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JAPANESE MUSIC THREAD


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More DJ Krush East / West collabs.   

Mos Def

Aesop Rock

Tragedy (Holy fuck, the beatz, dude.... the fucking beatz.)

 

Edited by J.T.
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That DJ Krush collabs CD with the Mos Def and Aesop Rock joints on it is my current Amazon unicorn.  I will put my hands on it one day.

I already have a copy of Zen in my stacks.   There is a track on that CD called Grace and N'Dea Davenport late of the the Brand New Heavies covers the vocals.   Her voice just melts my heart.

The CL Smooth  joint is from Meiso.  I have that in my crate as well.    There is also a dope track called Nosferatu featuring Mr. Lif on that shit that I don't boom as often as I should.

 

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Two more DJ Krush collabs then I'm done.

Finsta Bundy

Black Thought & Malik B from The Roots (this is my second favorite track on the Meiso CD.  The CL Smooth track is my shit!)

Okay, maybe three since the DJ Shadow / DJ Krush re-remix of The Roots joint from Meiso is also fucking dope!  

That intro drop is sooooo fucking filthy...

 

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If you dudes aren't hitting up Amazon or something and ordering these phat trunk beatz for your ride just in time for Summer, I don't know what to say.

I can only lead you to the path.   I can't make you walk it.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 8 months later...

I started exploring Japanese music a few years ago having wrongfully assumed that it was bad.

I started with Happy End, who were pretty much the Japanese equivalent of The Beatles. They were the first act to sing their songs in Japanese. Up until then, Japanese rock was mostly covers of Western songs or sung in English. They were only together for a few years from '69-72, but each of the members went on to become important figures in the Japanese music industry. Their album, Kazemachi Roman, is often regarded as the greatest Japanese rock album of all-time. 

Some of you may be familiar with this song from Lost in Translation:

 

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After Happy End broke up, they continued to work together and contribute to each other's solo albums and projects. 

The drummer and lyricist, Takashi Matsumoto, went on to become one of the most successful lyricists in Japanese music history, winning numerous awards and penning more than a hundred top 10 hits. 

The multi-talented Haruomi Hosono went on to shape the sound of Japanese pop for decades to come, inspiring both City Pop and Shibuya-Kei, while also pioneering electronic genres with his work with Yellow Magic Orchestra. His immediate work following Happy End's break-up was a style called Exotica, which basically drew on the music of the South Seas and turned it into pop tunes. 

Here's an example:

And his electronic work:

Eiichi Ohtaki was arguably the most successful of the members. He mostly worked in the City Pop genre, which is a loosely defined genre that basically refers to urban sounding pop music. His 1981 album, A Long Vacation, was a huge commercial and critical success, and is regarded as one of the greatest Japanese records of all-time,

Here's some footage of him singing the lead single from that album:

Shigeru Suzuki wasn't as successful as Hosono or Ohtaki, and eventually became a prolific session musician, but he did release some cool solo stuff in the 70s:

 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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21 hours ago, OctopusCinema said:

Japanese Punk

That album is fucking KILLER. I got a bootleg discography from I think Brazil from a domestic distro last year. Whoever these people are they've done a lot of killer stuff, Sodom (the Japanese one), Comes, a sick SxOxB/Google Plex split LP, Gai, and they're still pumping stuff out this year. I think the last thing they came out with was a Tozibabe discography (Slovakian all-female band). 

 

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Haven't posted this yet because I are dumb. Crank this and destroy your hearing. 

RIP Kawakami, D-Beat Master

My personal favorite, from the Disbones era (later period)

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@Curt McGirt, legit! I’m gonna dig through these. The Comes - No Side was recommended to me by a cute Canadian metal goth I was talking to online a looooong time ago. Very outside of what I was enjoying at the time but really hit me. Stumbling on this thread reminded me of it.

Come to think of it, our mutual friends that knew her I don’t think ever actually met her in person. I wonder if she is real. Haha

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You'll want to check out all the stuff I posted on the first page then too. Japanese punk and hardcore is a specialty of mine so if you have any questions or recommendations, ask. 

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Eiichi Ohtaki and Haruomi Hosono weren't just pioneering musicians, they were also successful producers.

