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This ensemble is said to have been wild and progressive folk with extreme vocals. It has been reissued on CD by Prime Direction.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Reck - guitar, vocals
Hiroshi Higo - bass
Chiko Hige - drums

This brutal Stooges-like power trio formed by ex-members of futen street ensemble Maru Sankaku Shikaku (Circle Triangle Square). Their sole album release SANBUN NO SAN appears at number 43 in Japrocksampler's Top 50. Thereafter, Reck moved to New York, where he joined the tail end career of Lydia Lunch's Teenage Jesus & the Jerks. Reck later returned to Tokyo and formed the New York-influenced Friction, a kind of catch-all Pistols/PIL/Robert Quine hogwash of all things refusenik. Although I hated (dismissed) the sole Friction studio LP at the time of release, time has been kind to the record and the band's Live album is actually a storming and successful representative of the No Wave scene.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Keyboardist and synthesizer manipulator Morishita Tokihiko made two albums of Polydor in 1972, neither of which I have heard. However, they are both held in high regard by many fans of the Japanese underground, and should be included here. Tokihiko later provided the expertise with which manga artist Mizuki Shigeru achieved his own album, and nowadays works on major picture film scores. He sometimes goes by the working name Geinoh Yamashirogumi.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
The Tokyo Kid Brothers story is told on pages 218-219 of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Isao Tomita is best known in Britain for his abominable synthesizer soundtrack SNOWFLAKES ARE DANCING, which was a big hit when RCA released it in 1974. However, Tomita had already gained considerable success in his own country, as early as 1956 composing the electronic music score for the Olympics Gymnastics Team.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
This 1970s folk singer released his self-titled debut LP in 1975, and his second NIKUSEI in 1976. His singing style is said to come from the Kan Mikami school of 'scream your fucking head off'.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Yasunao Tone was an avant-garde composer and co-founder of Tokyo's legendary group Ongaku, with Takehisa Kosugi. Tone was one of the first Japanese artists active in composing "events" and improvisational music, and he has been active in the Fluxus movement since 1962. Tone's story appears in considerable detail in Chapter 2 of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Juni Lush – vocals
Tstomu Ogawa (Junio Nakahara) – guitar
Masayuki Aoki - bass
Hideya/Shuye Kobayashi – drums

Often touted as the Japanese Black Sabbath by blowhards and those who’ve not actually heard the music, the excellently named Too Much hailed from the large city port of Kobe, where the band members grew up sucking in all kinds of western influences from the LPs and 7” singles that came in on the boats. One of the band – guitarist Junio Nakahara – had spent the late ‘60s in the blues group The Helpful Soul, whose sole LP features in this book’s Top 50 on account of its deeply inspired 10-minutes plus plodathon ‘Peace For Fools’. However, as its audience could never have perceived The Helpful Soul as anything more than another Group Sounds act, guitarist Nakahara decided to jump on the burgeoning New Rock bandwagon by forming the more appropriately named Too Much. Nakahara’s inspiration came from the TOO MUCH concert that The Helpful Soul played with the newly-formed Blues Creation, in Kyoto at the end of February 1970. The hippy phrase ‘too much’ was already utterly clichéd in the West by this time, but it was iconic and easily pronounceable to Japanese. In the process, Nakahara hooked up with hard rock singer Juni Lush, changed his own name to the more substantially New Rock-sounding Tsomu Ogawa(!), and dragged high school mates Hideya Kobayashi and Masayuki Aoki along as the rhythm section. They signed a deal with Atlantic Records in the summer of 1970, and wrote a whole slew of mindless proto-metal anthems, including the excellent ‘Grease It Out’, ‘Love Is You’ and ‘Gonna Take You’. These were duly recorded and sounded mindlessly, monolithically, perfectly suited to the lowbrow audience Too Much was aiming to please. Unfortunately, the Atlantic businessmen saw in the be-afro’d Juni Lush another potential star in the mould of Flower Travellin’ Band’s Joe Yamanaka, and they pressured the band into adding several mawkishly sentimetal ballads to the debut LP in order to widen their audience. The results were disastrous. No one needed yet another version of Bobby Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’, particularly the Nipponashville abortion that Too Much delivered. Hey, but neither did they require ‘Song For My Lady’, the arduously phlegmatic 12-minute album closer which arrived replete with megastring sections, Michel LaGrande pianos, Moody Blues flute solos and nere a six-string razor in sight. Too Much was just not enough, and they split soon after the album was released.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Orchestra leader Miyama Toshiyuki was such a talent spotter that his ensemble become a breeding ground for new musicians, many of whom came to use their place in his orchestra as a springboard to greater success.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007