TOP 10 JAPANESE RELEASES AND PRE-ORDERS

Last updated: Friday 7th June

1

“Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR And Boogie 1976-1986”

“Pacific Breeze” documents  Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy.

Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop, an amalgam of AOR, R&B, Jazz Fusion, Funk, Boogie and Disco.

Includes classics from Taeko Ohnuki, Hiroshi Sato and the ever-present genius of Haruomi Hosono.

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2

Chai – “Punk”

2nd album from the brilliant Chai on Heavenly, following 2018’s “Pink”.
“ ’PUNK’ for us, of course, is not the genre of music, ‘PUNK’ to us is to overturn the worn-out values associated with ‘kawaii’ or ‘cute’ created up until this point. ‘PUNK’ is a word that expresses a strong sense of self. To be yourself more, to become the person you truly want to be, to believe in yourself in every instance!” says the band.

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3

“Kankyo Ongaku – Japanese Ambient, Environmental And New Age Music 1980-1990”

Excellent overview of ambient and new age music from Japan in the 1980s including tracks from YMO’s Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto alongside other ambient masters such as Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa and experimental jazz genius Yasuaki Shimizu. Compiled by Spencer Doran of Visible Cloaks for Light In The Attic, it’s available as a 3LP or 2CD with book.

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4

Akiko Yano – “Iroha Ni Konpeitou”

The third album in the We Want Sounds Akiko Yano re-issue program is her 2nd album, and one of her finest “Iroha Ni Konpeitou”.
Originally released in 1977 and recorded in Tokyo and New York City it features the ever-present genius Haruomi Hosono on bass, Tatsuo Hayashi on drums, Shigeru Suzuki on guitar and Hideki Matsutake AKA Logic System on synths.
2 Hosono compositions are featured on the album, “Ai Ai Gasa” which he recorded on his 1973 landmark debut “Hosono House” and “Hourou” originally recorded in 75 by singer and musician Chu Kosaka.

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5

Haru Nemuri – “Haru To Shura”

Haru Nemuri’s debut full-length LP and first international release after 2 Japan-only EPs.
Mixing elements of alternative rock, post rock, (post) hardcore, spoken word and rap, she created a unique, forward thinking experimental version of modern music, a dense fusion of the quirky qualities of J-Pop, the intensity of post-hardcore and everything in between all at the same time.

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6

Ryuichi Sakamoto – “Music For Film”

The first ever compilation of film scores created by the Yellow Magic Orchestra genius as performed by the Brussels philharmonic.
Sakamoto was already a celebrated pioneer in electronic music and composer/pianist/singer in Japan when director Nagisa Oshima asked him to write the score for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence in 1983 and also to star alongside David Bowie. In a 30 year plus career since then he has worked with the cream of film directors including Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor), Brian De Palma (Snake Eyes), Pedro Almodovar (High Heels) and most recently Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant).

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7

Yasuaki Shimizu – “Kakashi”

Astonishing album of experimental Japanese jazz-rock fusion from master saxophonist and leader of the band Mariah, Yasuaki Shimizu.
Originally released in 1982, “Kakashi”‘s cult status increases every year, leading to this re-issue (and first time available outside Japan) in 2017.

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8

Minami Deutsch – “With Dim Light”

The 2nd album from krautrock/psychedelic band Minami Deutsch, originally released in 2018.

Minami Deutsch was formed by Kyotaro Miula (guitar, vocals, synthesizer) in Tokyo in 2014. Their sound is influenced by both their love for Krautrock legends such as Can and Neu!, and the band members being self-professed “repetition freaks” who heavily listen to minimal techno.

Whilst softening their sound and cushioning the blow, you can expect a more profound diversity in their sound, whilst retaining the principle ingredients that make Minami Deutsch so great such as their signature fuzz, thumping bass and dream like vocals. There is a heavier experimentation in regards to genre exploration, with hints of post punk and nods to late 60s psychedelic rock.

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9

#STdrums – “Lotus Root”

You might have spotted Yuji ‘Rerure’ Kawaguchi on the streets of London, playing drums in unusual places…

Inspired by a visit to the grave of John Bonham, Yuji became #STdrums, like a drummer version of Squarepusher, purveyor of hard groovy beats par excellence.

“Lotus Root” is his debut album, a kinetic thrust of rhythms mixed with electronic sounds and progressive sensibilities.

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10

Tentenko – “Tentenko”

Endlessly fun album from a former member of Japan’s punk Idol group BiS and the first release on a new label bringing Japanese artists to international attention, Toothpaste Records.

Contains the techno-kayo classic “Goodbye, Good Girl”, the Devo-esque pop freakout of “Hokago Sympathy” and the Shintaro Sakamoto-penned “Nantonaku Abenai”…every track is a winner.

On pink translucent vinyl with lyrics in English and Japanese.

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