The Vanity Box vol 2 present another beautiful boxet with releases by legendary Japanese DIY label Vanity, active in the late 70s and early 80s. It was conceived by Studio Warp, in collaboration with Agi Yuzuru and the whole roster of artists involved with Vanity.
CD-1 Dada - Jyo
(Vanity 0001, originally released in 1978)
Dada is an electronics and guitar duo formed in 1977 by Kenji Konishi of Kigadoumei (when Terutsugu Hirayama was a member) and guitarist Mutsuhiko Izumi of Karisma (when Kozo Suganuma was a member). Previously, they were both active in the Kansai hard rock / progressive rock scene from the mid 70s. While their original pieces are constructed in a more colourful and meticulous manner, for this project, Vanity label head Agi requested them to record an album that placed an emphasis on a more lyrical and peaceful demeanor, backed with a touch of improvisation. The artwork is an extraction of a scene from a scroll painting called Gakisoshi, a Heian era narrative story depicting the salvation of a Preta. This album is dedicated to Brian Eno who, at the time, was starting to advocate his concept of ambient music. Later on, Dada made their major debut release with King Records / Nexus in 1981. After the duo split, Konishi went on to form 4-D and also became a member of P-Model from 1994 to 2000. After being a member of the jazz rock band Kennedy, Izumi started working for the video game company Konami. He remains active as a game music producer, notably doing the tracks for video game, Guitadora.
CD-2 Aunt Sally - Aunt Sally
(Vanity 0003, originally released in 1979)
Along with INU, Ultra Bide, SS, Aunt Sally is a legendary group that represented the Kansai punk scene in this era. They were formed in June, 1978 and disbanded in October 1979. Featuring Phew’s literary lyrics and enchanting vocals intertwining with roughly cut but accurate playing, they projected an utterly inventive existence. This is a masterpiece that miraculously captures the splendor of a teenage band that were only active for a year. The front cover photo was taken by famed Japanese photographer, Masatoshi Sukita famous for taking iconic photos of Marc Bolan, David Bowie, YMO, etc. At the time, he was in charge of taking photos of front covers images of Rock Magazine as well.
CD-3 Agata Morio - Norimonozukan
(Vanity 0005, originally released in 1980)
After he had debuted as a folk singer with a smash hit single called "Akairo Elergy" in 1972, Norimonozukan (Encyclopedia of Automobiles) came as a landmark album for Agata, with a techno-pop that bridged into his following music endeavors as the lead singer of the group, Virgin VS. Sab, Yukio Fujimoto (Normal Brain), Phew, Masahiro Kitada (INU), Jun Shinoda (SS, Continental Kids), Daiki Tomiie (Ultra Bide, Ainsof), Chie Mukai (East Bionic Symphony, Che-Shitzu), Takashi Yasuda (Kigadoumei) are among the artists who contributed to this album. Consisting of a rough recording made in just two days, it captures the encounter between Agata’s singing and the post punk / techno pop sound - the retro-futuristic tin-toy-dream-world envisioned by a 20th century boy. "Koi No Radio City" and "Submarine" are respectively Telex and Joy Division inspired tracks with different arrangements. "Airplane" is a collage track for which Agata looped the voice of Taruho Inagaki, a writer that he respects dearly.
CD-4 Normal Brain - Lady Maid
(Vanity 0009, originally released in 1980)
Normal Brain is a group formed by Yukio Fujimoto who, from a young age, started playing around with tape recorders, cameras and film projectors, and then went on to study electronic music at the Industrial Music Department of Osaka University of Arts. By connecting analog synthesizers, rhythm machines, Speak & Spell study toys, and English language learning tapes, and using each instruments’ intuitive simplicity and quality, he conceived witty and intellectual music. The album title is a typical Marcel Duchamp inspired pun by Fujimoto. In the mid 80s, Fujimoto gave up making traditional electronic music and, as an contemporary artist, started producing various sound objects and installations that evoke auditory, visual, olfactory and tactile perception hidden in daily life. In 2001 and 2007, he exhibited his works at the Venice Biennale. He has also held simultaneous solo exhibitions at The National Museum of Art in Osaka, Omani Memorial Art Museum in Nishinomiya City, and The Museum of Modern Art in Wakayama, received high acclaim both domestically and abroad.
CD-5 R.N.A. Organism - unaffected Mixes (previously unreleased)
unreleased before album by the lelegndary R.N.A. Organism, a 3 piece unit formed in 1978 and featuring 0123, Chance and Tetsu who played around with home recordings as well as studio live recordings. Tetsu left in 1979 and was replaced by Zero. These recordings showcase super-cheap, alt-dub created with a range of instruments and gadgets such as a rhythm box, guitar, synths and voice. Their live performances were unique, in the sense that they would perform "live" in the studio and then send a cassette recording of the resulting sound to the venue. R.N.A. Organism is also included in the compilation "Awa" (1981) and TACO’s first album, “Taco" (1983).