is, of course, a reference to several things. It is not only a “biological hazard” that can adversely affect human health, it is also a reference to a science-fiction horror film from 1985, a punk/heavy metal band that formed in 1987, and a video game franchise that started in 1996 and continues today. The term, then, has been in the popular vernacular for many years and was already widely known when Naoki Kita released this album, VIOHAZARD, implying “violin hazard.”

But it would be inappropriate to assume that this music has arisen from the ages of a toxic wasteland. The music of Viohazard is not entirely without classical music

references. But like his 2002 Hypertango and 2003 Hypertango II, Viohazard bears more of a familiarity with tango and jazz. But tango, of course has roots in both European classical and indigenous “folk” music, giving hypertango grandparents that have their DNA in Europe and Argentina. Still, its not the lineage that is most defining.

Naoki Kita is a bit of a rebel. I wouldn’t characterize him as the kind of rebel portrayed by a James Dean, though. He’s probably more likely to appear in a Jim Jarmusch flick, and it’s not because of their hair style. The music Kita plays is, occasionally, difficult to listen to. It’s aggressive, violent, dissonant, and hyperactive. I’d suggest that it might not be advisable for someone with high blood pressure.

But it’s also extremely thought provoking and introspective. It’s pretty much impossible to imagine what the music sounds like; you’ve got to listen to it. It is music unlike anything that has come before it and possibly since. I’m not exaggerating. This is Viohazard. You have been warned. /JGKK


ARAMAKI BAND "LIVE" CHANGES III ARAMAKI BAND "LIVE" CHANGES III( LIVE)
AP1027/2005.08.04/¥2,800 + 税
ARAMAKI BAND
ARAMAKI BAND の初ライブ盤が登場!2004年吉祥寺 SOMETIME での録音。
荒巻のビーストな豪快なステージが自宅のステレオで再現できる一枚。
本田珠也、竹内直の曲や、セルジオ・メンデスの名曲So Many Star も収録。 全5曲。
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Finally, the first live album by the Aramaki Band - recorded in 2004 at “Sometime” in Kichijoji. Always a beast on stage, this album faithfully reproduces the band’s stunning performance at your convenience on your home stereo.
The songs performed include tunes by band members Tamaya Honda (Drums) and Nao Takeuchi (Clarinet and Sax), as well as the Sergio Mendez classic, So Many Star. 6 tracks in all.

There are many great jazz bands and studio albums, but I’ve long believed that the best music is found in live performances. Jazz, in particular, is most well suited to live performance, because the medium is so well suited to improvisation, as the finest musicians feed off of each other and trade pieces of melody and rhythm in a fluid dynamic that isn’t always written down completely.

In particular, I’ve found that jazz bands led by bassists tend to be more fluid and dynamic, quite possibly because the bass is often midway between rhythm and melody. Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Eddie Gomez, Gary Peacock, and more recently, Esperanza Spalding, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten, and the late great Jaco, all showed that the bass can be both percussive and extremely melodic.

Shigeo Aramaki, no doubt, is Japan’s leading jazz bassist. He is as capable as many of the world’s foremost players, as formidable playing blues, R&B, and rock as his stalwart, jazz. As a bandleader, Aramaki not only provides a stable rhythm upon which the sax, piano, and others play, but the big bouncy bass sometimes explodes into the foreground, too.

The bass, drums, tenor sax, and piano format on Changes III is, perhaps, the most common in the whole of jazz. It’s probably in part, due to the small size of the stage at “Sometime,” but it’s a wonderful core from which the musicianship and collaborative skills of the four shine. These are not only four great musicians playing in their prime, but who are completely comfortable and confident playing together. The 4th track, Nao Takeuchi’s Thompkins Square Park Serenade, is my favorite, capturing the sense of two lovebirds spending an afternoon in the park, with a blazing sax solo, the gradual escalation of tempo and melody of the piano, and frantic percussion, all founded on a deep and driving “walking” bass line that anchors the two frontmen. It’s a perfect musical representation of spring. /JGKK


凧の平地 凧の平地
AP1026/2005.04.25/¥2,200 + 税
佐立努
石巻出身のソングライター。
「大きなもの」をテーマにした映画の様なストーリー展開。
アコズティックなサウンドに囁く歌声、歪んだ ハーモニカが一直線に心に響く。巡礼の旅みたいだ。
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The songwriter, Satachi Tsutomu, hails from Ishinomaki. His music conjures “Big Things,” with a movie-like sound.
An acoustic voice whispers. A distorted harmonica. Reverberating straight to the heart. It’s a musical trip that inspires a spiritual pilgrimage.

The organ sound is vast. Its sound, though, seems less like the church organ in a grand cathedral, but like a tune broadcast over loudspeakers in a harbor, in the aftermath of a typhoon warning that fortunately didn’t materialize. But of course, Satachi’s vocals and melodies are characteristically blue-green, always reflecting the temperament of the sky on the surface of the water, Today, the sky is cloudy, so it’s been a bit on the somber side of the spectrum. /JGKK


LOVE&PEACE LOVE&PEACE
AP1025 / 2004.11.25 /¥2,500 + 税
内海利勝
多くのミュージシャンがビートルズ、ブルースの影響を色濃く受けたベトナム戦争、ビートニクスの60 年代、70 年代へ捧げるオマージュ的な一枚。
「Sunny side up」での炸裂するエレキギター!! やっぱり、ロックン・ロール!!
ロッキンドリーム、悲しいだけじゃなくて、ズッカー、月のない夜、街(映画美術の木村威夫がショートムビーを監督)、ブラインド・ブレークのウエストコースト・ブルースなど全10 曲。
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So many musicians in Japan (and around the world) were heavily influenced by The Beatles, the Blues, and the Vietnam War, as well as the Beatniks that protested it. This album plays tribute to that time, the 60s and 70s.
Utsumi’s guitar explodes on Sunny Side Up. Yeah, rock’n’roll!
The 10 tracks include Rockin’ Dream, Not Just Sad (Love & Peace), ZUCKER, Machi (the accompaniment DVD contains a short promotion movie by art director Takeo Kimura), and Arthur “Blind” Blake’s West Coast Blues.

