Japan has had such an influence over the world with Jap Jazz in the 70/80s, DJ Krush, Monday Mishiru, United Future Organisation, modern experts like Jafrosax, DJ Kawasaki, Sleepwalker and SOIL & “Pimp” Sessions (check out our Roundhouse preview HERE and win stuff!), but this compilation roughly focuses on more traditional Japanese music.
When I say roughly, it would appear Japanese musicians have always been influenced by music from outside of their boarders whilst blending it with their own traditional music; apart from J-Pop (which I still haven’t learned to love).
Strangely enough the opening track is what you think of traditional Japanese music should be and this isn’t meant to sound bad, but there’s a touch of Michiko Suga trying to do The Slits without the punk. And the album is full of gems like this where you think we’re going off in one direction, like Koza Renka on calypso-soft rock ‘version’ that’s followed by Oki Dub Ainu Band’s nyabinghi enka or the middle eastern influenced ambient dub of Ryukyu Underground.
The most ‘Mr. Scruff‘ track award is jointly awarded to the Irish fol swing of ‘Ah Wakaranai’ that you’d be hard pressed not to join in after a pint of the black stuff and the boogie woogie bugle boy of Shizuko Kasagi. ‘Tokoyo Boogie Woogie‘ destined to be the revival of the summer?
Whilst the umpah of ‘Tokoyo Bushi’ is probably the lowest point, the CD definitely ends of a high with a cosmic modal big band jazzer ‘Akkan’ by Shibusashirazu; that’s one for Zeljko, the Nostalgia77 crew, Examples Of Twelves and Japanophile Gilles Peterson will hopefully spread the word. The CD is much more than a one track album but I love this! ‘Akkan’ is a big tune. Apparently they signed to a J-Pop label last year so lets hope they lose none of their free jazz death punk ska experimention; check out their Glastonbury vid below ( “Very good indeed” John Peel).
You can’t go wrong with any of the Rough Guide series albums (e.g. Rough Guide Planet Rock, The Rough Guide To West African Gold or The Rough Guide To The Blues to name just three) and this is the second Rough Guide To Japan that Paul Fisher has compiled for them (the other being 1999). Neither includes anything by other Japanese stars like Tokyo resident Daisuke Tanabe, the Reggae Disco Rockers, the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra or the Cinema Dub Monks so definitely chances of another edition.
The label have just updated their web site that’s also well worth a visit; but don’t forget to come back here soon!
Reviewed: Various – The Rough Guide To The Music Of Japan (World Music Network) Cat. No. RGNWT1211 Release date: July 2008
MICHIKO SUGA: Ushibuka Haiya Bushi
NAMI MAKIOKA: Subayado Bushi
TAKASHI HIRAYASU: Koza Renka
OKI DUB AINU BAND: East of Kunashiri
RYUKYU UNDERGROUND: Shinkaichi (Saru’s Meditation Dub)
SEIJIN NOBORIKAWA: Asadoya Yunta
SOUL FLOWER MONONOKE SUMMIT: Ah Wakaranai
HAJIME IKOMA: Kawachi No Ryu
TADAO SAWAI: Futatsu no Hensokyoku Sakura Sakura
KUNAICHO GAKUBU: Hyojo Netori
TENDAISHOMYO, TATSUYA KOUMAZAKI & PANGEA: Gobai
KOTSURU TADE: Hara no Tatsutokya
TAKEHARU KUNIMOTO: Appalchian Shamisen
SHIZUKO KASAGI: Tokyo Boogie Woogie
HARUMI MIYAKO: Yuhizaka
MORIO AGATA: Tokyo Bushi
‘Tokoyo Boogie Woogie’ on YouTube‘ Jeffreylmcentire (1 week ago) YAA!!! : ) I love this!
Shibusashirazu Orchestara Glastonbury 2002
www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk 27-29th July, 2008 [John Peel Stage] [JazzWorld Stage]