Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Back to Yuji Ohno by request in The Night (1979) with Koji Ishizaka


Here's one of my Xmas presents to myself, a gorgeous, heavy cardboard eminently solid LP in near mint condition both externally and vinylly [ouch]-- altogether just beautiful to behold and rare enough that there isn't usually more than one copy for sale if at all at any one time both outside and inside of Japan. And of course someone in requesting it made me aware of it.

I've covered Yuji Ohno exhaustively, starting with Jimmy Dean and the Inugami soundtrack, followed by Silent Dialogue and then Chu Kosaku, which was also requested.  His music in the earliest days was enjoyably funky with some progressive thrown in for us hungry dogs but later atrophied to purely soundtrack / easy listening generic orchestral banality with totally by-the-numbers chord changes.  Accordingly, this album from 1979 is primarily the latter but does have some funkishness on display.

Regarding Koji Ishizaka, who, it's important to note, recites either poems or stories above the music on every track except the final one, wikipedia-Japan's page says:

Koji Ishizaka (Koji Ishizaka, 1941 (1941) June 20 -), the Japan of the actor - entertainer , emcee , painter , writer , translator , lyricist , narrator is. From October 2015 belong to Production Oguri . Real name, Mutsuyoshi Muto (Mutual Heiichi). My nickname is Militia.  Stage name derived from the best friend Mayumi Ozora is their favorite writer Yojiro Ishizaka and actor Koji Tsuruta due to be named by borrowing from each. According to Mr. Ishizaka himself still playing in real name TBS 's TV producer Ishii Fukuko was advised to rename, it is said that the stone' s name of the stone ("It is said to have taken a stone" of Ishii Fukuko) It was decided to " Ishizaka Koji " also because the father of the expanse was making a surname check .

And Google Translate shows us once again how the magic of artificial intelligence aka robots and their 'deep learning / neural nets' will soon replace us all with their eerily human-like abilities of translation which are clearly indistinguishable from a real human being.  I love how The Great Google 'translated' the year 1941 into (1941).  That kind of thing is just priceless.  Can't wait to hear those robot musicians create some artificial fusion too though I have a feeling it will be better than some of the 80s stuff I've posted here.  Two more things I'd like to point out: why is the computer program so confused by the alternating first person and third person "it" subject in this article, a mistake which no human would ever make--ever, and how did that AI program unwittingly compose a poem in the middle section:

His stage name due to be named by borrowing from each
According to mr. Ishizaka himself still playing in real name 
TV producer Ishii Fukuko was advised to rename
it is said at the stone's name of the stone 
"It is said to have taken a stone" --of Ishii Fukuko--
and it was decided to " Ishizaka Koji " also-- 
because the father of the expanse 
was making --the surname check...

Wow. "The father of the expanse was making the surname check."
Reboot that robot.

On the inside you will note multiple photos of the man, the stone's name of the stone, plus the spoken passages written out.  I doubt they are as beautiful as the wild google translate's wiki page.  But I might be wrong.  If you add up the scans I did you'll notice there's an odd number (that is if you're astute enough), and the reason is because behind the beautiful colour photo of the stone's name there is a beautiful blank white page I didn't bother to reproduce.

The most funky track is called Jealousy:

This is definitely the classic Ohno we love so much.  As I said, the last track, which is totally generic soundtrack, does have (female) vocals, it's called Lost and Alone:

More Xmas presents shortly.

Monday, 14 January 2019

American composer Richard Hazard: Some Call It Loving, etc.

