** edition of 200, silkscreened cover** During the mid-1970s, a group of art students at the Bigakko school in Tokyo, working under Takehisa Kosugi, the renowned Fluxus composer, violinist, and member of Group Ongaku and The Taj-Mahal Travellers, came together as the free improvisation collective East Bionic Symphonia. They recorded a single album - their graduation project, released in 1976 under the title Recorded Live, before going their separate ways. While largely overlooked at the time, it now stands as one of the great artifacts of the Japanese sonic avant-garde, in part because of its remarkable sounds and influence, and in part because of the later significance of the voices within. The collective reformed during the 1980’s under the moniker Marginal Consort - playing and recording extensively, but until now, it has been widely accepted that Recorded Live was the only existing document of their early efforts. We are thrilled to announce a release of further recordings, made during the months following the creation of their long heralded LP.
The East Bionic Symphonia is a founding cornerstone of the Japanese movements of Noise and improvised music. The seed the ensemble helped plant, cut a path through the years to follow - its influence stretching across the globe. They were singular - seeming to effortlessly break every rule in the book, eradicating signifier and association, blending electronic and acoustic sound, in ways that few had. They demand little need for comparison or cross reference. Had its members done nothing since, their contribution to history would still be significant. Some - Hiroshi Shii, Kaoru Okabe, Masaharu Minegishi, Tatuo Hattori, and Tomonao Koshikawa, are little known beyond their work within the ensemble and Marginal Consort. Others went on to make deep and diverse contributions to the landscape of avant-garde and experimental sound. Chie Mukai and Masami Tada have both become legendary for their solo work, the guitarist Kazuo Imai is widely celebrated for his unparalleled approach as an improviser, as well as for his work with Barre Phillips, Arthur Doyle, Han Bennink, and countless others. Yasushi Ozawa is equally noted for his work as the bassist in Keiji Haino's Fushitsusha project.
The recordings which make up Recorded Live, where made on July 13, 1976. Those featured on this LP where made on September 25th and November 20th of the same year. Despite their close proximity, they display an already rapidly progressing group of improvisors, and an unexpected bridge between the work captured a few short months before, and that which would gain renown under Marginal Consort. Thrilling on every level - a revelatory, clattering and responsive, sea of sound - as percussive as it is arrhythmic, as atonal as resonant, equally intricate and expansive. While freestanding and incredible as Recorded Live, these recording further secure the ensemble's historical significance, encountering key figures within the Japanese underground, at a crucial formative moment - offering insights into why and how it was so singular. This is improvised music outside of genre and association - neither jazz, nor a product of indeterminacy - a new creative movement, founded in Japan, its sounds drifting out across the globe, laying influence as it went. A thrilling document of deep historical importance, and a must for any fan of Japanese noise, or improvised music at large.