Gu-N LP

Release date : July 1st

Gu-N LP

ltd to 385 copies -Silkscreened jacket with obi (tan, orange or black) & inserts, liner notes by Michel Henritzi

Formed in 1994 by  Hidenobu Kaneda (Yuragi), alongside Fumio Kosakai (Incapacitants, Hijokaidan, C.C.C.C.) ,  Ikuro Takahashi (Fushitsusha, Kousokuya, LSD March), Ryuichi Nagakubo (C.C.C.C., Yuragi), and Morihide Sawada (Yura Yura Teikoku, Marble Sheep), Gu-N played regularly at Plan-B in Tokyo, but released little during their relatively short time together. Hazy and hypnotic, their laminar improvisations, four of which appear on this untitled album, are compelling, oneiric visions for the ear.

In his liner notes for the album, Michel Henritzi writes that these Gu-N recordings situate the group within a broader trajectory of free improvisation and collective sound within Japan – Taj Mahal Travellers, East Bionic Symphonia, Marginal Consort, each of whom sprung, in many ways, from the radical vision and creativity of Takehisa Kosugi. But there’s a unique spirit here that aligns Gu-N with these predecessors, while also marking out singular territory.

Kosakai’s background in noise, via his participation in Hijokaidan and Incapacitants, can be heard in the unrelenting oscillations and heavyweight drones that purr throughout each of these four tracks. Both Kosakai and Nagakubo were members of C.C.C.C., perhaps the clearest precursors to Gu-N in their psychedelic density, though Gu-N trade in C.C.C.C.’s volcanic energy for a more tempered, sensuous exploration of tone and time.

There’s also a brutish element to Gu-N’s improvisations – see the saturated spectrum, rumbling and phasing throughout the album, and the crushing, almost Amon Düül-esque drum tattoos that Takahashi pounds out on the second track (recorded in 1998), punctuating the music from deep inside its hallucinatory murk. Elsewhere, as on the third track (one of three recorded in 1994), Kosakai’s cello scrapes out armfuls of buzz-tone as Sawada’s bouzouki trills out, elastic and vibrant, across spindrift electronics and lung-spun winds.

What’s most impressive here, though, is the way each player, formidable musicians in their own right, defers to the might of the communal and the collective. The quintet broke up in 1998, leaving behind scant recorded evidence – just one, self-titled CD, on Pataphysique, released in 1995. This LP is a most welcome addition to the small but blissful body of recorded work made public by this mysterious quintet of spirit channelers.

24€

Ki LP Mico, Tamio Shiraishi & Fritz Welch

Available on May 13, 2022

Ki (Mico – Tamio Shiraishi – Fritz Welch) LP ” Tearful face of my cute love [is begging to me] “

ltd to 285 copies -Silkscrened jacket with obi & inserts, liner notes by Jon Dale

Ki is a trio that pits long-time collaborators Tamio Shiraishi (saxophone, voice) and Takahashi Michiko aka Mico (drums, voice, vocoder, melodica, piano, percussion) against drummer, percussionist and vocalist Fritz Welch. They each bring a wealth of experience, from Shiraishi’s early moves in the Japanese underground of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – he was a founding member of Fushitsusha, and played with Taco and Machinegun Tango – to his legendary, late-night solo New York subway performances; he and Mico also spent some time playing with No Neck Blues Band, while Welch, currently based in Glasgow, has a long history taking in stints with Peeesseye, Lambs Gamble and FvRTvR.

Tearful Face Of My Cute Love (Is Begging To Me), named after a yakuza song, is Ki’s first LP, after CD-Rs on Chocolate Monk (Ki No Sei, 2009) and Unverified (Stops Dropping, 2010). Documenting two live performances from 2008, it’s a startling, wild freedom chase, each piece stretching languorously across one side of the vinyl, giving the trio maximum space to thunder their way through space and time. Their West Nile 2008 show, on side one, opens with a battery of drums, fierce and livid, before Shiraishi’s unmistakable and remarkable whinnying, high-zone tone slithers into earshot. The stage is set, the battle moves forward, yet there’s remarkable simpatico between the three players, with Mico and Welch volleying guttural vocal exhortations at each other. When it does offer respite – see the sudden swoop into near-silence at around 12:30– everything’s still tense; who knows what’s around the corner?

