Kamikaze, harakiri and music
What do we know about the Japanese? Well, except that they tend to make sake, to become suicide bombers and to arrange all living things harakiri? Most likely, all the above — nothing more than stereotypes and a misconception, BUT… if you know Japanese music, horror beginning to suspect that these stereotypes are not so different from the truth…
If music fans to scream “Japanese”, the echo almost invariably will respond – “noise”. This good in the Land of the rising sun is more than black metal in Scandinavia, and the number of individual releases, probably, can not be counted even on a quantum computer. At the time of writing, Merzbow has 442 releases, but by the time the article is released, it may well have released a couple more multi-volume box sets. Aube is noticeably behind: 188 names and, as you know, this number will not increase: Maestro Akifumi Nakajima left this world in 2013. Masonna – unless, of course, considered only the releases issued in the framework of this project and does not takes the number and ferocity: 88 releases in a cage, but there is a serious suspicion that the music lover listening to all these records, the audiologist will not help.
Speaking seriously, the Japanese noise music is extremely interesting and repulsive only at first glance. Yes, some releases – almost a solid wall of noise, which the listener frankly trying to stun and suppress, but there are other records, built on endless options for sound conversion, not related to the European (or any other) musical system. Moreover, as you know, Japanese noise makers often draw inspiration from seemingly infinitely distant musical fields: for example, the founder of Merzbow, as you know, a big fan of jazz – and the more interesting it is to catch echoes of this style in the noise collages of the musician. Yamazaki Maso, founder Masonna, in the framework of his main project gives concerts, sometimes lasting only a few seconds, tearing up the stage instruments and generally behaves as not every punk dreamed of. But he plays in a lot of other projects ranging from garage to psychedelic rock: not to say that is quite traditional and “harmless”, but, as a rule, very interesting. Even names – as you, for example, the project “Flying eggs”?
However, if you and this is not enough, you can advise and dish absolutely for gourmets: for example, the notorious group Gerogerigegege. About this kind of music said it best Kurehin: “only One Japanese “noise terror” worth. At least Gerogerigegege or Masonna. Not only do they scrape guitars with their little sticks so that the frost on the skin tears, they still manage to masturbate at the same time.” And do not expect: in the case of Gerogerigegege – in the truest sense of the word. Often their work is referred to noisecore, but in practice it is a sort of hybrid of japanoise and grindcore, and, as mentioned in the classics, “both halves were the worst.” In addition to causing even for Japan show, the band is known for colorful album titles: one of their most acclaimed releases, referred to as “Tokyo anal dynamite” and the other “Frustrated tools: disc 170 songs.” The name, by the way, does not lie, there are so many songs, with a total duration of 38 minutes and 42 seconds.
However, do not think that our Eastern friends are not capable of “normal” music: their national feature in another. Even when the Japanese take a seemingly established style, disassemble it for parts and try to assemble it again – it turns out something quite recognizable, but inexplicably Japanese. This is noticeable even in the usual, it would seem, rock: take, for example, The Street Beats. The most that neither is “textbook” rock: cool guys in cool leather cool play guitar cool songs – and all. Nevertheless, if you listen to their music, there is an elusive quality that distinguishes it from Western sources of inspiration. In fact, they do not rock, a “cosplay” of rock when all the elements, like, the same, but the essence of the elusive different. Listen to their trump “I Wanna Change”, and even better watch the first minutes of the legendary “Crows: the Beginning” Takashi Miike, which captures the concert of the group and is likely to understand what is at stake. Miike, by the way, in many ways, including as part of soundtracks, similar to the Japanese version of Tarantino and his films are an inexhaustible storehouse of good Japanese music. Especially since the Japanese scene, unfortunately, is not particularly focused on international popularity – it is almost impossible to find information about many performers that is not presented in hieroglyphs.
Miike, incidentally, was introduced to the West and a more intricate case: Tomokawa Kazuki (Kazuki Tomokawa), which in Japan is sometimes called the “screaming singer”, released the albums already since 1975. Among them there are all kinds of music – some resemble almost Soviet military medical Academy the same years, sometimes psychedelic rock and sometimes acid-folk, and there are just songs with a guitar, but a rare emotion. Some forgive, o Lord, their ottoptannye ears – compare him with Vysotsky. Tomokawa played himself in the movie “Izo”, where the singer from time to time appears on the way of the protagonist, performing his songs: and without these songs, the film would have lost some of his frenzied rage and shocking experience.
There is another Japanese style, without which the conversation about Japanese gloomy music would not be complete – and this is “ENKA”. Formally, it can be attributed to pop music: it’s just sad films about love, death and similar things – but the point is how it is sung, with what intonation and mood. Most amusing, that virtually any Western the viewer knows, that such ENKA and, with big likely, likes as least a couple songs: this “Shura no Hana” and “Urami Bushi” great Meiko Kaji – they sounded in movie “Kill bill.” Tarantino decided to thus pay tribute to the great actress and singer, whose work served as one of the sources of inspiration for the film. On the former sixth part of the land, however, the situation was even funnier: in the USSR were very popular sisters DZA Pinats, they are the Peanuts – a Duo consisting of two twin sisters. They sometimes rehash Western classics – up to the legendary “Epitaph”, and the song of King Crimson in their performance sounds pretty interesting – to vocal to complain about sin. Sometimes perepevali them – for example, the infamous hit “By the sea, the blue sea…” nee called “Koi no Vacation”. This Duo boasts another interesting contribution to world culture: remember the fairies from the film “Godzilla against Motra”, they still performed a song that has become no less recognizable than the terrible theme of the Goji? These fairies just played Amy and Yumi ito, The Peanuts. Very pleasant music, though much less gloomy than that of the same Meiko Kaji.
Not to mention IKE Reiko – another great Japanese actress who starred in Kinji Fukasaku, Norifumi Suzuki, Teruo Ishii and singing ENKA. The pictures in which she was shot, were much more Frank than the same Kaji, and in the songs themselves, sometimes, intertwined erotic sighs and similar sounds – but it is not necessary to concentrate on this. They have a beauty of its own pent-up tension in the outward serenity of singing… ENKA is a special world, it is to feel and to penetrate them, but will this likely not immediately…
It is clear that this is not all that can please the musical culture of Japan – in it at all what is not there: from any grindcore and satanic black to exquisite soundtracks Kawai Kenji. The melodies of the latter are so beautiful that there are opinions that only they are the only thing that the cult “Ghost in armor”is valuable. Yes, it’s quite a closed scene, the information is not always easy to find, but often it’s worth it…