One of the first albums Ohtaki produced was for a group called Sugar Babe. Sugar Babe was a pop act featuring Tatsuro Yamashita and vocalist Taeko Ohnuki. In 1975, they released their albums, Songs, which became hugely influential in the Japanese music scene. They didn't have immediate success, however. The dominant style of music in Japan at the time was hard rock, and Sugar Babe's pop sound was unpopular with critics and festival goers alike. They broke up after three years together, but City Pop eventually grew in popularity and ushered in what became known as Japan's "new music" era.

Here's a single from that album:

After Sugar Babe broke up, Yamashita and Ohnuki launched solo careers. 

Yamashita released a string of excellent LPs in the late 70s and early 80s and became known as The King of City Pop. City Pop had a soft, easy listening edge to it, but it also took the upbeat grooves from funk and disco and was able to switch effortlessly between upbeat and mellow styles. It's best appreciated by listening to the LPs, but despite how good his records were, Yamashita didn't become big until this hit from 1980:

Here's one of Ohuki's early solo efforts:

 

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Next we have Sadistic Mika Band.

This was a group started by the husband and wife team of guitarist Kazuhiko Kato and singer Mika Fukui. Kato spent some time in England in 1972 and was impressed by the emerging glam rock scene. He decided he wanted to start a Japanese glam rock band of his own and Sadistic Mika Band was born. They were one of the few Japanese bands to do well overseas during this time. They became the first Japanese band to tour the UK when they opened for Roxy Music in 1975. Their second and third albums were produced by Chris Thomas, who was famous at the time for producing The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

Their second album, Kurofune, is one of my favorite Japanese albums. Here's a track off that album:

Thomas and Mika ended up having an affair, Kato and Mika got divorced, and that was the end of Sadistic "Mika" Band. They went through another couple of incarnations, but with different vocalists. The drummer,  Yukihiro Takahashi, went on to form Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto, and the guitarist, Masayoshi Takanaka, went on to become to a successful guitarist working in the genres of City Pop, Jazz Fusion and Jazz Rock.

Here's the man in action:

 

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Up next is Carol.

Carol formed in 1972. Their gimmick was to copy the Hamburg era Beatles -- meaning leather jackets, Regent hairstyles and plenty of rock and roll:

It might not seem like it, but this was pretty cutting edge at the time. Rock and roll was a subculture in Japan at the time. The rock bands that did exist were trying to imitate British and American hard rock and prog acts and along comes this act playing simple songs with catchy melodies. And instead of having a "hippie dropout" image like a lot of the art rock bands, they were blue collar and rebellious. 

More importantly, they just plain rocked:

 

They were only together for three years, but the bassist and lead vocalist, Eikichi Yazawa, went on to become a huge rock star in Japan. He was the first solo Japanese rock artist to play at Budokan and holds the record for the most appearances there. His solo stuff generally follows the trends in music at the time, and is less interesting to me than his early days, but he is hugely popular in Japan. 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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Murahachibu were a glam rock band from Kyoto that became a cult favorite in the underground music scene. Regarded as precursors of Japanese punk, they were famous for their aggressive lyrics and their provocative front man, Chabou. The name of the band means "shunning" or "ostracism" in Japanese, a name they chose after NHK gave them a lifetime ban. They never recorded a studio album. Their only release was a live album, which is generally regarded as one of Japan's best rock albums. Fans who crave more have long sought underground tapes and bootleg live recordings. There used to be more of their stuff on YouTube, but I guess someone was naughty.

 

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Gedo were a hard rock trio led by androgynous guitarist and vocalist, Hideto Kano. They had a large biker following that followed them from show to show. 

Zunou Keisatsu (Brain Police) were a radical protest group that took their name from an early Mothers of Invention song, Who Are the Brain Police? They emerged from the political and cultural turmoil of late 60s Japan and were infamous for their extreme left-wing political views. No one would touch their debut album so they released it on their own label. The album is famous for having the identikit photo of the criminal behind Japan's version of The Great Train Robbery (a case that has never been solved, incidentally.) A number of their songs were banned due to their incendiary lyrics. Personally, I like their bongo and guitar driven sound. 

 

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