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Stomu Izumi – rhythm guitar
Hisashi Fuji – lead guitar
Toshikzu Taki – bass
Ryoji Oka – drums
Takashi Maki – vocals

Formed in 1970, in the ugly industrial city of Nagoya, from the ruins of GS outfit The Silencer, this progressive rock band was courted by a local rock critic who took the band under his managerial wing. They played the local scene for a couple of years before gaining anything more than local success. Cosmos Factory took their marvellous name from a wholly cosmic misreading of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s LP COSMO’S FACTORY, which has unfortunately led many to believe that they were a space rock band. Instead, they were just a fairly bombastic bunch with a good line in titles. Their best LP is the debut AN OLD CASTLE IN TRANSYLVANNIA, but even this is keyboard heavy in an Italian progressive style, and only the epic title track that closes the album enters the realms of real experiment. Otherwise, their work dwells in the same areas as The Nice, Arzachel and early King Crimson. The band finally made its name as support for The Moody Blues and signed to Columbia Records in 1973, releasing the aforementioned debut that same year. Thereafter, the band signed a better deal with Toshiba’s hip Express label, and embarked on the unusual policy of releasing EPs. First came FANTASTIC MIRROR, followed by THE INFINITE UNIVERSE OF YOUR MIND and DAYS IN THE PAST, each appearing throughout 1975. Their second LP A JOURNEY WITH COSMOS FACTORY was released the same year. Film soundtrack work altered their music somewhat, giving it a harder, more clinical edge, and the musical arrangements of their final LPs BLACKHOLE and METAL REFLECTION were more Spartan than the previously lush arrangements of earlier albums, and not heavy metal as the titles would suggest. Cosmos Factory’s name and fabulous album titles are the main reason for the band’s inclusion here.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Hiroshi Nar - vocals, bass
Masao Tonari - organ
Kei Yamashita - guitar
Shogo Ueda - drums

Included here as representatives of the early ’70s festival scene, Datetenryu was an obscure cousin to Communist agitator bands Zuno Keisatsu (Brain Police), Yellow, Les Rallizes Denudés and Murahatchibu. Led by organist Masao Tonari, the band on UNTO[album] played a frantic hogwash of soul-based progressive space rock that inhabited the same territory as The the Soft Machine’s debut- LP period (imagine ‘Why Are We Sleeping?’ or ‘Hope For for Happiness’ by way of ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’). Mainly instrumental, their music is a space trek through endless R&B riffs and classic soul moments, like some ever- unfolding medley. UNTO purports to be what the band members would have chosen had they had the opportunity to release an official debut album at the time, ie: a total barrage of lo-fi progressive garage rock. The 20-minute epic ‘Doromamire (Covered All Over In in Mud)’ is the killer, but really it’s all one insane 47-minute-long rush. Formed in May 1971, at Kyoto Sangyo (‘Industrial’) University, Datetenryu was a right bunch of refusenik longhairs. Masao Tonari set up sideways on to the rest of the band, while drummer Shogo Ueda played, head down, facing away from the stage pointing towards Tonari’s Yamaha organ. Indeed, guitarist Kei Yamashita appears to have been permanently out of proceedings in the same way that Yes’s Pete Banks and the Nice’s Davy O’List were forever being sidelined. Datetenryu’s biggest claim to fame, however, was the presence of bassist/singer Hiroshi Narazaki, who later became Hiroshi Nar and joined Les Rallizes Denudés, thereafter forming his own very excellent band the Niplets, who continue to perform right up to the present time.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Fumio Nunoya – vocals
Hisao Ono – guitar
Tsuneo Matsumoto – bass
Masami Naito – drums

Dew was formed in January 1970. Dominated by vocalist Fumio Nunoya, ex-singer with New Rock act Blues Creation and Group Sounds act The Bickies, both of which he had formed with Kazuo Takeda, in 1969. Nunoya was also with band Taboo whom he formed with future Happy End star Eiichi Otaki. Evidence of only two Dew songs survive, both recorded at the Genya Protest Festival, and both featuring on the soundtrack LP on Elec Records. However, the band split up soon afterwards.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I have heard nothing and know nothing about this quintet other than that they are 'alleged to have been based in the US'.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Kazuo Imai – guitar, viola da gamba (upright descant viola), electronics, snake charmer
Kaoru Okabe – found object
Yasushi Ozawa – bass
Tomonao Koshikawa – piano, potentiometers
Hiroshi Shii – wand, water stick
Masami Tada – sound performance, natural materials used as thrown percussion, FX
Tatuo Hattori – FX, electonics
Kazuaki Hamada – percussion, FX
Masaharu Minegishi – whistles, sound performance
Chie Mukai – kokyu (Chinese upright fiddle)

This large ensemble was formed in March 1976 by students of Taj Mahal Travellers leader Takahisa Kosugi. Their sole LP* is number 33 in the Japrocksampler Top 50. They briefly re-formed as the superb Marginal Consort in 1997 - in many ways this new ensemble was far superior as is evidenced by their outstanding album release.