I’m a child of the 60s, but I really “grew up” during the 70s. I’d “heard” The Beatles and “of” the Vietnam War, but most of what I learned about both came a little after the fact. I started junior high school in 1974, when The Beatles had already broken up for a few years and were playing solo and the Vietnam War had ended.
Still, the music of that time was a reflection of what had just happened; people were really just starting to understand and interpret it. That music was a reflection; echoing and distilling it in a concentrated form. I suppose the music in Japan at that time we much the same.
Carol formed in 1972 and broke up in 1975. That’s right around when I started listening to music on my own.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I didn’t hear Carol back then; I didn’t even hear about them until sometime after I moved to Japan in 1987.
But all of the songs on this album sounds familiar. I’ve heard it quite a few times since 2004, when it was released, but that’s not what I mean. It sounds like much of what I was listening to in the mid-70s. There’s something of the Eagles, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Heart, Foreigner, Tom Petty, and George Thorogood, among others, in between the lines.
The only track that sounds different, but not out of place, is aptly named. The track, #8 - with my son - sounds like Utsumi’s playing today, remembering those times, reminiscing, but paying it forward. And that, I think, is what Utsumi captures best in the spirit of the times - trying to play music to make the world a better place - for tomorrow. It works. /JGKK


HYPERTANGO II HYPERTANGO II
APX1002 / 2003.10.22 /¥2,400 + 税
喜多直毅
1st アルバム「ハイパータンゴ」で伝統的なタンゴの枠を超えた鮮烈なオリジナリティを発揮し、新世代タンゴ・ヴァイオリニストとしての評価を確立した喜多直毅が、さらなる一歩を踏み出したソロ第二弾。やさしく、繊細さが伴われた切れのあるヴァイオリン、それに絡みつくピアノ、バンドネオン、ギター、チェロ、コントラバス。
それが心地よいのだ。ジャケのイラストは茂本ヒデキチ。
喜多直毅がヴァイオリンを弾く姿がそのまんま。
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Expanding on the vibrant originality of his first solo release, “Hypertango,” Naoki Kita establishes in this second release an affirmation for his reputation as a new generation violinist. His tango is tantalizing, expressing a passion that is as powerful as the classics but as original as the “hyper” suggests.

The violin is delicate and sensitive, entwined in the music with piano, bandoneon, guitar, cello, and contrabass. it hits the spot.

Cover illustrations are by Hidekuchi Shigemoto. They depict the animated energy of Naoki Kita, playing the violin.

Tango, of course, is the music and dance, associated with the immigrant populations of Argentina and Uruguay. it is most commonly associated with the dance between partners, often evocative of a sensual and sultry performance, due to the partners engaged in a close embrace chest-to-chest.

Casually, it seems that tango is, perhaps, as far removed from the personality and culture of the Japanese as any music or dance could be. While Japan chooses to boast about its credentials as a tourist destination and source of desirable things with the moniker, “Cool Japan,” it is not uncommon to associate the tango with the opposite temperamentally; tango is hot!

Naoki Kita, being a Japanese, and especially one that uses as his instrument of choice a violin, might be characterized as being extremely cool. But in Hypertango and Hypertango II, he’s also profoundly hot. In this release, he attacks tango with a vengeance, building upon themes that have classical tango roots, but with a flair and approach that is original. More than half of the tracks contained in Hypertango II are by Ástor Piazzolla, the rest by an assortment of storied tango composers. But the arrangements and virtuoso performances make many of them sound completely original.

There is no mistaking this for anything other than new tango music. It is certainly not traditional ballroom tango, and cannot imagine Kita’s style being played by even such diverse contemporary aficionados as YoYo Ma, Placido Domingo, Gustavo Naveira, Mariana Montes, Gotan Project, John Cage, or Milton Babbitt.

From Hypertango, I’m looking forward to hearing more from Naoki Kita. He’s bound to make new waves, in whatever direction he goes. After all, in Japan, every earthquake raises the potential for a tsunami. Thankfully, not all of them prove to be devastating. /JGKK


fats with us fats with us
AP1024 / 2004.07.15 /¥2,667 + 税
Mooney and his Lucky Rhythm
第2弾はジャズ史上に偉大な功績を残したファッツ・ウォーラーのカバー。
生誕100 周年を記念して制作された今作はファッツに対する並々ならぬ愛情に溢れた快心の一枚。
愛しのスウ、Blue Turning gray Over You、Cash for Your Trash 、ジョイント・イ ズ・ジャンピン など全11 曲。
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風と水 風と水
AP1023 ¥2,667 + 税
SUHO(スーホ)
草原を駆け巡る風のような馬頭琴のしらべと、透きとおった美しいピアノの旋律が織り成す叙情性。
時代と場所を超えるはるかなる草原音楽。
モンゴルの伝統楽器、馬頭琴奏者のバヤラトと、ピアニスト稲垣達也による異色デュオ。
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天使のクリスマス(CD) 天使のクリスマス(CD)
APC1003/2003.11.13/¥1,200 + 税
万琳はるえ
ヨーロッパクリスマスの、にぎやかな街の音が散りばめられた、大人の絵本を思わせるような、キュートな作品。
オリジナル3 曲と、クリスマスの定番で あるホワイトクリスマスを収録。
雪の降るクリスマスの頃にピッタリ!小渕暁子のデザインがかわいい。
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With sounds of bustling Christmas celebrations in European cities in the background, the music sounds like a picture book for adults. The mini-album contains three originals, plus the classic With Christmas. It’s a perfect companion to a snowy holiday season.

The cover design, by Akiko Obuchi, is cute, perfectly matching the cuteness of the music.

The music is winter holiday fare, celebrating Christmas with snow and a twinkling pop. Like the packaging, the music sounds cute and cool. It’s Christmas music that’s composed for slightly tipsy adults, rather than the kids.

I’ve been more accustomed to old Christmas classics and the great many contemporary tunes by popular artists in the west, mostly because I grew up with them and they became familiar. But as I have spent most of my adult years in Japan, I’ve slowly accumulated experiences of Christmases here, with its original combination of neo-Christian imagery, blatant commercialism, and adult-targeted activities. At first, these experiences were not entirely attractive, but I’ve had many great times over the years.

