Monday, May 12, 2014

New Nambu (7)


An eve of the fifth column 4

  Please forgive me for overlapping a little in a previous article. It is easy for the readers to grab the flowing of the subject.

<Around “Minor”, around 80’s>

It was Dec. 25, 1979 (I wonder). I went to Tokyo and arrived at Ueno Station with a violinand a tenor sax by night train taking for 8 hours (Tohoku super express wasn’t there at that time). The Fifth Column organized a project called “いむぷろゔぁいずど大晦日いゔ (Improvised new year’s eve)” at Minor (30th December, same year). We gathered about 20 improvisers of our friends, to continue playing in alternate combinations. Finally, We moved in a Kichijoji shopping arcade as playing, but no one was arrested. This recording was also recorded in “The fifth column box”.

Doing an improvisation ensemble by occasional combination was influenced from “company”, the method established by Derek Bailey. It is the rule that we played with changing combination or the number of person of selected performers, but not playing by all players. Also at Minor, similar trial named “Factory” was continued irregularly (I guess the name was affected by Warhol.). I remembered the collective named “Tree” by Mr. Masahiko Kohno (tb) and Mr. Toshinori Kondo (tp) (I wonder they resisted “rhizome”, a philosophic idea by Deleuze and Gatari). A lot of performers said “Not bands or organizations. So, we can create the possibility by free improvisation. Such free jazz is dead.” Of course, there were people who were against it (New Jazz Syndicate, a school of Jojo Takayanagi, Seikatsukoujouiinkai and so on.) I think they were both illusion now.

Those days, such free sessions anyone can play were spread here and there in Tokyo. One of famous venues was “Goodman” in Nihiogikubo. The owner, Mr. Kamata was also active as a sax player. I played with Trumpeter Jiro Shouda in the first time here. There were guitarist Mr. Ohki, Mr. Gokuu Nonaka who tripped around the world carrying a drum his shoulder literally, and someone who belonged Seikatsu koujouiinkai. (Changing a topic, I’m surprised at the existance of the group of same name is active now. Somehow, they don’t seem to connect with music group established by Mr. Umezu. New one is vigorous in the field of drama. It is easy to mistake.)

< The birth of Pinakoteka Records >

Every night, something was born and broken, Mr. Takafumi Satoh, the owner of such chaos ”Minor” in Kichijoji, established “Pinakoteka Records” later, and he made a big reaction in Japanese minor music scene. I think it was prized at this point. I will write as I can remember (besides like or dislike).
Ankoku Tairiku Jagatara, Grand Guignol, Anode/Cathode, Coc’cinel, Taco (It was Kazuichi Hanawa who draw artwork of the sleeve.), “Aiyoku Jinmin Juuji Gekijiyou” (An omnibus I write later), ”Watashi dake?” (the first solo of Keiji Haino), Nord, “Piyopiyo” (the sax solo of Takao Haga) and so on. There were a lot of works which was not released.

Mr. Satoh stroke out in a new direction to all sleeve design of albums. Silk screen by hand-made, a triangle, irrelevant record for addition, etc. It was said that Mr. Satoh somehow wanted to make such an idea a patent on a new device. (But, it costs so much to get a patent). He had no money, so Mr. Satoh used open reel tape for mastering which was discharged with erasing sounds from broadcasting stations.
It happend a trouble because of this. It was all for reducing the cost that he made the hand-made sleeve with folding a piece of paper by himself. But it is no sense, if he couldn’t collect debts. It is easy to establish a label, but it is too difficult to run a label.

< The end of Minor >

I wrote other than persons involved in not only free jazz, but also improvised music & contemporary music performer come to gather at “Minor”, and somehow radical rock musicians who were like ousted from the punk scene, people involved in Butoh, strange performance groups etc..

Japan Fluxus, Gallery Merde, other people who were somehow strange. There was “a chicken case”. Mr. Satoh reformed the inside of shop about half a year. One day, he made the stage about 30cm higher from the floor. The chicken someone used for performance (I don’t know what that person would do.) escaped and lived under the stage. After some days, someone made an effort to caught that chicken, but it laid an egg. It was said that egg was half-clear and flabby. When I heard that talk, I thought it was reverse to the workForbidden Colors” Japanese Butoh dancer, Tatsumi Hijikata killed a chicken at the stage.

Finally, “Minor” in a multi-tenant building was made to withdraw because of many claim from surroundings against noise or going in and out of strange people, or threatening by dreadful guys. Just before that, Mr. Satoh planned to establish the label by himself, he edited the recordings some guys performed at the store. LP named “Aiyoku Jinmin  Jiyuuji Gekijiyou” in 1980 was an unexpected stuff.

