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Den'en Ni Shisu


Format: CD digipack deluxe

Genre: Experimental

Out of stock

Deluxe first reissue of this 1974 J.A. Ceasar-performed theatrical underground classic. A nice example of the recent flood of late 1960's-early 1970's psych reissues from Japan that are in the more fluxus/theatrical vein. The period saw political upheaval and protesting amidst much of the country's students and youth; and while the underground movements weren't as widespread as say those in the USA, the pockets of artistic institutions that responded to political causes (like the decimation of natural resources to make way for Tokyo's airport, for example), responded in musical and theatrical activities that drew on their own tradition as much as those from the West. Rock and roll in Japan started to morph into some very weird pools of gunk, as documented by bands like the Lost Araaf (with Keiji Haino), and Les Rallizes Denudes, who took their cues from the free elements of the Western underground (Velvets, Doors, Albert Ayler). The Tokyo Kid Brothers added very theatrical elements to their Faust-like approach to psychedelic rock, and this record too is a monster from 1974. Tenjo Sajiki was an extreme-theater kind of group formed by poet/activist/filmmaker Shuji Terayama, and this is the soundtrack to a film with them scored by psych greats JA Caesar. Gorgeous passages of booming voices singing Japanese traditional music, mixed with pounding passages of Magma-ish complexity and fuzzed out guitar excursions. Really varied, beautiful stuff.

"The deployment of disparate elements in an all-consuming flow, which works even independently of the images, is masterly. The familiar psych guitar, organ and choral chanting are heavy enough in places -- as on the disc's definitive reading of Caesar's massive and haunting 'Wasan' -- to approach Sabbath levels of dense pounding, and there's also a frighteningly visceral vocal turn from folk singer Kan Mikami. But the score also sees Caesar expanding his instrumental palette, scoring some tracks for sideshow brass band or gently plucked guitar, weeping violin and chant. The weird intervals of his sparse, medieval-influenced melodies linger in the memory with the force of nostalgia for a past not directly experienced. It's an amazing performance: from street hippy who'd never picked up an instrument to film soundtrack composer in five years. Caesar's soundtrack for Den-en Ni Shisu lost out by a single vote to Toru Takemitsu for the best film soundtrack of 1974." -- Alan Cummings, The Wire.

Cat. number: SWAX-57
Year: 2002

Originally released in 1974. Soundtrack to the film "Den'en ni shisu".

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