Some of those times, of course, were those that were spent with small children, growing up in Japan and having Christmases that blended in customs stemming from my own childhood, along with the sights, sounds, and customary practices of Japan and Tokyo. But as the children have grown, even the music we listen to has grown up. Some of it is unchanged, reminiscing of times past is necessary, it fulfills our appetite for the melancholy. But Christmas is also a time for new things. Less often than in the past, those new things are “things,” toys and gadgets. They are experiences and acquaintances, tastes and memories to gather. And music, like this, have become a way of remembering that while some good things never change, some good things are the changes. /JGKK


Hey! Blues Man! Hey! Blues Man!
APC1001B/2001.06.20/¥1,143 + 税
Blues File No.1
これは完全に焼酎と日本酒の世界!荻窪のルースターのマスターも歌詞で参加した、男気溢れる1 枚。
ある女が男クサイと言っていたのを思い出す。ヴォーカルの西浜哲男の渋い声がダンディ。泣かせます!
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The music is evocative of nihonshu and shochu, Japanese booze.

The lyrics include words by the master of Ogikubo’s famed Rooster. I recall a woman saying that this smells like the sweat and blood of men. The vocalist - Tetsuo Nishihama - sounds so dandy and blue. Guaranteed to make you weep.

Hey Blues Man! How many shades are there of the blues?

Gil Scot-Heron used to muse that it was once thought that only black men got the blues. But while many people have realized, through the works of people like the Ma Rainey, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, Koko Taylor, Janis Joplin Allman Brothers, Stevie-Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, and many others, that the blues isn’t the exclusive domain of black men.

But the yellow blues hasn’t been on the radar of many. That’s a shame, because Kotez & Yancy, Char, Broom Duster Kan, among others, can hold their own among the greatest blues artists in the world. Blues File No. 1, too, is a band that plays with a blues passion that is deep, dark, mellow, and steeped in booze. With Toshikatsu Uchiumi on guitar, Shigeo Aramaki on bass, Teruo Matsumoto on drums, Ryuichiro Senoh on the blues harp, and Tetsuo Nishihama on guitars and lead vocals, the band is a union of great rockers and bluesmen from a wide range of famous Japanese bands.
This CD is a short one, merely 3 tracks and just over 18 minutes of revelry. But think of it as three shots of moonshine. Instead of dark bourbon, it’s freshly pressed nihonshu, not the carefully watered-down and bottled variety, but straight from the brewery. This brew is murky, potent, and live. Bottoms up! /JGKK


EQUINOX EQUINOX
AP1012/2003.09.23/¥2,500 + 税
Jun Kawabata
昼と夜の長さが等しい時、「エクイノックス」がテーマ。
ゲストに本田珠也 (Drums)、荒巻茂生 (Bass)、内海利勝 (Guitar)、 Malin Harue、ORIENTA (Vocal) が参加。
ロックとジャズのその先を見つめたアルバム。
美しい旋律と怪しい世界、美と暴力の行き交う、ロマンチックでアバンギャルドなスウィートプログレ。
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Equinox. When day and night are exactly the same length.
Guests include Tamaya Honda (Drums), Shigeo Aramaki (Wood Bass), Toshikatsu Uchiumi (Acoustic Guitar),
Orienta and Malin Harue (Vocals)

The music has rock and jazz as a base, but fills an area beyond both.
Beautiful melodies and suspicious worlds, graceful and violent, romantic and avant garde - sweetly progressive.

When this was released, in 2006, the musical genre “post-rock” was not very widely known. I’d been familiar with some of the people and groups associated with the genre, having been a fan of Stereolab, Jim O’Rourke, and, especially, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. By the time Tortoise and Sigur Rós became popular, the term itself had fallen from favor.
I think post-rock comes closest to describing the type of music that "EQUINOX" evokes. But just as the David Sylvain and Japan that followed the Velvet Underground convey very different perspectives that each can be traced as roots to both New Wave and Punk, the post-rock of Jun Kawabata and his band offer a different perspective to that of Stereolab and Jim O'Rourke. Both of them owe a lot to digital audio recording and programming, but more than jazz, I think that the difference can be summed best in the word symphonic.
It may be why the album was entitled "EQUINOX." Most rock, jazz, and contemporary music is played live at night. There are all day festivals, for sure, but most often, the clubs and bars don't open until it turns dark. But orchestras and symphonies, they tend to play during the daytime, too.
"EQUINOX" is without a doubt, difficult to peg. It's as intriguing now as when it was released. /JGKK


Aramaki Band" Phew " Changes II Aramaki Band" Phew " Changes II
AP1019/2003.07.12/¥2,800 + 税
ARAMAKI BAND
ベーシスト荒巻茂生リーダー作、ARAMAKI BAND の二作目。フーッとついたため息。
それがPhew。
録音を全て一発録りで行った、ライブ感溢れる男気の一枚。ラストの曲は本田珠也と江藤良人のカオスなツインドラム。全6 曲。
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Phew. In the album title, it tells you to remember to exhale. You just might forget and hold your breath.
It’s bassist Shigeo Aramaki and his band, ARAMAKI BAND, with their second studio recording.
The album has the feeling of a live performance, as every track is recorded in a single take. The last of 6 tracks has the chaotic, twin drums of Tamaya Honda and Yoshito Eto.

The album opens with a cacophony, the frantic explosion of hard bop, Called Game. From this pyrotechnic eruption, the shift of tempo and tone to a bluesy groove in the album’s title track, Phew, gives the listener a reminder to start breathing again. On this bluesy tapestry are a series of solos - piano, saxes, and bass. This,, in turn, is followed by Aramaki’s melodic bassline, which provides an introduction to a mind-boggling bass clarinet solo on Blues for Barron. And that is just the first half.

The ARAMAKI BAND is a jazz band that consists of four musicians who are not only in their prime, but who are completely comfortable playing together. The recording is done on a single take, because their notation is not merely precise, but they are improvising with the absolute confidence that someone will follow.

While the sax and piano take their turns being the front men, there is no mistaking that the band is Aramaki’s. In addition to the aforementioned solo introducing Blues for Barron, there is a short segue in the middle, in which the others take a step back, while Aramaki plays. The notation is not merely an opportunity for a sideman to shine, but provides the core melodies upon which the others rise from. This is especially clear on the fifth number, a track that presents the band in a trio format, featuring Keiichi Yoshida on piano, Tamaya Honda on drums, and Aramaki. Even on a number in which he isn’t soloing, Aramaki’s bass provides the foundation, ambling in the area between the drums and piano.