For all its fury, though, Tearful Face Of My Cute Love… is full of oddly lyrical moments, too – see the sweet melody that winds out, with gentle melancholy, near the very end of the West Nile performance. This lyricism also haunts the second side of the album, a performance from Glassland, Brooklyn, which seems more focused on the intersection of incidents, from clattering cymbals to ghostly swarms of sax scream, to dive-bombing spirals of vocoder. There’s an appealing sense of audio verité here, as though you’re in the room with the performers, shaken and stirred by every movement, lost in the interlocking maze they’re weaving in real time. It’s a bracing, thrilling document of very immediate, human music – of three bodies moving through the world, sounding their environment. 

24€

Mura LP 2008-2021

Available on April 29th

Mura LP “2008-2021” An’archives

LP 12” ltd to 385, silkscreened white or chipboard jacket with obi (Black,vanilla or grapesicle), inserts and a postcard – Liner notes by Jon Dale

Please note : all vinyls have a click and pop on B side

Mura were a previously little-known group from Japan, formed by friends Kota Inukai (vocals, guitar), Masaki Endo (bass) and Sho Shibata (drums) in the late noughties. Performing mostly in small events in Sapporo, they were outsiders, and felt a kinship with few other groups, though Inukai mentions rock group Green Apple Quick Step, and hardcore band Ababazure as fellow travellers. This isolation surely feeds into the uniqueness of Mura’s music – they sound little like much that we know of the taggable Japanese underground of their times, and the music they recorded for this, their debut album, spanning a decade, is gloriously all over the shop, from delirious punk wig-outs to strange pop miniatures.

The group formed young – Inukai was only fourteen when they started, and Mura were his first ever band. When pressed on what they were listening to while making their music, Inukai recalls that he “used to listen to the works of Haruomi Hosono a lot”, and you can hear traces of this, perhaps, in the breadth of the sound Mura explores, from the lovely, country-esque shuffle of “In The Talk”, through the garage-y plunk of “Rest” and the reflective, melancholy “Younger Brother”. They were also big fans of video game music – “even orchestral covers of video games”, Inukai smiles – and that’s in there, too, in the split-second responsiveness of the playing, the way they flick through ideas and genres almost impatiently, taking minutes to cover terrain that other groups might spend albums and years exploring. But the songs were also grounded in Japan’s history, with many of the songs inspired by “old Hokkaidō,” Inukai recalls, “from the Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa periods.” With Inukai coming up with the melodies, and Shibata fleshing out arrangements, all three members then contributed lyrics. You can hear that collective effort in the way the music moves, every player listening carefully to each other, the songs moving gracefully, but not without verve and vim. It’s a delightful album, full of pop songs that take unexpected turns, with glinting melodies sung out, here sweetly, there with gruff candour, guitars tangling together like an unholy union of Tom Verlaine and Jad Fair, every song charged with a new, unpredictable spirit.

OUT OF PRINT

Akiko Hotaka – Takuya Nishimura – Ikuro Takahashi LP

Akiko Hotaka – Takuya Nishimura – Ikuro Takahashi LP Live – An’archives

LP ltd to 285, silkscreened chipboard jacket with obi (tan or ivory), inserts and postcard

