2019 small repress. A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1982 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive. A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely. Reissued for the first time outside of Japan, with new liner notes from French author Patrice Bollon, translated original liner notes and ‘studio banter’ from Yasuaki Shimizu. Remastered at Dubplates & Mastering."Not often do I discover a record that I then put on repeat four times through after the first listen. 1982’s Kakashi, by experimental saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu, is one of those albums. Opening track ‘Suiren’ is a funky no-wave inspired pop song, decorated with infectious lead sax and vocals that are so upbeat if it doesn’t make you smile I can only assume you’re a Death Eater. While on the other end of the record, album-closer ‘Utsukushiki Tennen’ recalls dubby Ethiopian jazz with cryptic Middle Eastern vocals - ending this eclectic record on a high. The sheer diversity of this record is what makes it so bloody great. We’re taken from dub inspired jazz and electronic percussion to minimalist experimental instrumentals with ominous organs and delicate piano. The manner in which Yasuaki plays sax throughout is both refreshing and strange, often using his instrument percussively and in combination with the synth lines. Trippy breaks and electronic beats make the whole thing sound like it could have been written and released today. This is an album that challenges the listener without putting them off by being too out there. Plug in and listen (more than once) to this hidden Japanese gem." (lonelytable.net)