On the final, drum-laden, whammy of a track, Kishu, Tamaya Honda and Yoshito Eto create a thunderous storm, amidst the piano, saxes, and bass walk and fly about like surfers in a typhoon. Give the Aramaki Band a listen. But don’t forget to breathe. /JGKK



MILLE COMEDIES ─ LE DOUBLE INAUDIBLE
AP1015 / 2003.05.31 /¥2,500 + 税
yxetm+ Yurihito Watanabe
デヴィッド・トゥープも認める異形のヴォーカリスト、音楽家の『渡邊ゆりひと』。
いくつかのインスタレーションのための曲を収録した1枚。
緻密に構築された世界観。IRCAM の音楽ソフトMAX を駆使した他に類を見ないアート作品。
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The English musician, author, professor of audio culture and improvisation at the London College of Communication, a regular contributor to British music magazine The Wire and the British magazine The Face, and member of the experimental English new wave band the Flying Lizards, David Toop, referred to the vocalist Yurihito Watanabe as “unusual.” The title of the album comes from the music composed for his 2001-2002 installation, “Radical Fashion,” at Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
This recording is a compilation of songs composed for three art installations. The work is precisely constructed and unique perspective. It is a an evocative work of art that makes full use of IRCAM’s music software, MAX.

There is no mistaking this album for anything ordinary. It’s crafted delicately and purposefully, like the works on display in a small city museum, as much defined by the empty spaces as the works themselves.

The interplays between violin and the vocals echo some aspects of avant grade classical music, particularly the works of some composers associated with absurdity or mental illness, such as Erik Satie and Béla Bartók. The atonality and strange tempos are jarring and, at times, difficult to listen to. It also seems strangely similar to the sensation listening to an improvisational drama performance in a foreign language one doesn’t know.

One measure of great music is certainly joy. Music that makes one feel joyful, encourages you to get up and dance, is, of course wonderful. But there are other measures, including provocation, imaginativeness, and even that which is jarring. MiLE COMEDIES is thought-provoking. As part of the art installations, the music would have been one part of a more physical and visual experience, but here, the music, on its own, leaves the experience to your imagination. The result is something so immersive that I experienced exhaustion. That, it seems to me, is a substantial musical achievement. /JGKK


街
APC1002/2003.04.22/¥1,200 + 税
内海利勝
元キャロルの内海利勝が30 年間住んだ思い出の街「新宿」を描いた。
アコースティックバラードにのせてリリカルな歌詞が心に染み入る。
曲をテーマにした映画美術の木村威夫によるショートムービー「街」が素晴らしい。
スタイリッシュな映像作品の販売予定もいつか考えている。
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The legendary lead guitarist for Carol, Toshikatsu Uchiumi, penned the title track, thinking about Shinjuku, where he lived for around 30 years. It’s a mostly acoustic ballad, with vivid lyrics, that tug at the heartstrings.
There is a short movie, too, by the video artist Takeo Kimura, who used the music as the theme music for his “Machi.” We are thinking of releasing this separately someday.

It’s been 17 years since Machi was released in 2003. The song has become rather well known and quite a few people have covered the track. The lyrics were in reference to Toshikatsu Uchiumi’s old haunt, Shinjuku, but the words don’t mention Shinjuku and could be about anywhere. It’s perhaps one of the reasons that the song has become iconic.

The song is a love song, looking back in time and at the place where an important love was found and, perhaps, lost. But the song also is a lament over the loss of place, too.

I’d heard this first many years ago, but forgot that it was Uchiumi. But I do recall a few other rockers playing the song, live. Each time, the song sounded familiar, but what made it most interesting was how original it sounded each time. Original, in the sense that each person who played the track made it his own “Machi.” And that, perhaps, is a huge tribute to Uchiumi - to have been able to pen a song that has become so ubiquitous that many others have made the song sound like their own.

it’s probably better if you can comprehend the Japanese, but the longing for home - the sentiment is universal! /JGKK


Bedside Music Bedside Music
AP1017 / 2002.11.30 /¥2,500 + 税
ANALOG MAN
YANCY 変名名義!アナログシンセからリズムボックス、カシオトーン。
80 年代のよれた楽器を駆使する、アナログフレーバー満載の奇跡の一枚!
マニー・マーク好きにはいいかも。
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It’s YANCY, with a new pseudonym! This time, it’s with analog synths, rhythm boxes, and Casiotone.
This is an amazing piece of analog flavors that make a bonafide smorgasbord of twisted 1980s instruments. It’s perfectly suited for fans of Money Mark.

The release is from 2002, which sounds about right. Money Mark released his first album, Mark’s Keyboard Repair, in 1995. It was keyboard-driven funk. He collaborated famously, with the Beastie Boys from 1992 to 2011. The Beasties released Hello Nasty in 1998 and didn’t follow that album up until nearly 6 years later, in 2004, with To the 5 Boroughs. Mark played on Hello Nasty, but not on To the 5 Boroughs.

The music of Money Mark around the latter part of the 90s was definitely funky, but it had a lot of jazz, pop-funk, and bizarre electronica in the mix.

While it’s uncertain that YANCY was thinking about Money Mark or even the Beasties when he was making this music, but the keyboard-driven, funky, and bizarre retro sounds would have been quite common then. While Deee-Lite had finished their run by 1996, after a decade, their Japanese keyboardist, Towa Tei, was rapidly becoming a superstar in Japan as the 20th Century faded and the new millennium emerged.

It’s music that I would characterize as being perfectly placed in an Austin Powers movie. What’s more, I am certain that the sounds could be remixed and recycled into a tripp-hop or drum’n’bass psychedelic chill track today. Just groove, baby. /JGKK


HYPERTANGO HYPERTANGO
APX1001 ¥2,800 + 税
KITA NAOKI
日本有数の本格派タンゴ・ヴァイオリニストでありながらジャンル超越した活動を展開する喜多直毅が、遂に放つファーストアルバム。オリジナルアレンジによるタンゴ作品の他、ロックテイスト溢れる鬼怒無月作品、フリー・インプロヴィゼイション、無伴奏ソロ等、多彩な演奏を聴かせる。既存のタンゴ・アルバムに飽き足りないすべての音楽ファンへ。
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Apartment Apartment
AP1021 / 2002.08.25 /¥3,200 + 税
Malin Harue + Yancy (万琳はるえ + ヤンシー)
アパートメントから流れるてくるそれぞれのLOVE STORY。
歌とピアノだけで綴ったロックの名曲アルバム。ビンテージマイクをいっぱい並べ、ホールの響きを生かした録音。
演奏もシンプルな空間系でXRCD というハイスペックな録音スタイル。オーディオのリファレンスにもいい。
サマータイム、アイム・ノット・イン・ラブ、ハートに火をつけて、オーディナリーワールド、スーパートランプのブレック・ファースト・イ・ンアメリカ。
それにレオンラッセルの ア・ソング・フォー・ユウは鳥肌もの。全14曲。
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A love story that starts from an apartment. The songs that spill out from there are a collection of rock classics, played simply on a piano with vocal accompaniment.

