May 12, 2007

Japan, Sayonara

Japan, the last leg of my little tour, if anything it can be said that the 110 million Japanese have a great musical culture, a strongly developped drive to create music, as such they manifest in a lot of niches. It is however unfortunate that as islanders go they are looking inward, that and the fact that language and their writing have made it difficult for foreigners to pick up on whats going on there. The Japanese could have been more outspoken to the world concerning their music, certainly in electronic and avant gardistic circles they are right up there. However there's a certain frivolous element that the generally over-serious-self important west artists lack and which causes a divide of misunderstanding specially with the followers (fans and press), obviously it's collective vs individual culture at work here. With the internet distribution is no longer the issue, but language/script is and so the ball is in the Japanese corner if they want to follow up their dominance in car production with a bigger slice of the global music scene, a marketing tip from me throw in some local cd's and dvd's with every car exported to the west (wink).

This last post is the most recent of all and the most electronic minimal abstract, Nobukazu Takemura and Aoki Takamasa glitch pop from Sketch Show, psychedelic Ghost and 2 DJ's with very different outlooks techno By Ken Ishi and DJ Krush with a fvery cool usion of Japanese traditional and hiphop jazz.

As i have been rather busy today i have forgotten to add Oggfiles to some of the Sharebee re-uploads, if in need you can get them here, Oggfiles 1mb. Furthermore , i extended the rtf with information on re uploads from eurosonics stage 9 till 13, this will be further extended the coming weeks, if you come across a dead link please tell me at my comments section.

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Ken Ishii - Future in light (02)
DJ Krush - Jaku (04)
Nobukazu Takemura - Tenth (02)
Ghost - Hypnotic Underworld (04)
Aoki Takamasa - Indigo Rose (03)
Sketch Show - LoopHole (04)

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Ken Ishii - Future in light  (02 * 502mb)

Ken debuted on a legendary Belgian techno label, R & S Records, in 1993. Then he won No.1 on the UK’s NME magazine’s techno chart which led him to worldwide recognition. In 1995, the highly praised album "Jelly Tones" (R & S / Sony) was released. In the following year, the video clip for the single "Extra" from the "Jelly Tones" album (directed by Koji Morimoto) won MTV Europe's "Dance Video of the Year" award.

In 1998, Ken composed and produced the official theme song for the winter Olympics which took place in Nagano, Japan. In 2000, Ken was on the cover of "Newsweek" magazine, featured as a symbol of the Japanese new culture. Also in the same year, he composed the theme song and soundtracks for the mega hit Japanese film, "Whiteout", which led him to a nomination for Japanese Academy Awards. Ken finally set up his own label, 70 Drums, and released this album “Future In Light.” in 2002

These days, Ken spends 2/3 of his time in Europe, Asia, North and South America and Oceania DJing and working as a true international artist. In 2004, he was awarded the best techno DJ at "Dance Music Awards" in Ibiza, Spain, proving himself to be one of the world’s most talented DJs in the scene. Last year, he was in charge of the music for Japanese Government's Seto-Nippon Pavilion at World Expo, held in Aichi, Japan. In November, 2006, he released "SUNRISER", he's also been continuously releasing on his side project, FLR, focusing on the dance floor.

01- Awakening (6:15)
02 - Visionary World (6:16)
03 - Auburnia (5:23)
04 - Future Is What We Are (4:05)
05 - Fadeless (7:31)
06 - Liquid Metal (6:17)
07 - Melting Point (6:31)
08 - Presto (6:45)
09 - Beep Twist (6:46)
10 - Strobe Enhanced (5:59)
11 - To The Sky Beyond (6:08)

Ken Isshi @ Base
Ken Isshi @ Amazon

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DJ Krush - Jaku ( "tranquility")  (04 flac 377mb)

Hideaki Ishii was born in 1962 in Tokyo. It was the movie "Wild Style" that got him into hiphop in the early 80's, and in 1987, he formed Krush Possee which made numerous appearances in various media as the best hiphop act in Japan. KRUSH began pursueing his solo career after the break-up of the group in late 1992, and soon grabbed people's attention as the first DJ to use turntables as live instruments, doing free sessions with live musicians on stage.
His first album "Krush" was released in 1994, and since then he released countless records in Japan, Europe, US and around the globe. All his solo releases have ranked high in various charts in & out of Japan, his 6th album "Zen" has been highly acclaimed and awarded the Best Electronica Album in 2002 at the AIFM Awards (US). Aside from his outernational activities as producer, remixer and DJ, he constantly expands his field from soundtracks for films, TV dramas & commercials to live sessions with various musicians that transcends music jenre. In 2004, he produced soundtrack for a documentary film featuring Japanese photographer Araki titled "Arakimentari" which made huge buzz amongst US film festivals & won Audience Award at Brooklyn International Film Festival.

This, his 8th album "Jaku (tranquility) " was released in 2004 aswell. There is something very explicitly Japanese in the notion of tranquility as Krush applies it to hip-hop, and it is this notion that Krush explores on Jaku. For instance a prominent shakuhachi part by Shuuzan Morita (the shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese flute with a hoarse and melancholic sound) or Shinishi Kinoshita on the tsugaru-jamisen Krush manages to mix the hiphop culture with the easts tradional music, an assimilation brought about thru electronic music. In 2006 Krush released his latest a double album "Stepping Stones The Self-Remixed Best ".