Liner notes by Michel Henritzi


Release date : 26 November 2021

An’archives are proud to present a reissue of the self-titled first album by the trio of Akiko Hotaka, Takuya Nishimura and Ikuro Takahashi. Originally released in 2020 as a limited CD-R on the Uramado label, those who had the chance to hear this collection of live recordings, documenting a brief window of exploratory activity for Hotaka during the mid-2010s, were knocked out by its elemental force, Hotaka’s minimal, carefully sculpted pop songs spirited away to other planes of where by Nishimura and Takahashi’s improvisatory tactics, with Hotaka’s guitar now tender, now furiously overloaded.
Hotaka first came to attention as a member of Tori Kudo’s Maher Shalal Hash Baz. She’s been playing and recording her own songs for almost two decades now, though, releasing a string of CD-Rs across the 2000s that documented live performances at Enban, some with Masanori Hattori and Yuki Yoshida; this trio subsequently released several lovely folk-like albums on F.M.N. Sound Factory. More recently, Hotaka has formed a new trio, Hotarutachi, with Shohei Matsuo and Kenji Yoshikawa (their debut album, Hikari, was released by Hayabusa Landings in 2018). Playing with Nishimura and Takahashi, though, freed Hotaka’s playing immensely. There was always something expansive about her approach to the song, but this freedom was implicit in earlier music; on this album, which draws from performances undertaken across 2015 and 2016 at Hikari No Uma, Okubo, Hotaka wrings great intensities from the simplest of two-chord levitations, allowing her melodies to follow lines of deeply personal logic. There are still skeletal pop songs here, but with Nishimura and Takahashi as Hotaka’s backing group, there’s something very open about the music; it’s wild yet courteous, gallant yet refined. Throughout, both Nishimura and Takahashi draw on the double-language they’ve developed over the years, through performing in groups who are dedicated to the wide open spaces between song form and freedom – Nishimura has played with Ché-SHIZU, Miminokoto and Suishou No Fune, among others; Takahashi’s history is deeper still, with time spent with Ché-SHIZU, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, LSD March, Kousokuya, Nagisa Ni Te, High Rise, and Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha and Aihiyo, and on. They are ideal foils for the slow breathing, simply structured songs that Hotaka writes, sourcing great depth of feeling from the most fundamental of gestures.

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Sweet Inspirations [ Tori Kudo ] LP

Sweet Inspirations [ Tori Kudo ] LP + CDEP Sweet Inspirations at Muon – An’archives

ltd to 385, silkscreened chipboard jacket with obi (orange or yellow), inserts and postcard –

Liner notes by Jon Dale

Release date : Nov. 26th

With the release of Sweet Inspirations At Muon, the first appearance on vinyl of Tori Kudo’s mythical early ‘80s primitive rock gang Sweet Inspirations, another piece of the seemingly endless puzzle of the Japanese underground has fallen into place. Recorded some time in 1982 at Yokohama venue Muon – precise details are sketchy – we’re now given another chance to discover what was going on in Kudo’s mind just before he formed the group he is now best known for, the ragtag gang of pro and amateur musicians that was Maher Shalal Hash Baz.
Sweet Inspirations were one of several groups formed by Kudo around this time. He’d already released the visionary naïve-art album, Tenno, in collaboration with Reiko Omura, in 1980, and a trip to New York the following year led to the recording of Atlantic City, under the name La Consumption 4. Returning to Japan, Kudo first formed Guys’N’Dolls with Jun Yoshiwara (bass) and Kiyoaki Iwamoto (drums); Yoshiwara carried over into Sweet Inspirations, who existed for a few years, their membership, at various times, featuring Asahito Nanjo (High Rise etc.), Jutok Kaneko (Kousokuya), Yoshio Kuge (Les Rallizes Denudes etc.), 3C123 and many more.
The material here was originally released, without permission, by the Cragale label on CD-R in 2000. It was one of a sudden wave of archival CD-Rs that Cragale pumped out that year of material recorded at Muon, which was owned by Kohei Iehara, who co-founded Cragale with Tamotsu Hongo. In the context of the recent unleashing of material from the Kudo archives – the 9CD At Goodman set, the reissue of the first two Maher Shalal Hash Baz cassettes and the Noise LP, and the tantalising glimpses of other historical gems via Tori’s own Bandcamp page – hearing Sweet Inspirations with such clarity fills in a significant piece of the puzzle; here is Kudo, just before Maher, channelling the rough conceptualism of Red Krayola and the glinting, staggered rhythms of Syd Barrett into extended blooms of ragged glory, sketching out future classics like “Manson Girls”; A bonus CD includes a cover of a song by legendary South Korean rock group San Ul Lim.