The recording recreates the sound of a large hall, by lining up a lot of vintage microphones. Using a high-spec recording format called XRCD, the recording recreates a very spatial performance.

Summertime, I’m Not in Love, Light My Fire, Ordinary World, and Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, as well as Leon Russell’s A Song for You, the songs will give you goosebumps. 14 songs total.

What makes some rock songs classics? It can’t be just that they’re old. I’m not even sure that they have to be really popular selling songs. Some songs that I would consider rock classics were never released as singles, let alone sold millions of copies. Almost nothing ever released by the Grateful Dead was ever released as a single, but their repertoire was, arguably, all classic.

I’m inclined to think that a great many songs that you can recall, that give you a sense of a time, place, and the feeling of *being there* in a particular historical setting are all classics. Too, the songs that make you feel this way, even if they are being played in an entirely different style, taken apart, simplified, and played in a unique way that is completely out of the original context, yet *still* reverberates with a force that reminds you of times past, that is, to me, classic.

These songs are played in a style that would be difficult to call “rock.” They aren’t even played and sung in a manner that is familiar to fans of singer-songwriter music. It isn’t even jazz, soul, or blues. It’s not even pop, really. It’s quiet, reflective music, vocals accompanied by solo piano. I can’t think of a genre that the music would accurately fit in. In an old record store, you might find it placed in “Easy Listening” or “Art,” that is, assuming that you could find it at all. It might just be in the “reduced price” bin.

But song after song, the music and the vocals, completely stripped away of the electric guitars, bass, drums, and even iconic vocals, sung with sometimes difficult to understand pronunciation by a Japanese female singer with a distinctive, cute, and fragile voice, remind me of good times in the 70s, in California, growing up as a youth, rebel without cause or reason, and as a young adult struggling to cope in a complex and not-entirely-friendly world. They were fun times and places. And when I think about the first time I had my fire lit, tried to deny love, or had breakfast in some strange place in America, these songs help me to remember these things with a smile.

So its music that could be the soundtrack to a documentary, one that celebrates the life of the listener. Like many documentaries, that don’t play well to a wide audience, this documentary is mostly interesting to you alone. But in the apartment, in the moment and time, it’s the best movie ever. Bring on the memories. /JGKK


INTERMEZZO INTERMEZZO
AP1020 / 2002.08.25 /¥1,715 + 税
野村誠
野村誠が作曲し自らピアノとピアニカを演奏した曲が納められたアルバム。
この曲が流れることにより世の中の多くの人達にドメスティックバイオレンス(妻、恋人への暴力)を知ってもらおうという思いが込められている。都内のホールで録音。
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This solo album is music composed by Makoto Nomura and played on piano and pianica, recorded in a hall in Tokyo. The music is intended to bring widespread attention to the plight of domestic violence.

The pianica is a much-maligned instrument. It is usually thought of as an instrument of child’s-play, or the tool of a player in a comedic, vaudeville-inspired band of gypsies or jokers.

But played by a virtuoso, a pianist with the heart of a child, the pianica is capable of evoking sounds and sentiments that are unusual and emotionally vivid. It has the timbre of a wind instrument, keyed like a piano. It is less intrusive as an accordion or, at least, more subtle. T

The liner notes reveal that the album was recorded in a hall in Tokyo. this makes sense; the recording does capture the sound of both piano and pianica in a vast expanse. But it doesn’t sound empty. It sounds more like the feeling of someone playing intimately, passionately, and meaningfully.

The liner notes reveals more. It speaks of DV - Domestic Violence. It speaks of the extent of the plight, offers resources for people affected by DV, and tries to provide some understanding of its causes and resolutions.

In a musical piece, such as an opera, an “intermezzo” is a composition that fits between other movements; it is one small part between other “more important” parts of a larger work. At just shy of 30 minutes, this Intermezzo, though it stands alone, is intended to highlight and shine the spotlight on the “more important” drama of domestic violence.

The piano and pianica, in this context, bring alive the subject. The object of violence - battered wives and spouses - and the other victims - often children - are the protagonists of the drama. In this light, the performance is successful.

One can easily get lost in the music without thinking about any of these matters. it is music that is beautiful, with or without the back story. But it’s an Intermezzo, after all. /JGKK


ウォータリィトウキョウライスウォータリィトウキョウライス ウォータリィトウキョウライス
AP1016 / 2002.07.25 /¥2,500 + 税
ニンゲンマン
清家千晶、ORIENTA、つじのりこ、万琳はるえ、それぞれ個性溢れる4 人のヴォーカリストが参加。
新しい切り口での東京。雑多で怪しく水っぽい東京のライス。エンジニ アでもある安宅秀紀の渾身のファーストアルバム。
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Collaboration with four unique vocalists: Chiaki Seike, ORIENTA, Noriko Tsuji and Harue Malin. It’s a Tokyo seen from a side rarely viewed before. Tokyo Rice, Watery and fresh. This is the first full album by the engineer, Hideki Ataka.

This is one of the first Airplane Label album’s I’d heard, back in the early 2000s. I listened to it often back then. It was still in the “early days” of the Internet era in Japan, during the heyday of “Bit Valley” and the tech bubble. I didn’t think of it as cyberpunk music, but it somehow matched the slow and broken images piped through the ISDN speed of the “Internet Superhighway.”

Back then, the quality of content was no less questionable than now, despite the lack of social media madness. It might be true that the purveyors of the World Wide Web were a more intellectual breed than the people who post on Facebook and Twitter today, but like the stereotype, many of those scientists were mad. The bizarre sounds of Ningenman and the four vocalists make for a warped soundtrack.
The album still sounds today like the background music to an SF anime. It’s pre-Hatsune Miku vocaloid.