Some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard appeared on the score of an unknown 1972 movie called "Some Call it Loving," aka "Sleeping Beauty" made by a director who subsequently became known for sensual soft-core called Zalman King (e.g. Red Shoe Diaries).  I was entranced by the movie when I saw it because of the bizarre poetry of the story, where a rich dude discovers a permanently sleeping woman at a carnival or circus (those ancient places where you could see freaks and animals performing tricks-- in real life, not youtube, who remembers?) he falls in love with her at first sight, she wakes up and he has to bring her home as his girlfriend.  Because of his obstinate and weird moodiness the relationship doesn't quite work out, this part of the movie could've been developed more given she was asleep presumably for years without human contact, so then he drugs her back to sleep and returns her to the circus for the next guy to possess.  Obviously in today's world many people would have a problem with that storyline including possibly me.  Also memorable was the cameo by Richard Pryor playing a drug addict, esp. given that time later in real-life when he set himself on fire in some kind of crack-induced hallucination.  And the actress who played the titled role of the sleeping beauty is Tisa Farrow, sister of course of Mia.  Rotten Tomatos gave it a perhaps appropriate rating of 1.9 out of 5 with 13 % of people saying they enjoyed the movie.  Ouch.  For this reason perhaps, it can't be found on youtube.

From imdbA woman who's been asleep for years is part of a carnival that sells her kisses for a buck. A lonely jazz musician buys her. Once awake, the two of them and his two girlfriends hook up. But sometimes, dreams are better than reality.  

Amazingly, wikipedia has a more complete description of the plot, if you're interested.

The theme song:

The pathos and emotion in some of the melodies is stunning:

Note that only half the soundtrack seems to be available, disappointingly, and so far I haven't been able to locate the rest.  Sorry about that chief.  Hopefully someday.

And now, from discogs:

Richard Hazard (March 2, 1921 – December 20, 2000) was an American television composer, orchestrator, conductor and writer. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and died in Los Angeles, California, of cancer. He was married to Jeanne Taylor from 1950 until his death, and had two children.

I threw in a couple more albums from him that I found, the OST of Heroes with Henry Winkler the Fonz and another spoken word album with his orchestral backing.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Tony Koba's Rough and Smooth from 1981 Japan

Tony Koba's only album, from 1981, with a stellar lineup of Japanese all-stars including fellow percussionist Shuichi "Ponta" Murakami, the unfortunately named 'Pecker' (Masahito Hashida), Nobuyuki Shimizu, Toshiyuki Daitoku, Ken Watanabe... He was a friend of Jun Fukamachi, but sadly for us his friend didn't play on this album.

Track 2 called "Miracle of Tungus" to me presents an electric guitar riff that is almost a miracle of progressive fusion songwriting:

As the LP title might indicate there is a slightly bipolar (not schizophrenic) mixture of harder, edgier fusionoid material and fuzak silky smoothness, plus pop balladry a la George Benson, the latter of which are not entirely successful especially when compared with such official progressreview-discovery albums as Rainbow Chaser by Miyako Chaki or the Anli Sugano Shining Wave.

As an example of the smoothness on the bipolar spectrum, Summer Moon:

A wonderful lost LP and slice of Japanese early 80s fusion though, for sure.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

More from Peter Patzer with Patterns

For some reason this album is slightly better, with more variation and invention than the prior post.  It's always great to be pleasantly surprised.  The Sunrise over Palatinate evokes Pink Floyd of course, possibly fully unintentionally:

A bit more experimental sounding is the imaginatively titled Klondyke and the Great Hope:

Monday, 7 January 2019

Library composer Peter Patzer with Straight Line

This composer made a string of interesting library records for the German Crea Music label, presumably sometime in the eighties.  The sound, with digital keyboards and eighties percussion, is very similar to my favourite Gianni Sposito, whose discography I am happy to relate I have now 'completed.'  The post I made last year of his album Sirens is another apparent favourite here with literally thousands of views.  Which is amazing, almost as amazing as the fact that those thousands of views led to one comment being posted.