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LSD March & Albedo Gravitas

LSD March LP The Night – An’archives

LP ltd to 400, silkscreened jacket with obi (light blue, tan-ivory), inserts and postcard
Liner notes by Michel Henritzi

Shinsuke Michishita : vocal & guitar

Ikuro Takahashi : drums

Richard Horner : recording engineer
2008.02.25

LSD March is a band from Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, whose members revolved around Shinsuke Michishita, guitarist/singer, the band’s black star, before being reborn nowadays, after several years of hiatus, as a duet with Ikuro Takahashi, legendary drummer who was the heart muscle of Fushitsusha, and of most of the underground Tokyo bands.
Shinsuke Michishita has a taste for immersion, for plunging into the electric waves of gaping amplifiers, psychedelic surfer haunted by this sonic ocean and its crushing shore breaks, where the self dissolves, becomes one with the sound, where the self escapes to his dreams and nightmares.
This album recorded in 2008 is caught in a crazy time spiral, as in a dream where one desperetaely runs without moving, with the ground slipping away under our feet. The clock turns celibate, Ikuro Takahashi fractures the rhythm, hammers it further like an impossible point to reach.
Sometimes, the guitar follows or precedes him, resets the clock, with its chords slammed on the ticking, a ceremony of fleeing time. And the voice weeps like rain, or a prayer.
LSD March has often been compared to the Rallizes Denudes, a sort of poisonous resurgence of them, with Shinsuke Michishista being seen as a revenant from those psychedelic dark times. The same dark Moire, spilling from a bog overflowing with distortion, the same nihilistic, maladjusted, collapsed lyricism, a similar sad voice singing from within the ruins of time. 

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Albedo Gravitas LP Eihwaz – An’archives

LP ltd to 285, silkscreened jacket with obi (red or black), inserts and postcard Free Wind Mood series

Liner notes by Jon Dale

Keiko Higuchi + Sachiko + Shizuo Uchida

Albedo Gravitas is an extension of Albedo Fantastica (released on An’archives in 2018), the duo of Keiko Higuchi and Sachiko (Kousokuya, Overhang Party, Vava Kitora).
Both of them are well known names to those who are evolving in the Japanese underground waters since each has been involved in many projects and each has a consisting discography on labels as Musik Atlach, Improvising Beings, Utech. Their respective backgrounds are maybe a little bit different but they share a common interest in different genres from jazz and rock to free improvisation and have collaborated with a cast of various musicians in the likes of Cris X, Fukuoka Rinji, Kawaguchi Masami, Shin-Ichiro Kanda…

For Albedo Gravitas, Shizuo Uchida joins on bass. A peripatetic member of the Japanese underground, having played with groups such as Nord, Onna-Kodomo, Hasegawa-Shizuo, Kito Mizukumi Rouber and Keiji Haino’s Nijiumu, he most recently turned up on An’archives as one half of UH, alongside sax player Takayuki Hashimoto (of KMR and .es).
While this is Albedo Gravitas’s first album, they play together with intelligence and sensitivity, but also with a strong capacity for the unexpected; there are many moments here where you’re wrong-footed, caught askance by the way the music comes together, and comes apart.
Higuchi’s and Sachiko’s instrumental armory is multiple : piano, drums, melodica, electronics. Maybe their most remarkable presence, though, comes through voice – the glottal contortions, heart-rending sighs and moans, and chopped’n’screwed real-time vox improvs that soar across the album’s unpredictable musical terrain. Uchida works here with temporal disruption, there with heavyweight bass punctuation; drums plot out the most welcome rudimentary anti-rhythms, as electronics and melodica shoot arcs of white light through the air, lending an avant-chamber charm to the music here.
Most startling are the dynamics of the two side-long pieces, and the way the group use silence and stilted landscapes to suggest all kinds of routes previously unnavigated. In its capacity for disorientation, it feels indeed like a surprising kind of psychedelia, one far from generic constraint, and much closer to the sidereal suspension that that most overused of terms should rend through your head. 