<Aiyoku Jinmin gathered>

Participants were Tamio Shiraishi, Takafumi Satoh / Yatasumi / Akihiro Ishiwatari / Masami Shinoda, Honeymoons (Kamura / Tenko), Intension, Katsuo Itabashi / Moroharu Yoshizawa, Harumi Yamazaki/ Toshiharu Oosato, Keiji Haino, Vedda Music Workshop (Kenichi Takeda / Chie Mukai / Takashi Kazamaki / Takeo Suzuki / Junichi Kawara), Kino( Kino Kawamoto )Toshi Tanaka / Ryo Goiizuka / Nishiyakofususkii ), Machine gun Tango( Touri Kudoh /Yuriko Kannami / Yasushi Ozawa / Tamio Shiraishi etc. )

I don’t have mind to say something about each tracks now. Listening to this now, I feel there are a lot of unclear and flubby eggs which I don’t know whether they can incubate from the state such various people wriggled. And, the hot topic other than music was LP was attached with “dry feces” (There is argument whether this feces was by human or animal ). LP was sealed up with seal, so we can’t realize this until opening this LP. I heard it was a work of Gallery Merde (of course, it means feces in French).

< One night at Minor >

Going back to the subject. Members of “Jigyaku-siza no Tawamure” were Mr. Sato (Piano with ring modulator), Mr. Yoshio Kuge (Drum), Mr. Akihiro Isiwatari (Guitar), Mr. Kouji Imuta (voice. High school pupil at that time. Later an actor.). And I would play the sax and the violin. Although I was anxious that rehearsal just before a show was finished so easily, everyone tended to feel “We don’t care if anything may happen”, therefore I decided to think so. My violin was noisy from the first song. However, when I listen to that recording (I keep it properly) now, I think it is good it match to Mr. Imuta’s voice. 

Performers of that day was Fushitsusha and Kousokuya other than Jigyaku-siza no Tawamure. In first, Kousokuya played after us. Guitarist was the late Jyutoku Kaneko, bassist and vocalist was Mic, synthesiser player was Hirhoshi Yokoyama, and drummer was Ms.Toshiko who was a wife of Mr. Sato. (She was pretty beautiful, but died in young). Voice like squeezing by Mic, simple drumming like the velvets, fuzz guitar, undulating and twitching synthe. I was fond of it well, I think it is different from the sound of the later ”Kosokuya”. I recorded this performance, so I gave Mr. Kaneko a copy of this recording about 20 years later. Then, he was very glad and gave me a LP of Kosokuya.

And the last one was Fushitsusha leaded by Keiji Haino. I didn’t remember the member (I guess the bass player was Mr. Ozawa). Or, I didn’ t remember well how they played. I couldn’t record their performance because my tape had no time already. Anyhow, I was overpowered by volume. All my sense was paralyzed by sound pressure. It was pitch-dark on the stage, dim light from somewhere casted Keiji Haino who moved intensely.

It was impressive that the fashion every audience wore on this day was all black and wore sunglasses like Mr.Haino or Mr.Kaneko. My appearance was like going down from the mountain, so it was out of place completely. Well, Imuta who was a high school student those days wore a usual sweater with a shaven head, so it was also unharmonious (usual in the city).

< Gaseneta no Kouya >

Mr. Satoh was a leaded of “Zigyaku-shiza no Tawamure”, a pianist and an organizer of a slightly big formation “Sighing P Orchestra”. But, in fact, he was a drummer of “Kotatsu de hoero” a former band of “Gaseneta no kouya” (I guess it’s ok I call Gaseneta ). As you know, the line-up of Gaseneta was Harumi Yamazaki (vo), Jun Hamano (el-g), Toshiharu Oosato (el-b) and Mr. Satoh.

Although a band “Gaseneta” was a hot topic or an issue by making a cd of Mr. Satoshi Sonoda’s edit tape later, they were too noisy to be called punk, and are not only noise but also rock. It was an extremely strange origin that Mr. Oosato who went to abroad to study and was valued as a music scholar, Mr. Hamano who listened to Beefheart since he wasan elementary school student, Mr. Yamazaki who was uniquely active in writing on “Rock Magazine” edited by Yuzuru Agi in Oosaka joined, Mr. Satoh who desired to be a jazz pianist participated.

Mr. Oosato wrote about this age in a style of novel with real name. I think this “Gaseneta
no Kouya” got the atomosphere of those days across well. I’d like to write someday, because I was received assistance from Mr. Oosato. Mr. Yamazaki released like a hybrid group “Taco” from Pinakoteka. Music scholar, Shyuhei Hosokawa (He was well known for “Rhetoric of Walkman”, but the later “ Aesthetic of record “ was better. ) and Ryuichi Sakamoto also joined. Mr. Yamazaki was also involved in editing legendary magazines like JAM”, ”Heaven”.