01 - Still Island (5:06)
02 - Road to Nowhere (3:21)
03 - Nosferatu (3:45)
04 - The Beginning (3:55)
05 - Transition (1:57)
06 - Stormy Cloud (5:54)
07 - Univearth (5:20)
08 - Decks-athron (6:17)
09 - Kill Switch (4:20)
10 - Pretense (3:02)
11 - Slit of Cloud (6:25)
12 - Passage (1:35)
13 - Beyond Raging Waves (4:23)
14 - Distant Voices (3:22)
15 - Song 2 (4:59)

DJ Krush @ Base
DJ Krush @ MySpace
DJ Krush @ Amazon

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Nobukazu Takemura - Tenth (02 flac 412mb)

Nobukazu Takemura was born in Osaka in August of 1968. His interest in music began with punk and new wave at the ripe old age of ten. By the time he reached junior high, Takemura was recording music with keyboards and two tapedecks. He started his DJ career during high school, spinning in the clubs of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Working in a record store, Takemura became exposed to Free Jazz, Contemporary Music and Hip-Hop - the foundation for his music composition and theory for re-mixing. In 1987, he formed the DJ Team "Cool Jazz Productions", & in 1988, joins "Audio Sports" the now legendary hip-hop unit headed by Eye Yamatsuka of the Boredoms. Around 1993 Takemura first branched out as a solo artist under the moniker "Child's View". The name highlighted one of the key themes in his music that is still prevalent today. He tries to create melodies that musically capture a sense of wonder, a childlike innocence and curiosity. He has a huge catalog of collaborations with critically acclaimed artists from every corner of the world. From Issey Miyake, who had him create music for 2 seasons of designs, to Sony who had him create all the sounds for their futuristic toy Aibo. From Steve Reich to DJ Spooky from Yo La Tengo to Tortoise. His wide range of collaborative partners reflect the wide range of his musical talents. Nobukazu Takemura is often joined by Aki Tsuyuko on vocals and video manipulation for live shows. She is a truly amazing animator, crucial collaborator and solo artist in her own right.

Over the years Takemura’s music has been considered many things (Minimal Electronic, DJ/Hip-Hop, IDM, Electronica) yet he’s still has managed to defy categorization. His approach to composition is best viewed as a DJ using the computer as a tool much like a turntable, midi, or sampler. "Cogwheel" illustrates his technique well with its blend of a distant heartfelt melody, pleasingly bouncing, lightly dancing over bubbling rhythms and catchy beats, peppered with stutters, slips, trips, and glitches.

01 - Perch (8:00)
02 - FallsLake (4:07)
03 - Wandering (7:44)
04 - Cons (Album Version) (2:01)
05 - Machine's Dream (1:49)
06 - A Puff Of Word (1:40)
07 - Lost Treasure (4th Version) (9:06)
08 - Mumble (5:16)
09 - Croon (5:23)
10 - The Ring Of Spell (1:22)
11 - Tadasu No Mori (4:28)
12 - Funny Illustrated Book (4:40)
13 - Astral Beads (3:28)
14 - Murmur Of The Day (5:38)
15 - Polymorphism (3:36)
16 - At Lake Yogo (10:47)

Nobukazu Takemura @ Label
Nobukazu Takemura @ Amazon

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Ghost - Hypnotic Underworld  (04 flac 410mb)

Ghost are a collective of psychedelic-minded Japanese musicians headed by guitarist Masaki Batoh who have been haunting the psychedelic underground since 1986 . with free-range psychedelia think Can/Amon Düül (krautrock), as well as west coast psych units like Blue Cheer and Jefferson Airplane. Later, Masaki formed Ghost with a large and varying lineup, centered around contributors such as Michio Kurihara, Kazuo Ogino, and Taishi Takizawa. According to reports, the group lived a nomadic existence, drifting from ruins of ancient temples to disused subway stations around the Tokyo area.

The band began releasing their work with the albums Ghost and Second Time Around, each appearing during 1991-1992. Two more Ghost titles, Tune in, Turn on, Free Tibet and Snuffbox Immanence, were released simultaneously in 1999.

Over the course of six albums (including the live set, Temple Stone), Ghost’s music has moved from pastoral British folk to the mantric-satori drone rituals of ‘70s Japanese collective Taj-Mahal Travellers to acid-spiked Buddhist temple services to the tribal percussion/ecstatic chant jams. Led by guitarist/vocalist Masaki Batoh Ghost find strength in fragility, a typically Zen achievement for this very Zen-like outfit. Five years after 99's one-two punch of Snuffbox Immanence and Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet—the group returned with their strongest effort since 1996’s Lamarabirabi, "Hypnotic Underworld".

Ghost finish this peculiar opus with a rendition of Syd Barrett’s “Dominoes—Celebration For The Gray Days,” . The group transforms the original into a hazy ballad with flute, slide-guitar sighs, and twinkling keyboards. Batoh’s voice gets filtered through a Leslie speaker, an acoustic guitar chugs, bells toll, and Barrett’s original is but a distant memory.