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Shūko No Omit LP

Shūko No Omit LP 秘密の回顧録 | Himitsu no Kaikoroku

LP comes in a 3 panel silkcreened jacket with obi (yellow, tan, green) with inserts and a postcard

Liner notes by Patrick O’Brien

Shūko No Omit is a trio of Yonju Miyaoka on guitars and vocals, Yuya Oishi on drums, and Taiju Sugimori on bass: a classic framework for a rock band, and yet…
Led by Yonju Miyaoka, a young prolific musician from Osaka who lives with schizophrenia, Shūko No Omit could have found a home in the P.S.F. records catalogue curated by the late Hideo Ikeezumi, sitting alongside Go Hirano, Tori Kudo, Chie Mukai / Ché Shizu, and Kousokuya. Yonju Miyaoka’s music seems haunted by the psychedelic rock of the late seventies, by its electric, solitary ghost minstrels, perhaps also inhabited by the impulsive riffs of no-wave. His voice can sound slightly out of tune to the western ear, on the edge, and maybe this is what makes it so terribly moving. His guitar seems to be soaked in the same acid as poured out by the amplifiers of Keiji Haino or Takashi Mizutani, a mercurial grain, a wild and inhabited psychedelia. The compositions crawl towards their ends in a reptilian, winding way, in a mud of saturation and distortion, almost overlaying like tracing paper sheets, in a disordered manner. These six tracks evoke inner collapse, loss, expectations and oblivion. Like his elders, Miyaoka shows a nonchalant, almost dilettantish way of building songs, preferring a chipped body, the trace of a conundrum disorder, to schoolboy academic perfection. This album is a long improvisation with a punctured, dismembered body, thrown in here like a bucket full of viscera, and reassembled in an alternate fashion. Miyaoka lies there, naked.

Release date : July 12th

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Shizuka LP

Shizuka – 静香 LP 妄想の楽園 | Paradise of Delusion

Old style / tip-on offset & partially silkscreened jacket with obi

Regular edition : 300 – black vinyl,  duotone insert + offset insert + postcard set

Limited & numbered edition : 75 (exclusive to only the label) regular edition +  silkscreened 4 panels portfolio /wraparound with royal blue obi

Liner notes by Jon Dale

Release & shipping date : June 28th

Shizuka first came to wider attention at roughly the same time as their peers in the Japanese underground – in the nineties, really, when people started to get wise to the surprisingly wide-ranging post-psychedelic sounds emanating from the PSF label, predominantly, and a few other, similar creative cells. During that window of opportunity, Shizuka only released a few albums on P.S.F records, Persona Non Grata & Last Visible Dog. It’s not that much to go by, which is why An’archives’ Paradise Of Delusion (recorded live in 2001) is a most welcome, not to mention much-needed, posthumous collection. For the first time ever, Shizuka is now released on vinyl.

Even by the standards of their closest peers, aesthetically speaking –Fushitsusha (with whom they shared two members, Maki Miura and Jun Kosugi), Kousokuya, Ché-SHIZU – Shizuka were a mysterious, occluded bunch. Led by the late Shizuka herself, a guitarist, vocalist, song writer, and doll maker, with her husband Miura, a devastatingly powerful guitar slinger, their songs were potent, seductive things: often playing out at a snail’s pace, with the same kind of flickering, sensual ‘black-and-white psychedelia’ as the third Velvet Underground album, or a more languid Les Rallizes Denudes. Shizuka’s songs always felt far more certain of themselves, far steelier in their resolve, than their face-value fragility might suggest. Perhaps it’s the seeming ponderousness of the way they go about performing their songs – Shizuka’s slow iterations of simple chord changes, her psalmic vocal melodies over the top, suggesting a world-weariness, a kind of existential exhaustion, that’s often torn asunder by a soaring surge of roaring guitar from Maki Miura.

It’s no surprise to be reminded that, alongside her music making, Shizuka was a well-known doll maker in Japan, mentored by the legendary doll artist Katan Amano. Whatever is happening here is relentlessly private, psychologically introverted in many ways, but opened out to the possibilities of both great beauty and great despair – the two states that the music of Shizuka best captures.