It’s interesting, too, that Ataka’s moniker, is Ningenman - Human Man. The name implies, accurately, that the release is from a human for an alien audience. Or, is it from an alien imposter for a human audience? It’s a album that is well worth listening to. Bon voyage. /JGKK


SONIC CITY SONIC CITY
AP1014 / 2001.12.04 /¥2,500 + 税
V.A
見えざる都市をテーマにした、音楽ではない... 音楽?が新たな空間を創り出す。
スイスのキュレーター、ハンス・ウルリッヒがセレクトしたオノ・ヨーコ、小山田圭吾、秋田昌美(メルツバウ)、ラッセル・ハズウエル、ドミミク・プティガンなど海外アーティストが多数参加した。
ノイズ・実験音楽の世界初のコンピレーション。こんなアルバム他では聴けない。全12曲。
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With a theme of an imaginary city, the music is… is it music? It does, indeed, create a new space.
The Swiss curator, Hans Ulrich, selected 12 tracks by Yoko Ono, Keigo Oyamada (Cornelius), Masami Akita (Merzbau), as well as many international artists such as Russell Haswell and Dominique Petitgand.
It’s the world’s first compilation of experimental noise music. It’s not easy listening to be taken lightly.

The soundtrack of an imaginative city, possibly of the future, is likely to be a cacophony, a smorgasbord of sounds, both music and noise. Sonic City, in this regard, doesn’t disappoint. With sirens, buzz, rain, footsteps, hissing, drones, synths, the sounds of machinery and human activity, as well as the oddity of chanting and shamisen, there is little doubt that the setting of the city is industrial, dark, and possibly in Japan. Or, perhaps, it’s a Blade Runner-inspired Los Angeles of the future.

There’s something rather provocative and erotic, an invitation to partake in something subversive and dirty, between these lines. It isn’t overt, it’s not as though there are sound samples taken from Pornhub, but the overall feeling I get is listening not merely to noise, but like walking through a distorted and amplified cross-section of Akihabara, Kabukicho, and Shimbashi. Actually, probably not walking, but perhaps running, running in and then away from the place, but finding that with each step, you keep getting deeper and deeper inside the bowels of the city.

But if this sounds nightmarish - no need to worry. There’s not only some sonic “relief,” but on the whole, the music isn’t as much of a full body experience as a Pink Floyd album. I mean, it probably could be - in a dark room, with incredible acoustics, and something a bit more potent than a glass of red wine - but the sounds are urban enough to sound like an extension of what we might already be hearing in real life. It is expanding on that, of course, but the imagination can’t wander from something so far away that it’s incomprehensible. If you’re anything like me, you’ll hear something vaguely familiar, something new, something provocative, and something blue - perhaps the background music to a wedding in a dark, dank future. /JGKK


Mooney sings Louis Mooney sings Louis
AP1011 / 2001.04.14 /¥2,800 + 税
Mooney
21 世紀の最初のレコーディングとして、ルイアームストロングカバーアルバム制作という最高に幸せなスタートをきれました。半分はウクレレにスライドギター、半分はドラム、チューバ、ピアノ、ホーンセクションなどと素晴らしいレコーディングができ、選曲もおもしろく是非きいて欲しいと力強く言える作品ができました。(ムーニー)
What a Wonderful World 、キャバレー、On a Little bamboo Bridge、Ain’ t misbehavinなど全9 曲。
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CAFE CAFE
AP1010/2001.05.30/¥2,500 + 税
Peach Blue
「ドアを開けて気にいった席を見つけて」。今回のアルバムは、そんな物語から始まる。
本来の自分とは?カフェの存在とは?と問いかけてくる。
やさしい魂の音色と歌声を最後までゆっくりと楽しめる。アコースティックサウンド。
ケイト・ブッシュが好きな人にオススメ。
Open The Door、Cafe、My Birthday、ナイフ&フォーク、Zucker など全10曲。
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“Open the door and take a seat wherever you like.” This is how the album opens.

What is your true self? Where is this cafe? These are the questions that come to mind.

The gentle sound, pleasant vocals, acoustic, are reminiscent of Kate Bush. 10 tracks in total, including Open the Door, Cafe, My birthday, Knife & Fork, and Zucker.

The music is made in an imaginary cafe, but it’s also been music played many times, for years, in small cafes and bars, live, by the members of this group. The recording is from 2001, so it’s in the early days, when the group was in their early formation, though. Yet, even then, they sound familiar and cozy.

Today, in 2020, I know that this group, in a variety of formats and with some changing members, has performed these numbers for, now, 20 years. It’s a tribute to the longevity of the band and the music, but its also testimony to the powerful friendships and mutual respect they share.

What is most interesting about the music, too, is that the music they keep revisiting isn’t, like Band on the Run, (I Can’t get No) Satisfaction, or Where the Street Have No Name, huge hits being played to relive times past - anthems and tributes to great bands that feel a need to fulfill the demands of their fans - but songs that reflect loves, dreams, hopes, visions, and stories that still ring true today. These stories aren’t grand, they’re personal.

Welcome to the Peach Blue Cafe. Take a seat, anywhere you like. When the weather is good, the terrace is nice. I like sitting by the window, when I’m alone, to watch the faces of people passing by. By the time I’m finished drinking the coffee, it’s often cold. But it’s okay. The music makes me feel warm. /JGKK


ARAMAKI BAND CHENGES ONE ARAMAKI BAND CHENGES ONE
AP1009/2000.07.25/¥2,800 + 税
ARAMAKI BAND
ARAMAKI BAND 衝撃のファーストアルバム。
荒巻流チャールズ・ミンガスの「スーズ・チェンジ」は必聴。いつ聴いても色褪せない鳥肌たつ永遠の名作。
本田珠也(ds)、山田穣(as)、原大力(ds)、石井影(p)、 今泉正明(kb)、大口純一郎(p) 等、多数参加。全5曲。
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Blues File No.1 ~ 遊び足りない子供たちへ ~ Blues File No.1
AP1008/1999.11.01/¥2,800 + 税
Blues File No.1
遊び足りない子供たちへ
70 年代日本のロック界に旋風を巻き起こした男たちが、ブルースファイルで結集。
キャロルのギターリスト内海利勝をはじめ、ギター西浜哲男、音楽誌上人気ナンバー1 ジャズベーシスト荒巻茂生、ハープ妹尾隆一郎、ドラムス西本孝、松本照夫による日本のブルースロックの真髄。
月のない夜、Going to New york、シャイニングロード、Get Out of my Life Woman、フォーエバーなど全10 曲。
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Blues File No.1 is a group of men who created a sensation in the world of 1970s rock for kids who just haven’t found enough time to play together. Carol’s guitarist, Toshikatsu Utsumi, guitar giant Tetsuo Nishihama, the most-wanted jazz bassist Shigeo Aramaki, blues harpist extraordinaire Ryuichiro Senoh, on drums Takashi Nishimoto and Teruo Matsumoto - it’s the ultimate essence of blues rock in Japan.
10 sizzling tracks in all, including Moonless Night, Going to New York, Shining Road, Get out of my life woman, and Forever.