* Henk Zuurveld notes that the original album was released in 1976 by ALM Records. The LP's label number is: al-3001 and also includes an insert.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Perhaps the most legendary of all Japanese rock musicians, the Sino-Japanese Shinki Chen is certainly those islands’ most celebrated guitarist, and is nowadays discussed in hushed tones and regarded by many as their equivalent to Jimi Hendrix. Indeed, with his imposing 6’ 1” frame, perpetual cigarette dangling from his lips and long Afro hairstyle, Shinki at the height of his powers cut a dash remarkably reminiscent of Guns n’ Roses’ guitarist Slash. Shinki was born in Yokohama City, on May 30th 1949, and claims that he began to play guitar aged fourteen, “I guess because there was one around”. At that age singing and playing in a folk group, Shinki afterwards joined a Liverpool-styled beat group led by his friend Keibun Hayashi, before joining a Ventures-type surf group with a female vocalist. Gradually developing an obsession for The Kinks and The Yardbirds, in 1966, Shinki joined his friends’ band Midnight Express Blues Band as drummer. On guitar was Masayoshi Kabe, when went by the nickname Maboo. Kabe says of the Midnight Express’ repetoire: “Our repertoire was the Yardbirds, the Shadows of Night, Them, and stuff like that.” Kabe remembers his first meeting with Shinki thus:

“Shinki brought a girl… his girl… to my place and asked: ‘Maboo, will you be her boyfriend? (laughs)’ And I thought, what a guy. At first he came saying he wanted to teach me guitar. But later I found out he had another girl (laughs). And he just wanted to push this one on to me (laughs). Her name was Bella. So that’s how we met.”

But when Masayoshi Kabe left to join Group & I that December, Shinki turned to the position of guitarist. With future Golden Cups’ drummer Mamoru Manu now sitting in on drums, Midnight Express Blues Band continued to rehearse with Chiharu Hachou on guitar, Shinki’s old friend bassist Keibun Hayashi, and vocalist Eiji Takamura, who took the stage name Chibo. In 1967, the band re-named itself The Bebes after a cool shop of the same name in Yokohama City, owned by their new manager, who ran Towa Productions. The Bebes performed throughout 1968 at military bases, international schools, ABC in Yokohama and at the Nakagawa Saburo Discotheque, but ran into big problems because of Shinki and Chibo’s ever-lengthening hair. Sharing their management company was Masayoshi Kabe’s equally rebellious Group & I, and both bands were shuttled off to the suburbs around Tokyo to develop their showmanship, as neither band could find a booking at the more sober jazz kissas. Indeed, Shinki and Chibo prided themselves on having hair as long as that of their English heroes, and refused to sing in Japanese or wear the de rigeur Beatles-informed Group Sounds uniforms of the day. However, when Kabe’s Group & I followed The Bebes lead and re-named themselves Golden Cups after a chain of coffee houses, their popularity increased dramatically, and the Cups were offered a recording contract. Feeling themselves falling behind, and with musicians coming and going, The Bebes agreed to record their own version of The Beatles’ ‘Back in the USSR’, slowing it down to a crawl and recording for Toshiba Records the longest song ever to make it on to 7” single. And in the process, Shinki’s friend George Yanagi joined as bass player as the band changed its name yet again, this time to Powerhouse. Powerhouse played no original songs, but their cover versions were enormously long and unfolding things, their version of The Yardbirds’ ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ and the inevitable ‘Spoonful’ both clocking in at over a quarter of an hour each. With FX pedals still in their infancy and being the sole preserve of Western musicians, Powerhouse were forced to approximate fuzz boxes by punching holes in the cones of their speakers. However, as their sole LP, 1969’s A NEW KIND OF BLUES was neither Group Sounds nor original, the band folded, and Shinki went into studio session work and working in the theatre ensemble for the musical HAIR. Playing the HAIR songs with such future stars as Joe Yamanaka, Hiro Tsunoda and Hiro Yanagida, Shinki yearned for a new band. In April 1970, inspired by the success of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper’s SUPER SESSION LP, Hiro Yanagida suggested that they form a band called Food Brain. Two quick live Food Brain concerts took place on May 9th and 10th, featuring Hiro Tsunoda on drums, but none of the musicians were real songwriters, and everything was improvised. On May 29th and 30th, the sole Food Brain LP was hastily recorded, with Masayoshi Kabe playing a bass that just happened to be lying around in the studio. Nowadays, Food Brain is a horrible sounding thing, but its effect on the musicians involved was astounding and inspiring. However, when Hiro Tsunoda left for shows in Montreal, the band recruited D’Swooners drummer Eddie Fortuno to play at the THIRD WORLD HEAD ROCK festival, on July 23rd, with Blues Creation and Zuno Keisatsu. Thereafter, Shinki recorded the musical soundtrack for the movie SHINJUKU MAD, during which time he was bumming around Shinjuku itself and sleeping at the railway station.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Konimara – vocals
Masabuni - synthesizer
Rey Ohara - percussion, hand drums