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Ltd Edition of 75

Kawaguchi Masami & Usurabi

Kawaguchi Masami LP “Self Portrait” An’archives

Edition of 285, comes in a silk-screened tip-on / “old style” jacket with obi (red or black), inserts and a postcard
Liner notes by Jon Dale

It’s been almost three decades since Japanese guitarist and songwriter Masami Kawaguchi first broke cover, with his group Broomdusters and their debut album, 23 hours 30 minutes (Purifiva, 1997). In the intervening years, Kawaguchi has maintained single-minded discipline, through his membership of some of the Japanese underground’s greatest groups (Miminokoto, LSD March, Los Doroncos, Usurabi, and his projects with Keiji Haino: Aihiyo and The Hardy Rocks); the exhilarating music made by his own band, New Rock Syndicate; and a small clutch of intimate (mostly live) solo recordings.

But nothing in his history has been quite as distinctive, nor as singular, as Self Portrait. The title’s a strong clue, of course, but the real tell is in the consummate nature of the eight songs here – this is Kawaguchi articulating most clearly his vision of what rock music could and should be, and what it means to him. His second studio solo album, it’s both dedication and hymn to the music that keeps Kawaguchi moving. Deftly crafted and sweetly intimate, Self Portrait is bursting with great songs, shufting from gorgeous acoustic folk-blues melancholy – see “Visions Of Marianne”, and the dreamlike closer, “On The Rooftop”, which Kawaguchi describes as his answer song to the Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By” – to storming rock monsters.

To that end, it’s a goddamn thrill to hear Kawaguchi and friends jamming on a James Brown riff through “Awake”, squeezing all the nuance out of its stop-start, staccato rhythms. Elsewhere, Kawaguchi lazily strums a psychedelic air, on the Syd Barrett-esque “Blindfold Blues”, and rifles through his backpack to find one of his earliest songs, the strung-out, levitating “Nothing”, which he wrote when he was nineteen years old. “Song For Golden Hair” pays tribute to the psychedelic sixties; “Drinking With Mr. K” remembers Japanese psych-rock legend Jutok Kaneko of Kousokuya.

Kawaguchi’s been playing the long game, slowly whittling away at a unique and personal take on rock and the blues, one that’s equal parts reverent and forward-thinking, playful and deeply committed. Self Portrait is the clearest articulation yet of his dedicated vision. And it’s a total blast.

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Usurabi LP “Remains of the Light” An’archives

Edition of 285, comes in a silk-screened (2 colors with metallic ink) 3 panels foldout jacket with obi (red or black), inserts and a postcard

Liner notes by Michel Henritzi

Remains Of The Light, the debut album by Japanese trio Usurabi, is a gorgeous thing – six generous, deftly melodic songs that stretch out slowly, breathing deeply, yet never outstaying their welcome. The members of Usurabi started playing together in 2017, but they’d known each other for several decades, meeting via their involvement in a music club at university. Led by songwriter, singer and guitarist, Toshimitsu Akiko, previously of psych-pop duos Doodles and Aminome, the trio is completed by Kawaguchi Masami (New Rock Syndicate, Hardy Rocks, Miminokoto) on bass and guitar, and Morohashi Shigeki (Majutsu no Niwa, Uchu Engine, peaflan, Alraune) on drums.

Kawaguchi and Morohashi had already played together in the legendary Broomdusters, a group they formed when they were both university students. Toshimitsu, long a fan of Broomdusters, formed Usurabi to explore what she describes as “rock music that features vocal mainly and floating sound like waves.” It’s a clear, simple and apt description of what they do. Toshimitsu’s songs are graceful, each having a dynamic arc to their construction, while allowing for all kinds of subtle inflection from her guitar, sometimes tussling with Kawaguchi’s flinty, overloaded blues; Toshimitsu drives the songs with subtletly and wit, sculpting waves of energy from his kit.

Throughout, Toshimitsu’s songs hint at questions, complexities, metaphors: allusions and illusions. Songs like “Brunnera” and the closing “Constellation” are adrift, beamed out on rays of light, the trio’s empathic playing harnessing a subtle kind of psychedelia. “Constellation” explores Toshimitsu’s thought, “Am I allowed to turn the feeling I can nothing to do into a constellation, like ancestors did?” The lovely, shaded pop of “Autumn Rain” translates a Toshimitsu solo arrangement into a stripped-back, delightful slice of happy-sad nostalgia; “The rain is always sweet to me,” Toshimitsu says of the song.

