Deluxe book, 650+ pages, weighs over 2kg, Japanese & English. A masterpiece of a subculture photo book that contains the underground rock scenes that supported Tokyo Undergrounds figures and bands. It is a very rare and rare collection of works that are difficult to obtain, but this is a long-awaited complete reprint with many new unpublished works added. Bending circuits and distorting electronic feedback to the loudest extremes, ‘noise’ has been the unique Japanese voice of punk. The photographs of Gin Satoh compiled in Underground GIG Tokyo 1978-1987 reveals the faces of the musicians, artists, and other eccentrics who gathered in the darkness during a legendary moment in subculture. Modifying commercial technology of the late 1970s into sonic weapons, the techniques of ‘Japanoise’—as named by Western admirers—projected attitude through screeching amplified sound as a new chaotic breed of music. As well as a refuge from heteronormative pop culture, it was a necessarily visceral response to the technological change happening at the time. Born in Sendai and currently based in Tokyo, Gin Satoh is at the core of a vortex of eccentric personalities associated with Japanese experimental culture. As well as providing ‘action portraits’ of Iggy Pop, he is credited for the artwork of Keiji Haino’s cryptic debut in Watashi Dake.
In black and white, full of big hair, dark makeup, and sweat, the photographs produce rare visual documentation of a rough world contrasting with any sleek fantasy one may have of 1980s Japan. As well as snapping cult-favourite bands like Les Rallizes Denudes and Friction, Gin Satoh photographed live music at its most extreme. Here, musicians seriously tested their limits in defying norms—Gin Satoh’s photographs include the famous episode where a member of Hanatarash (known today as prominent Boredoms member Yamataka EYE) destroyed an entire venue by driving a bulldozer right through it.