<The fashion of this age>

In fashion or intellectual underground those days, magazine like Binibon (porn magazine sold at automatic selling machine etc. I remember there were “Chris” edited by Shinichi Arai other than this.). ”Episteme” (Asahi Publishing) which released Japanese version of anti-philosophic declaration “Rhizome” (Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari) born in France, andYuu (Kousakusha) etc. were readOr Bijyutsu-techou (Later, BT), Eureka,Gendaishi-techou” ”Gendai-shisou” “Dokusho-shinbun” “Dokushojin” were also read well. Oh, I forget music-related magazine. I bought every issue of “Jazz” which Akira Aida or Kenichi Takeda, etc. wrote criticism or review about various fields every month. Although I said, it had become irregularly release because then can’t afford money.

I think Joseph Beuys was paid attention to the most as an artist, or in the field of contemporary art. When he came to Japan for performing and the exhibition, a company of Beuys, Nam Jun Pike also come to Japan for the exhibition. Beuys who declared ”Capitalism will be dead soon”. Beuys who rode a bomber of Germany airforce in World War II. Beuys who talked a lot of people that he was saved by nomads. Beuys who established free university. Beuys who became a candidate of “Green party“ . Beuys who was one of the member of Fluxus. Beuys who performed to oddly tickle one’s mind, for example he boxed, lived with coyotes and planted oaks and so on. Beuys who always wore fisherman’s jacket. Beuys who made sculptures used by honey, blood, dead rabbits, fat and felt. Beuys who made a-bath-tub or suits to exhibit. His performance was filled to overflowing in Japan. Now, I think what was that crazy sensation.

In fact, we were manipulated by Seibu Art museum. Or, Beuys who had a power to urge that big capital. Finally, he died because of heart disease before capitalism was dead. He was a superstar of contemporary art, in that every his items were sold like a black board he wrote carelessly. However, will the day he is revalued come? I never hear the rumor about A. Kiefer like his pupil. The guy who told me Beuys or Fluxus was Mr. Junichi Kawara who was one of the member of Vedda Music and have a great sense of design. He gave much help for the logo or design of Pinakoteka. Mr. Kawara designed the cover of the first book of the critic articles by Kenichi Takeda which was released recently.

<About Mr. Satoshi Ashikawa>

However, “Seibu museum” was the place where I always visited at, when I, a person from a country, come to Tokyo those days. Because I liked “Art Vivant” where a speciality shop of art books and contemporary art. The shop manager was Mr. Satoshi Ashikawa who majored sociology, but his interest toward music was rising and he become a synthesizer and composer. He made us listen to a lot of copies in response to my or friend’s request.

Obscure Records” established by Brain Eno just became a hot topic at that time. Although Eno who was recognized weird guy of Roxy music released two solo albums in quick succession after leaving the band, these were really strange taste albums. I’ve often listened to these two albums until now. And he changed when he released third soloAnother Green World”. There was no previous indecency, but new aesthetics. Music which was simple, vast, and no obligation to listening. I was explained that this was what expanded the ideal of “furniture music” by Satie.

Music you can listen to deeply, or ignore” “ Wallpaper of music”. That was “ Music for airport ” it declared. Although this became “Ambient music series”, before that Eno gathered UK experimental musicians to make LPs continuously, and reached to 10 copies. That was “Obscure Records ”. A lot of works were by popular composer like Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars after that. I guess this originated from the participation of Eno to Portsmouth Sinfonia”. And this unique orchestra was spun off from “Scratch Orchestra organized by Cornelius Cardew. It was based on the ideal “music by non-professional group”

I go back to the subject. Mr. Ashikawa of “Art Vivant” highly estimated these works or group. He resigned the store later, established own label and made two LPs including his work, simultaneously invited a performer and a composer, Harold Budd who came in conversation because his “Plateau of mirrors” was produced by Eno. Although that gig was very popular, Mr. Ashikawa died because of the traffic accident soon after that. I had visited the house of Mr, Ashikawa when I was making the album, I was helped by him, for example I borrowed a patch type EMS Synthesiser. Mr. Ashikawa went in and out Minor and co-performed with Mr. Haino. I have that document. (cont’d)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this! I had to translate into English, but it was definitely worth it. In particular, it was nice to read about Satoshi Ashikawa, somebody whom I really respect but also, conversely, didn't know much about. Very sad that he should die so young with so much left to do. Anyway, this was a fascinating read, thankyou!

    Juz x