Ask the trio what other music informs Usurabi, and they share names, some expected, some surprising: Kaneko Jutok, Les Rallizes Denudes, The Doors (“The first real rock experience to me,” Toshimitsu recalls), Captain Beefheart, The Rolling Stones. You can hear elements of all of this music in their songs, but mostly it’s more a hint, or a tint, than an obvious acknowledgment; the playing certainly shares the hopeful freedom of Kaneko, and the stridency and sensitivity of the Stones at their best. It also recalls the independent music of groups like The Pastels; like that outfit, Usurabi have absolute integrity in their sound. It’s quietly ambitious, and quite beautiful.

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Masayoshi Urabe 3LP Box

Masayoshi Urabe 3 LP box “Mobili In Mobili”

Edition of 285, silk-screened wooden slipcase with 3 silkscreened panels (black & gold) + inserts and a 6 postcards set

Handmade slipcases and printing job by Alan Sherry

Liner notes by Michel Henritzi

An’archives présente trois documents, trois vinyles scarifiés par les illuminations de Masayoshi Urabe, six performances gravées là comme des épitaphes sur la pierre qui recouvre le vivant. Enregistrements faits dans de petites salles banlieusardes au Japon où il a pour habitude de jouer devant un maigre public, le Bitches Brew à Yokohama, le Groove à Okinawa et Gari Gari à Tokyo.

Urabe a croisé dans les couloirs du label culte PSF : Kan Mikami, Chie Mukaï, Rinji Fukuoka, Hiroshi Hasegawa, avec qui il a joué, parfois enregistré des albums d’une insondable beauté. Mais c’est en solo qu’il est le plus troublant, lumineux et sombre, violent et poignant.

Pas d’autres frères que Kaoru Abe et Albert Ayler, un même tragique, une même corde jalouse pour se balancer dans le son, renverser le ciel sous nos pieds. Urabe s’accouple à son alto, le violente, snuff jazz appelant les anges déchus à venir nous hanter. La mort, comme son éros, hante l’œuvre de Masayoshi Urabe, se dévoile à travers ses sons cuivrés. Il suit le son, l’aspire et le crache, sac d’air retourné jusqu’à l’épuisement, violent, jouant ou dansant, voulant que les premiers rangs cèdent à son érotisme trouble. Urabe  est un magnifique mélodiste, même s’il finit par tout saccager, ne rien laisser d’autre qu’un corps musical mutilé. Notes étranglées, aucune mélodie, juste du souffle, de l’air craché, un chant d’amour.

Michel Henritzi

These are recordings made in small suburban venues in Japan where Urabe would play in front of a meagre audience: the Bitches Brew in Yokohama, the Groove in Okinawa and the Gari Gari in Tokyo.

In the corridors of cult label P.S.F. Records, Urabe came across the likes of Kan Mikami, Chie Mukai, Rinji Fukuoka, Hiroshi Hasegawa, with whom he played, and sometimes recorded albums of unfathomable beauty. But he is most disturbing, luminous and dark, violent and poignant, during his solo sets. Hideo Ikeezumi (the cultural ambassador behind P.S.F.) supported him more than others and tried to offer him all the space he could hope for.

His only kindred spirits are Kaoru Abe and Albert Ayler, with whom he shares a sense of tragedy, the same jealous string to swing into the sound, to turn the heavens over to our feet. Urabe mates with his alto sax, assaults it, snuff jazz calling fallen angels to come and haunt us.

Death, like Eros, haunts Masayoshi Urabe’s body of work, and unravels through copper sounds. He follows the sound, inhales it, spits it like an air bag turned inside out until exhaustion, violent, playing and dancing, willing the front rows to give in to his murky eroticism.

Urabe is a magnificent musician, even though he ends up trashing everything, leaving only a mutilated musical body behind. Strangled notes, no melody, just breath, spat air, un chant d’amour.

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