* they are touring Europe this month check their Base for dates

01 - God Took A Picture Of His Illness On This Ground
02 - Escaped And Lost Down In Medina
03 - Aramaic Barbarous Dawn
04 - Leave The World!
05 - Hazy Paradise
06 - Kiseichukan Nite
07 - Piper
08 - Ganagmanag
09 - Feed
10 - Holy High
11 - Dominoes - Celebration For The Gray Days

Ghost @ Base
Ghost @ Amazon

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Aoki Takamasa - Indigo Rose  (03 flac 449mb)

Aoki Takamasa was born in 1976 in Osaka, and seems to be one of the most productive artists from the new music scene in Japan. He performed live in 2002 with Vladislav Delay, Snd, Akufen, and Jan Jelinek. Indigo Rose is his third album and also fifth full-length release from the interesting Progressive Form label based in Tokyo.

More open and accessible than his previous work( Silicom 1 & 2), Indigo Rose sees Takamasa accentuating his use of drones and glitches as basic elements for his sonic structures. The approach adopted on Indigo Rose is different as the eight tracks on offer were created with sole purpose to be listened to as a single piece of work, giving him the opportunity to develop his compositions in radically different ways. Still relying on minimal soundscapes, Takamasa’s mutant electronica becomes here futuristic pop.

Yet, the emphasis is more than ever on evolving melodies. Introducing for the first time vocal elements to his music, courtesy of Japanese female artist Noriko Tsujiko, her singing, processed and looped, becomes the most obvious indicator of the human input on this machine-driven context. The juxtaposition of Takamasa’s progressive drones and glitches and Tsujiko’s soft voice gives Indigo Rose a truly unique character. The album concludes with what is perhaps Takamasa’s most delicate composition to date. Build around a water sample, There’s Not Much Left is beautifully atmospheric and expressive, conveying a wide range of emotions through very little sonic elements.

01 - Cover Your Ears (2:11)
02 - Dear People (6:22)
03 - Hope (6:38)
04 - Capital E (14:53)
05 - Photons From My Window (8:29)
06 - Wooden Piece (11:45)
07 - Pipe Tale - Indigo Rose (7:55)
08 - There's Not Much Left. (9:02)

Aoki Takamasa @ Base

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Sketch Show - LoopHole  (04 flac 300mb)

My last Japanese album in this series and in a way I've come full circle as i end with YMO, but no it aint , these artists have left 25 years behind , they've taken it all in, and at the same time managed to leave all out . In 2002, Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi formed Sketch Show initially planned as Hosono producing Takahashi, they ended up writing songs together, fusing cutting edge technology to Harry Hosonos idiosyncratic musical directions and Takahashis beats.

They recorded a cutting-edge electronic album : Audio Sponge, which was released on Daisyworld Discs in Autumn 2002. Ryuichi Sakamoto, the other member of YMO also collaborated on Audio Sponge. In Feb 2003, Sketch Show released a mini album called Tronika, also on Daisyworld Discs, featuring remixes by Cornelius, and with Sakamoto writing with them again. Sketch Show did a sell-out tour of auditoria in Japan in the Autumn of 2002, with both Sakamoto and Cornelius making appearances with the seven-piece band. They apppeared 2003 at Sonar for their first european apperances in 2 decades, still the western music press largely missed* ( sketch show defintely a name that got lost in western translation, Sakamoto suggested they'd rename to Human Audio Sponge..much better but then he's the most westernised of the three ) this album Loophole is pure glitch pop it starts off with a strong icelandic feel only to get better, one of the best albums of 2004 and the inbreds of the western press all but missed it, don't you make the same mistake !.

01 - Mars (4:15)
02 - Wiper (4:32)
03 - Chronograph (5:06)
04 - Plankton (4:07)
05 - Flakes (5:16)
06 - Attention Tokyo (3:22)
07 - Night Talker (Safety Scissors Mix) (4:32)
08 - Traum 6.6 (5:25)
09 - Scotoma (3:10)
10 - Fly Me To The River (4:35)
11 - Ekot (Cornelius Mix) (6:06)
12 - Stella (4:09)

Sketch Show - Ekot video

Sketch Show @ Base
Sketch Show @ Amazon

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


nob said...

I'm from japan.
thx for lots of good musics.

JW said...

Audio Sports namecheck + Ken Ishii + DJ Krush = no rebore mixes posted?!?!?

. said...

hey cool blog.. thanks (!) for posting all this groovy stuff

ash said...

Thank you so much for sharing your collection.

I have been immensely interested in your journey about the aural soundscapes of Europe, and I was delighted when you arrived in Japan.

Really enjoying the tunes.!!

dsides said...

hello from Limoges, France.
thanks for your good vibes.
there's a corupt file, it does'nt work, on:-Ghost-Hypnotic Underworld-zip's file.
ho noo :(
merci encore pour tout (thank's a lot for all)

Rho said...

Hello, well just completed re-upping all dropped zSharelinks, all is Zen again

best of luck,


Anonymous said...

re-up plz. more JP music again :)