2018/04/18

Steve Reich/Early Works (Double Edge and others, 1986-1987) *

An American composer known as one of the pioneers of minimal music, Steve Reich's early works (Nonesuch). Includes four pieces composed by the technique of "gradual phase shifting process". "It's Gonna Rain" (1965) and "Come Out" (1966) are tape music with recorded voices as sources. They deal with gradually shifting phases of two or more repeating patterns. "Piano Phase" (1967) is a piece for two pianos. It is one of his first attempts at applying his "gradual phase shifting process" technique to live performance. The keyboard duo Double Edge, Nurit Tilles and Edmund Niemann play the piano. "Clapping Music" (1972) is a piece only for two musicians clapping without instruments, which deals with deal with rhythm variation by shifting beats. Recommended for minimal music lovers. But the two tape pieces are too experimental and avant-garde, so for Reich beginners, I recommend more musical pieces, such as "Music for 18 Musicians", "Music for a Large Ensemble" and "Octet" as a first choice.

Early Works

2018/04/12

Butthole Surfers/Locust Abortion Technician (1987)

An American rock band formed by Gibby Haynes (lead vocals) and Paul Leary (guitar) in San Antonio, Texas in 1981, Butthole Surfers' third album (#3 on the UK indie charts). Frequently picked up as Surfers' masterpiece or best album. Experimental noise rock blending the elements of punk, heavy metal and Texas psychedelia. Features tape editing like musique concrète, tottering, distorted guitar, and bizarre vocals lots of effects such as pitch modulation. "Sweat Loaf" includes the quotation of the guitar riff from Black Sabbath's song "Sweet Leaf". "Kuntz" is a damaged remix re-editing of "Klua Duang", a song in the folk song style by Thai artists Phloen Phromdaen.

Locust Abortion Technician

| Music: B |

2018/04/05

The Fools/Weed War (1984)

A rock band formed in 1980 by ex-members of punk and new wave bands, such as Sex and Jisatsu, and led by Ko Ito (vocals) and Ryo Kawada (guitar), the Fools's first album. One of masterpieces of Japanese underground rock, including the elements of funk, blues and rock'n'roll. Soul music-oriented sound including jazz tenor saxophone player Takao Uematsu's sax and female chorus. "Mr. Freedom" is a cool track in the style like James Brown's funk number. Co-produced by Oto from Jagatara. The limited box "Weed War -Legacy Edition-" with a previously unreleased 1984 live CD and a DVD (about 3 minutes. Shot by Sogo Ishii) was released in 2007. The 2012 remastered edition includes a bonus track "What You Want?", which was released as a flexi disc for only the first production of the 1984 LP. The first production of the 2012 remastered edition was a double CD including a previously unreleased 1982 live CD.

Weed War

2018/03/29

Dufay/Missa L'homme armé, Motets (The Hilliard Ensemble, 1986)

A Flemish composer of the early Renaissance and a central figure in the Burgundian School, Guillaume Dufay's vocal music (EMI). Includes "Missa L'homme armé" and five motets. "Missa L'homme armé" is a four-part cyclic mass using the melody of a French secular song "L'homme armé (The Armed Man)" for a cantus firmus, and one of his masterpieces in mass, ranking with "Missa se la face ay pale (If My Face is Pale)". A four-part isorhythmic motet "Nuper rosarum flores (Recently Flowers of Roses)" is famous as a ceremonial motet performed in the consecration of Florence Cathedral. All the tracks can be listened to as purely beautiful polyphonic vocal music. Excellent performances by the Hilliard Ensemble, a British male vocal quartet, including transparent high-tone male voices (tenor and countertenor), undulating unity of the whole and rhythmic interplay of parts.

Missa L'homme armé, Motets

2018/03/21

Laura Nyro/Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968)

An American songwriter-singer born in The Bronx, New York City in 1947, Laura Nyro's second album (#181 on the US album charts). noted as her most accessible and famous album. Vocal pop influenced by gospel, R&B and jazz. Also including rock elements. Featuring songs with lots of rhythm/tune changes, her soulful and emotional vocals with vibratos, her own piano accompaniment, and gorgeous arrangement by Charles Calello including horns and strings. The 5th Dimension's cover versions of "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Sweet Blindness" reached #3 and #13 on the US charts. Three Dog Night's cover version of "Eli's Comin'" reached #10 on the US charts. Co-produced by Charles Calello. The 2002 remastered edition includes three previously unreleased demos.

Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

| Music: N |

2018/03/18

E.S.T./Leucocyte (2007)

A Swedish jazz piano trio formed in 1993, E.S.T.(Esbjörn Svensson Trio)'s 12th album (ACT). Contemporary jazz featuring Esbjörn Svensson's aesthetic piano like Keith Jarrett, with heavy use of electronic sounds, electronic effects and noises, in the electroacoustic work style. Produced by the trio's improvisation in an Australian studio and post-production. It mainly consists of two long tracks in the suite form. More close to post-rock/alternative rock such as Sigur Rós and Radiohead, and ambient/glitch techno such as Fennesz, more than jazz. Unfortunately, this is the final album by E.S.T., because Svensson died in a scuba diving accident in 2008.

Leucocyte

2018/03/12

Paul Mauriat/Paul Mauriat Best 100 -eternal European sounds- (2015/1965-1993)

A best compilation (a set of 5 CDs) of the works composed by Paul Mauriat, a French composer/conductor, who was born in 1925 in Marseille, and produced international hits in the easy listening genre in popular/film music fields in the late 1960s and the early 1970s (Universal Music Japan). It includes 100 tracks selected from Universal Music's master tapes and digitally remastered on SHM-CD. All the hits are the original versions. Sentimental instrumental orchestra pop with heavy use of harpsichord, including catchy melodies and classical/baroque elements. "Nocturne" (1966) is his early original piece. "L'amour est bleu (Love is Blue)" (1967) is a cover of French composer, André Popp's song (#1 hit in the US). "La reine de Saba" (1967) is a cover of a Tunisian singer-songwriter, Michel Laurent's song. "Pénélope (L'éterner retour)" (1970) is a cover of Spanish composer, Augusto Algueró's song. "Toccata" (1973) is a cover of French composer, Gaston Rolland. "El Bimbo" (1974) is a cover of French composer, Claude Morgan's song. Recommended to those who want to listen to the original versions of Paul Mauriat's hits as a whole in high-quality sound.

Paul Mauriat Best 100 -eternal European sounds-

| Music: M |

2018/03/04

Janet Jackson/Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

An American singer, songwriter and actress, who was born as the youngest child of the Jackson family including Michael Jackson, and achieved commercial success as an artist since the late 1980s, escaping from her brother Michael, Janet Jackson's fourth studio album (R#1 on the US album charts. #4 on the UK). A collaboration with the production team, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, as on her previous album "Control" (1986), and it became a blockbuster selling 12 million copies worldwide. A maspterpiece of contemporary R&B/New Jack Swing, mainly consisting of dance pop songs with heavy use of sampler (E-mu SP-1200) and drum machine, and ballads with strings. A concept album dealing with social themes such as racism, poverty, and substance abuse. Includes seven top five hit singles, "Miss You Much" (#1 on the US), "Rhythm Nation" (#2), "Escapade" (#1), "Alright" (#4), "Come Back to Me" (#2), "Black Cat" (#1) and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" (#1). "Black Cat" is a song in the heavy metal style. "The Knowledge" is a song in the industrial music style.

Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

| Music: J |

2018/02/24

Herbie Hancock/Mwandishi (1971) *

An American jazz pianist, composer and arranger born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1940, Herbie Hancock's ninth album (Warner Bros.). The first album by the Herbie Hancock Sextet, in the "Mwandishi" years in the early 1970s, who had developed experimental music under strong influence of the early electric Miles Davis ("In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew"). The personnel are Herbie Hancock (Fender Rhodes piano), Buster Williams (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Eddie Henderson (trumpet, flugelhorn), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet, alto flute) and Julian Priester (trombones). Spacey avant-garde jazz featuring Herbie Hancock's electric piano, with heavy usage of effects units (reverb, echo and tremolo). The first "Ostinato (Suite for Angela)" is a 15/8-meter Afro-electric-funk including electric bass repeating a riff and African percussions. The second "You'll Know When You Get There" is a dreamy piece at a slow tempo featuring Bennie Maupin's flute. The closing "Wandering Spirit Song" (over 21 minutes) is an abstract piece influenced by "In A Silent Way", including a freaky free jazz part in the middle.

Mwandishi

2018/02/19

Can/Future Days (1973) *

A German experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany, in 1968, Can's fifth album. The last album featuring Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. Percussive and comfortable Krautrock/progressive rock, featuring ambient-music elements, elaborate sound processing, light and fine drums and African percussion, and Damo Suzuki's delicate vocals. The single track "Moonshake" is a pop song with Jaki Liebezeit's metronome style drums. The closing "Bel Air" (about 20 minutes) in the suite form is an excellent piece with floating and ecstatic feelings.

Future Days

| Music: C |