This virtually unknown free chant’n’ritual ensemble made one brilliant LP DEBON for Voice Records in 1974, before disappearing back whence they came. Often compared to Faust, they actually come across more like some Cajun inbreds at a cannibal sacrifice, the chanting exhibiting an apocalyptic bluesy quality somewhat akin to Exuma the Obeah Man, or Captain Beefheart circa STRICTLY PERSONAL and MIRROR MAN. Hand drums, sleigh bells, tambourines, blues harp, and many many vocals go into the sonic stew that makes the sound of Brast Burn.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Masayoshi Takanaka – vocals, guitars, bass, piano
Michio Ara - vocals, electric guitar, inspiration
Toru Hatano – fuzz guitar, keyboards, string & electric FX organ, drums, vocals
Keizo Ishiyama – bass, vocals
Hitoki Goto – rhythm guitar, bass, money, idea
Hoko Ide – organ, piano
Donand Dog III – vocals, piano
Akira Asami - piano
Takefumi Yoshida – sitar
Kenichi Sato – tambura
Oshine – drums
Humio Mori - drums
Toru Hatano – drums, keyboards

Taking its cue from late ‘60s bands such as Bob Markley’s West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Brush was the pet ‘vanity’ project of future Flied Egg/Strawberry Path bassist Masayoshi Takanaka. Not really a band as such, more a loose aggregation of like-minded musicians, Brush revolved around Takanaka and patron Hitoki Goto, who paid for all of the recordings in return for being allowed to record some of his own material. Those involved in this collective obviously wished to be perceived as a band, as eleven of the thirteen musicians involved appeared together in press photographs and on the LP sleeve itself. The self-titled LP, which was released in 1971 on the tiny TPR record label, covered all bases and suffered from that irritating eclecticism that was to ruin Takanaka’s future bands. Songs ranged from the gentle West Coast hippy songs of ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Almost Cut Your Hair’ (not the underachieving David Crosby abortion of almost the same name), via the Dylan-alike ‘Greyhound’ and the sappy sitar raga of ‘Tilanga’ to excellent full-on raging sonic experiments like ‘Die A Dog’s Death’. All around, however, there is nothing else of greatness to be excavated from this sole Brush LP.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Haruo ‘Panta’ Nakamura – vocals, guitar
Toshi Ishizuka – drums, congas, bongos
Hiroshi Nar (Narazaki) – guitar

Coming on like a politicised Tyrannosaurus Rex in the style of Terry Stamp’s Third World War, Zunou Keisatsu were a radical protest band with a penchant for changing members and line-ups often depending on who was straight enough to make it all the way through the gig. They were formed in the late ‘60s by vocalist and guitarist Panta, who had formerly played with festival obscurities Peanut Butter, Mojo and Spartacus Bunt, and Brain Police songs were all built around the guitarist’s fist-in-the-air people-at-the-barricades lyrics. Taking their name from the early Mothers of Invention song ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’ the band survived long enough to make six LPs and continued until the end of 1975. However, there are two obvious peaks in their career, the first being their rousing duo performance at the GENYA anti-airport protest festival, when Panta and conga player Toshi shared a bill with Blues Creation, Masauki Takayanagi’s free rock New Direction For The Arts, and Keiji Haino’s Lost Aaraaff. Performances of the songs ‘Pick Up Your Gun’ and the seven-minute chant ‘World Revolutionary War Declaration’ received such a positive response from the crowd that the nihilism of closing act Lost Aaraaff was greeted with large rocks hurled from the Sanrizuka fields. Their second career high happened the following year in 1972, when, unable to secure a record deal, they self-released their debut LP (which was recorded live at Kyoto Gymnasium) on their own Be-witch record label, with a controversial front cover that starred an infamous criminal who had dressed as a security guard to achieve his heist. The punk packaging included a gold-printed 13” x 13” mailer and Xeroxed inner sheets. Drummer Toshi Ishizuka later played with Kan Mikami, Jokers and Mikami’s insane ‘90s trio Vajra. Sometime member Hiroshi Nar joined Les Rallizes Denudes, suffered some temporary mental illness, and nowadays records with The Niplets.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007