For the inaugural release in their freshly minted Japan Archival Series, Light In The Attic presents an incredible anthology of seldom-heard (at least on this side of the world) Japanese folk and rock rarities. Even A Tree Can Shed Tears examines the fertile period between 1969 and 1973 that changed the face of Japanese music forever. It was during these years that the angura (short for "underground) movement came about from the rising youth culture - a movement that "thrived on subverting traditions of the post-war years" and would eventually give way to what is known in Japan as "New Music." This "New Music" put authenticity at the forefront, empowering Japanese musicians to take on new directions and present new perspectives - a stark contrast to the squeaky clean, idol-replicating college folk that came before it. Highlights include "Mizu Tamari" by Fumio Nunoya, "Marianne" by Gu, "Ware Ware Wa" by Tetsuo Saito, "Hei No Ue De" by Hachimitsu Pie, and "Nastu Nandesu" by Happy End. This double LP compilation from LITA is the first ever fully licensed release of peak angura movement folk and rock songs to reach a Western audience. From LITA:
In mid-to-late 1960s Tokyo, young musicians and college students were drawn to Shibuya's Dogenzaka district for the jazz and rock kissas, or cafes, that dotted its winding hilly streets. Some of these spaces doubled as performance venues, providing a stage for local regulars like Hachimitsu Pie with their The Band-like ragged Americana, Tetsuo Saito with his spacey philosophical folk, and the influential Happy End, who successfully married the unique cadences of the Japanese language to the rhythms of the American West Coast. For many years Dogenzaka remained a center of the city's "New Music" scene. Meanwhile a different kind of music subculture was beginning to emerge in the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Far more political than their eastern counterparts, many of the Kansai-based "underground" artists began in the realm of protest folk music. They include Takashi Nishioka and his progressive folk collective Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen, the "Japanese Joni Mitchell" Sachiko Kanenobu, and The Dylan II, whose members ran The Dylan cafe in Osaka, which became a hub for the scene. Even a Tree Can Shed Tears also includes the bluesy avant-garde stylings of Maki Asakawa, future Sadistic Mika Band founder Kazuhiko Kato with his fuzzy, progressive psychedelia, the beatnik acid folk of Masato Minami, and the intimate living room folk of Kenji Endo. Nearly 50 years on, this "New Music" is born anew.
Comes housed in deluxe gatefold Stoughton tip-on sleeve featuring artwork by Heisuke Kitazawa, and includes a full color booklet featuring extensive liner notes and bios by Yosuke Kitazawa and Jake Orrall and traditional obi strip. Highly Recommended.
- gatefold sleeve
- 1st ever fully licensed compilation of this music to be released outside Japan
- includes booklet w/ extensive liner notes and bios by Yosuke Kitazawa + Jake Orrall
- original artwork by illustrator Heisuke Kitazawa
- deluxe gatefold Stoughton tip-on jacket
- obi strip
- music label: Light In The Attic 2017
reviewed by Otakun 11/2017