Episode LVIII: Japanese Psychedelia [Guest Mix by Comrade Aaron]

by zabranowicz

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Comrade Aaron is a radical dude. Based on his last two mixes for Sonic Landscapes it’s clear that he thrives on a musical diet consisting of distorted experimentation constructed by pensive long-hairs and revolutionary leftists. His last mix explored the incredible sounds of Krautrock, which arose from the oppressive post-war divisions pervading West German culture. On this mix, Comrade Aaron has curated a selection of his favorite Japanese Psych Rock songs spanning from the late 1960s with Velvet-Underground-esque bands like Jacks to recent years, with the metal-infused jams of Boris. Much as Krautrock was associated with the German youth awakening of the late 1960’s–a movement associated with revolutionary movements such as the Red Army Faction–so is Japanese Psych Rock tied to militant youth culture, as rock musicians mingled with leftist terrorists associated with groups such as the Japanese Red Army [the group responsible for the 1972 Lod Airport massacre]. The sounds found on this mix push the boundaries in every way, resulting in a heady mixture of disillusionment and transcendentalism.

Aaron writes of this mix:

“In 1965, the Ventures unleashed their alien music onto an audience in Tokyo, unaware that they were in the midst of a miniature cultural revolution. Soon to follow was the explosion of the ‘Group Sounds’ scene, which made sensations out of bands with names like The Tigers and The Mops and caused Japanese instrument manufacturers to churn out ice-white Mosrite-knockoff guitars by the thousand. GS was massive. But dissent lay at the periphery of this meticulously stylized, tightly controlled, and entirely commercialized scene. A handful of disgruntled musicians, most bedecked entirely in black and with hair longer than was permitted by the record labels, rejected the widespread Beatle-worship and refused to bow to the west. Out of this refusal sprung the intense desolation of Jacks’s Vacant World (banned from the airwaves for nihilistic lyrical content), the ‘Total Sensory Assault’ wrought by militant Rallizes Denudés, and the dizzying jazz-rock mash-up of Masahiko Satoh’s Amalgamation, to name just a few of the countless seminal works which defined this epoch. English-language homages to Western rock gods saturated the psychedelic scene in Japan, but this mix is devoted [almost] entirely to those who sang in Japanese, who married distorted guitars to Buddhist chanting, who went beyond the Western rock paradigm and made something far richer, weirder and, in many cases, better.”

To listen to the mix, simply right click the link below and choose “download linked file,” or click to listen streaming online.

SL Episode LVIII: Japanese Psych Rock

The Playlist:

1. Naki Kyoku – Boris

2. Gatha – People

3. ジャックス – 追放の歌〜第五氷河期(ヤングタウン)

4. Lost Mother Land, Pt. 2 – Apryl Fool

5. Face 2 – Masahiko Sato and the Soundbreakers

6. Don’t Say No – Speed, Glue & Shinki

7. Strung Out Deeper Than The Night – Les Rallizes Denudes

8. In the Broken Mirror – Jacks

9. Satori Pt. III – Flower Travellin’ Band

10. Second Shomyo – People

11. Sorrow – Blues Creation

12. Vacant World – Jacks

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