According to poet and jazz-blues great, Gil Scott-Heron, in the introduction to H2O Gate Blues, there are 500 shades of the blues. “And for years it was thought that Black people was the only ones who could get the blues.
So the Blues hadn't come into no international type of fame.”
Thankfully, Gil Scott-Heron was wrong. He probably hadn’t heard Blues File No.1. Cuz these boys - a very young group of old men - have got it. They’ve got it’s not my country but I’ve got the Louisiana country blues, can’t get home blues, lost my woman blues, lost my woman cuz I was never home blues - yes, these blues have got a very international type of fame, indeed.
Nishihama, Senoh, and Uchiumi trade off on lead vocals, singing in English on the covers and in Japanese on the classics and originals. But whether the songs are imported or home grown, they all sound original. /JGKK


Absolute Elsewhere Secret Story Absolute Elsewhere Secret Story
AP1007/1999.08.27/¥1,500 + 税
Jun Kawabata
自分探しと絶対的などこかをテーマにしたアルバム。
脳のヒダにこびりつき、いつまでもグルグル回る曲。
きっとあなたはコワレテいく。
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The album has the theme of finding yourself and absolutely somewhere. The sounds will adhere in the folds of your brain, twisting and turning forever.
Guaranteed to break you.

The music churns, hypnotically. The sounds are peculiarly familiar.
I first heard the music 20 years ago. It was one of the first music of Kawabata’s that I’d heard. It might actually have been the first. So for me, it is familiar. But it’s what I felt from the first time I heard it. His Christmas song, “Go Home,” sounds like a Japanese “Satchmo” lamenting about being on tour, away from home, on the night of December 24th.
That might be one of the reasons that the music became meaningful to me. I was away from “home.” I still am. Maybe the sounds remind me somehow of my childhood, with Louis Armstrong, Harry Belafonte, and Patti Page singing on the home “stereo.”
The album is a compilation. It includes a range of tracks, taken from a lot of Airplane Label’s earliest releases. /JGKK


ARRHYTHMIA ARRHYTHMIA
APR1003 ¥1,500 + 税
Arrhythmia
安宅秀紀、目黒多加志、川端潤の3人のユニット。それぞれ、ラップトップ、エフェクター、ギター、ムーグシンセ、ピアニカ、スラップボイスを操る。アコスティクな響きを持つエレクトロニックで実験的な試みのスイートアバンギャルドサウンド。
※この商品は CD-R 仕様となります。
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Everything Seems Like a Movie Everything Seems Like a Movie
APR1002 ¥1,500 + 税
Jun Kawabata
湾岸戦争が始まった時、僕はスペインのフイゲレスという小さな町にいて誰もいないホテルのレストランでイカ墨のリゾットを食べていた。古い調度品と豪華なシャンデリアがあり、しんとしたレストランの壁にはピンとヒゲのはったダリの写真と数枚のサイン入りの絵が飾られていた。
※この商品は CD-R 仕様となります。
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Road to Nowhere
AP1006/1998.11.10/¥2,800 + 税
Malin Harue + Peach Blue
ボーカルのMalin Harue は寺山修司が世に送り出そうとした最後のボーカリスト。
「Airplane」 は東京に生まれ、 この東京の空を飛びたいと願った曲。
アルバムはブルージーなアコースティックにアレンジされ、しっとりとした曲に優しい声が日々の疲れから解放してくれるかも。ワインがおいしい。
Road to Nowhere、Barny&Volvo、The milky Way、Night Call、Airplane など全9曲。
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The vocalist, Malin Harue, is the last vocalist the late great Japanese avant-garde poet, dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer, Shūji Terayama, tried to launch in this world. It’s from here, that Airplane was launched.

Airplane was born in Tokyo, with a desire to fly in the skies of the Metropolis.

The album arrangement is acoustic blues; the vocals are gentle, moist, tempered to relieve the daily city fatigue. It’s music like a glass of good wine.

9 tracks, including Road to Nowhere, Barny & Volvo, The Milky Way, Night Call, and Airplane.

This was one of the first Airplane releases I heard. That’s not surprising, because it’s a time capsule; where it all started.

I’m certain that back then, around 20 years ago, the music didn’t make much of an impression on me. I was amused, but there were some other albums that were more interesting. But that’s mostly due to what I was listening to then and what I was prepared to hear.

I’m a lot older now. I’m probably a bit more “settled,” with 2 kids, now in the mid and late teens. And I’m generally “over” sitting in stadiums to listen to small men playing on big stages, waiting in long lines to be able to say that I was there and prove it with a cheap t-shirt. I’ll do it, still, but I’d rather sit in a small place and listen to some people jamming because it feels good.

This feels good. It’s got a groove. Toshikatsu Uchiumi, blues guitarist for Carol, famed stage man, always plays with a groove. It’s comforting to hear a guy who doesn’t have to wince and sear all the time to show his chops. He strums, plucks, and *caresses* his notes. Tatsumi Nagasu, too, from DTBWB and one of the Japanese axe men who everybody calls when they need a consummate professional, he’s right with Uchiumi, strumming along, bluesy, toned with shades of grey, amber, and an occasional pink.