Probably many are familiar with him thanks to the CD of commercials non-stop, which I hated.  This collection of material he made for Crea is much better written and runs over the gamut of library music, as you'd expect.  As an example I think the title track says it all:

I like the angular melody and the crafty organ interrupting it on Steel Forms in the Sand:

More to come from him shortly.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Jazz track, 4 albums

They made 4 albums from 1975 to 1979 all in the usual German fusion-contemporary jazz style, essentially interchangeably.  It's all very similar to the recently posted Open Music. From discogs:

German 1970's modern jazz and fusion combo based in Düsseldorf and Bremen. Members included Sigi Busch from Association P.C., and introducing the now really prolific Christoph Spendel. Also involved were Uli Beckerhoff and Wolfgang Engstfeld, later of Changes.  [Which was posted here before.  Also, C. Spendel was in the fabulous group called Chameleon posted earlier too.]

The first song off the first album, sounding very much like Attila Zoller:

Of course, on their last album they got bored of the instrumental contemporary jazz and cosmetically augmented themselves with the vocal histrionics of brit Norma Winstone, awarded a Member of the British Empire in 2007, an empire which, certainly, will be ultra-powerful and super-effective on its remaining miniscule tract of land thanks to the marvellous steering of those magnificent brexiteers.  God bless 'em for restricting themselves to the stranded limits of a tiny island.  And indeed we would do well to recall the old and perennial saying, "For the sun never shines on the british empire:"  tally-ho mates, and a good cuppa for your elevenses-- ya losers.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Esa Helasvuo almost compleat, with a rip of his 1985 previously unavailable Huomenna Sinä Tulet

A quick review of this Finnish musician/pianist I was reminded of, obviously, when going through Jazz-Liisa.  From discogs:

Born on March 9, 1945. A Finnish composer, arranger , pianist and lecturer.

Clearly his masterpiece was Think-Tank-Funk, a wonderful and poetic name simultaneously describing the intellectual quality of this music and satirizing those real-world intellectual exercises in futility, who I blame for almost tipping humanity into the hell of nuclear war thanks to their 'logical' appraisals of how a conflict against the USSR could be won by the US at the negligible cost of destroying human civilization (and their appraisals turned out to be mostly wrong, based on a form of game theory that was superseded by more sophisticated versions, a good example of how bad science is worse than no science at all).  Today the think tanks have found a wonderful new raison d'etre: to rationalize the crazed social experiments of politicians all over the world who want to validate their intuition that rich people ought to get richer, to hell with everything else ("burn baby burn").

Anyways I would expect almost anyone reading this to be familiar with the album.  The astonishing vocal track, Song for a Tube, a premonition/prediction of the rise of youtube from those wonderful think-tanks:

Moving through the discography, the next album from 1973 is clearly a children's album, no interest on my part in buying and ripping, while the 1976 ripped some years ago for our benefit by Mr. Morgan is an odd mix of vocal jazz, classical chamber, children's songs and simplistic pieces, the best ex. is this:

The 1974 is a solo piano album which is all over the place, and to me just impossible to like.  I can't for the life of me understand what happened to the brilliance of Think-Tank-Funk.  The best aspect of it is the cover painting, which is really gorgeous and worth looking at up close (you can see a good scan on discogs).  The 1977 Q is well known and deservedly famous, in fact, in its pure expression of the cool style of Finnish contemporary jazz.

Then of course we jump to today's entry, the 1985 vocal jazz album.  We see this repeatedly where a muscular progressive seventies spirit like in the 3 Edition Speciale LPs is neutered once we enter the 80s (Orchestra II).  Susanna was a Finnish actress who also made some vocal albums in the early 80s.
Overall, this sounds very much like the prior Ahlenvahti vocal LP I posted last month, relatively humdrum, no instrumentals, nothing fusiony.  All the compositions are by Esa.  Note that the other brilliant Esa, Kotilainen, appears here too, credited on the accordeon (!).  His Ajatuslapsi is one of my all-time favourite keyboard albums, and note that a CD release appeared recently with bonus tracks.  The last track has lyrics from an Edgar Allen Poe poem and the chords are correspondingly mysterious:

For a more positive experience, the first track has a relatively sweet buoyant sound to it; cowritten by the two principals:

Our wonderful friend also made a new lossless rip off a VG plus vinyl Q which I'll post below.