Shizuka 10″ Lunatic Pearl

Shizuka 10″ LP 狂気の真珠 [ Lunatic Pearl] – An’archives

Catalogue number [An’32]

November 25th

Regular edition comes in a silkscreened jacket with obi (dark blue & dark red), insert and a postcard. Edition of 550

Sub-edition of 150 exclusive to the label Silkscreened jacket, with black obi , insert and a postcard – subtle split fountain print making each cover slightly different alike a cyanotype…

exclusive 21 x 21 cm insert

Screenprinted by Alan Sherry

Following the long-awaited Paradise Of Delusion LP from 2021, An’archives announces Lunatic Pearl, a 10” EP by Japanese psych-pop legends Shizuka. As with the material on ParadiseLunatic Pearl draws from the deep well of music the quartet recorded in 2001, this time from two studio sessions. Here, though, the group’s classic line-up of Shizuka, Maki Miura, Jun Kosugi and Seven is augmented – on the a-side, they’re joined by Yasushi Nagata on guitar; flip the record, and Kazuhide Yamaji chimes in on acoustic guitar and bass.

Both Nagata and Yamaji were members of long-running Tokyo psych-out gang Dip (also known as dip the flag); Yamaji eventually joined Shizuka for a time, appearing with them on the 2010 DVD, Owari No Nai Yume, released by PSF. Part of Lunatic Pearl finds Shizuka in Paisley Underground mode, the spaced-out acoustic mantras of “Shiroi Inochi” and the instrumental “The Street The Fairy Goes” surprisingly reminiscent of the smeared, slow-motion psychedelics of Opal’s early EPs. The latter, a weightless blur, hovers in the air on dreamy drifts of DX-7, drifting melodies landing on the track like an astral traveller, lost and delirious.

“Lunatic Pearl” itself is a monster, one of Shizuka’s most rock-reverent moments, its bold riff soaring over a rhythm section that thuds menacingly, as though they’re the kings of the rumbling spires. “Signs”, another track from the Studio EUN session, features some gloriously unhinged playing from Miura, as though he’s tearing the song’s seams apart, as the group push Shizuka’s simple, perfect song into the stratosphere.

Regular edition 20€

Special “blue” edition, ltd to 150, 28€

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Shizuka CD Paradise of Delusion

Shizuka CD 妄想の楽園 | Paradise of Delusion

Offset 7 ” jacket with screened obi (dark blue or dark red)

Edition of 500

Release & shipping date : Nov 25th

Paradise Of Delusion, the first vinyl release of the music of Japan’s legendary psych-pop group Shizuka, originally appeared in June 2021. Long-awaited, the LP sold out almost immediately, and already changes hands for three-figure amounts. An’archives is pleased to announce a CD edition of Paradise Of Delusion, making this music accessible again to a wider audience. Drawn from a 2001 performance at Binspark, Nishi Ogikubo, Paradise Of Delusion is gorgeous and otherworldly.

Shizuka first came to wider attention at roughly the same time as their peers in the Japanese underground – during the early nineties, when people started to get wise to the surprisingly wide-ranging post-psychedelic sounds from the PSF label. But even by the standards of their closest peers, aesthetically speaking –Fushitsusha (with whom they shared two members, Maki Miura and Jun Kosugi), Kousokuya, Chè-SHIZU – Shizuka were mysterious.

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 and seductive. Shizuka’s slow iterations of simple chord changes, with her psalmic vocal melodies over the top, suggest an existential exhaustion, often torn asunder by a soaring surge of guitar from Miura. Think the happy-sad mood of the Velvets’ third album, or a more languid Les Rallizes Denudes. Whatever is happening here is relentlessly private, psychologically introverted in many ways, but opened out to the possibilities of both beauty and despair – two states that the music of Shizuka best captures.

14€

Mai Mao LP

Release date : Sept 16

Mai Mao LP Ricshari

Silkscreened jacket & obi (textured tan or black) by Alan Sherry, inserts and a postcard –

liner notes by Jon Dale, ltd to 285

An’archives are thrilled to announce the release of Ricshari, the first LP from Japanese free improvising duo MAI MAO. Consisting of Shizuo Uchida of Hasegawa-Shizuo, Albedo Gravitas, archeus, Kito Muzukumi Rouber, TERROR SHIT, UH, etc. on bass, and Kyosuke Terada, of HUH (who have their own release due on An’archives soon), TERROR SHIT, Bay City Rolaz, Praymate, The Obey Unit, etc. on guitar, they’ve previously released two wild cassettes, Curvature Improvement Plan (Haang niap, 2020) and Folk Dope Rally (2021), both documenting one-take improvisations from live gigs. Ricshari was recorded by Nobuki Nishiyama in January 2021, and is proof, if any was needed, that this duo is one of the most fiercely unique, out-there units currently extant – in Japan, or anywhere, for that matter.

The music of MAI MAO seems to proceed by opposites and juxtaposition, shifting from frantic, hectic runs of splattering note spray to moments of granular stasis, where Uchida and Terada coax their instruments into and out of deep wells of silence, or rest, temporarily, in a lagoon of fermenting fuzz. Spiralling kinetics are largely the order of the day, though – the opener, “Chew a flying flash prayer”, skitters here and there, guitar and bass jumping over one another in games of leapfrog and Twister, finding new ways to perplex and puzzle the listener, and perhaps each other in the process, Uchida and Terada fully committed to the short-circuiting spirit of the moment.

The energy here is hyperactive, but it also speaks of a curious and committed attention to improvisatory responsiveness, one that’s just as likely to fork off into different directions in a split second – it’s real edge-of-the-seat stuff, as though the hands are moving too fast for the mind to follow. That’s all the better, then, to let the gush of genuinely free-thinking, devoted duo improvisation to fly at its most playful and intelligent. File next to the likes of Davey Williams & LaDonna Smith and their TransMuseq companions, or the wickedly perplexing bass-synth/trombone duets of Dave Dove Paul Duo, and you’ve some idea of what’s going on here, provisionally at least, ‘cos this one’s an enthralling, yet welcoming, head-scratcher of the highest calibre.

24€

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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