Peach Blue. Two colors. Two moods. Both are melancholy on their own. But together, they make a tone that is delightful. They will grow old with you. Like old friends and a glass of wine. Red, table wine. Nothing fancy, just a simple companion that has always been there. /JGKK


SOMEWHERE NOT HERE SIDE STORY SOMEWHERE NOT HERE SIDE STORY
AP1005 / 1998.10.29 /¥2,800 + 税
Jun Kawabata
コワレテユク。
フィールドレコーディングしたサウンドをラップトップに取り込み再構築して最も音楽的な瞬間をつくりだした。
リズボンの街角で拡声器を持ち演説している狂信的な宗教男、パリの地下 鉄で「100 万本のバラ」を歌うジプシー、パリ・セクシャル・デペンデンシーなど全10曲。
これが究極の音楽ではないか?
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Broken.
Using the ambient sounds of travels, recorded on a laptop, they are reconstructed into musical tapestries.
There are a myriad of sounds, into which are woven a religious fanatic speaking over a loudspeaker on a street corner in Lisbon, a gypsy singing “one million roses” on a Paris subway, and Paris Sexual Dependency.
Is this not penultimate music?

The eleven tracks included on this album are not music in any traditional sense. The “music” is made from sounds, recorded on travels, most of which are apparently in Europe. These samples are cut, looped, layered, distorted, and otherwise manipulated, with the horns, accordion, beeps, and many other sounds forming distinctive stories.

The stories told conjure Lisbon, Paris, Milano, and and others, some real and others imagined. Some of the sounds - subways, rambling voices, and even sirens - help to provide very location-specific imagery. Others - such as cars honking, water dripping, trains, and doors closing - merely bring unspecified locations to life. The flow of these tales amble around, aimlessly, looking less for a destination as for a place to observe, like a pigeon or a cat prowling about.

This album is from 1998, in the very early days of Airplane Label. The sounds are recorded in the early 90s, when the world was very different than it is now. Still, the sounds haven’t so much dated, but feel do feel like a journey. Anyone want to take a flight on Airplane somewhere? /JGKK


somewhere not here somewhere not here
AP1004 ¥2,800 + 税
Jun Kawabata
-原点回帰-
眼を閉じる。ここはいったい何処なんだろう?たどり着いたものの行き先もわからない。でももうそんなことどうでもいい。ひたすら歩き続け、彷徨う。原点回帰への旅。もうこれは Story music!怪し気なメロディーラインにはまるということはいやしの音楽ならぬあやしの音楽。アンチ・ヒーリング(!?)これもなかなか心地よいもの。
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Airplane Airplane
AP1003 ¥2,500 + 税
Malin Harue
万琳はるえの声を一言で例えることは難しいが、楽曲による表情の違い、豊かさに驚かされるだろう。"曖昧"をひとつのキーワードに、万琳はるえ自身が感じたままに表現している。彼女自身もまた、みずからを曖昧な「東京人」だと認識している。これからもまだまだ自分探しの旅は続くのだろう。“東京地図で紙ヒコーキを折る”は故・寺山修司さんの贈りもの。かれこれ10数年は経っているのに、今聴いても新鮮。“なつかし・あたらしい”と言ったらいいだろうか。
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The Other Side of Absolute Elsewhere The Other Side of Absolute Elsewhere
AP1002 ¥2,800 + 税
Jun Kawabata
自分探しの旅の余韻とも言えるこのCDエキストラは、他の2枚と同じくパリの空港の音景からはじまり、列車の走る音、フェスティバル風 景、カフェのざわめき、果ては宗教男(狂信者?)の演説に至るまで、最初から最後まで音のコラージュで出来ている。なんとマイナー且つダイタンな企画。これが繰り返し聴いていると、はまってしまうから不思議。さらにコンピュータでひらくと、3D 仕立ての映像や写真データが入っ ており、旅の風景が音と一緒に楽しむことができる。すべてヨーロッパで録音、撮影されたもので、まるで旅をしている気分になれる1枚。
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Absolute Elsewhere Absolute Elsewhere
AP1001 ¥2,800 + 税
Jun Kawabata
ジャケットからも嗅ぎ取っていただけるだろうか。ムンムン漂う妖しさのインストゥルメンタル。ミミザンの切なくけだるい海、あやうげなフランクフルトの娼婦宿、パ リ、夜更けの路地裏…。次々に映像が浮かんでくる。まるで映画でも観ているような錯覚。静寂の中から"GO HOME"のヴォーカルが囁きかける。スペシャルゲストMooney の、言葉ではうまく表現出来ない、なんとも色気のあるハートフルヴォイス。Absolute Elsewhere の空間で、うっとりと眠りにつけるだろう。
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夢のまにまに オリジナル・サウンドトラック 夢のまにまに オリジナル・サウンドトラック
XQFG-1002 ¥2,381 + 税
川端潤、井上芳雄、ほか
木村威夫監督作品「夢のまにまに」のオリジナルサウンドトラック『村上大輔』役として出演している俳優『井上芳雄』が、劇中で披露する往年の名曲『夜のプラットホーム』も収録!川端潤が音楽プロデュースを担当。
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Singin' the America New Singin' the America New
DXD1017/2009.02.28/¥2,858 + 税
大木トオル
伝説のブルースシンガー、単身アメリカで活動し数々の栄光を受けてきたミスターイエローブルース、大木トオルのデビュー40 周年を記念したメモリアルCDの登場。
気迫、ノリ共に類をみないブルージーでダンディズムに溢れる歌声はいまだ健在。
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Toru Oki is a legendary blues singer, often called, affectionately, “Mr. Yellow Blues.” He’s been performing throughout the United States for many years, playing with local and legendary blues artists, and the recipient of many accolades. This release commemorates the 40th anniversary of Oki’s debut.
Oki’s stunning voice is as powerful and stylish as ever, the most true blue Japanese blues vocalist alive.

The 4th track on the album is a short message from Oki’s close friend and spiritual brother, Ben E. King. This is followed by a duet, with the two singing the King standard, Save the Last Dance for Me. When paired in this way, you get the sense that it isn’t so much a tribute, but merely two brothers enjoying themselves, as they have for many years. As the Manhattan Brothers, they have.
You may not know Toru Oki, but he’s played and performed alongside such legends as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, B.B. King, Mike Bloomfield, and, of course, Ben E. King. On this album, he’s joined by Dr. John, Cornell Dupree, Bernard Purdie, Steve Cropper, George Young, Gordon Edwards and Stuff II, and Donald “Spider” Nicks. Not too shabby.
On the whole, the album has more crooners than straight blues, but it is, after all, a memorial to the singer. Still, the album provides ample evidence of Toru Oki’s credentials as a bonafide blues legend. /JGKK