Julian Cope’s JAPROCKSAMPLER top 50 albums. Author: RamonesIstKrieg. Julian Cope’s top 50 “Japrock” albums, from his totally rad book. Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, follows the runaway underground success of his book “Krautrocksampler” with “Japrocksampler”, a cult. Michel Faber tunes in to Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler.
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Krautrocksampler sought to rekindle an interest in music that was once widely appreciated in Britain but which had fallen into neglect due to changing fashions and fickle journalism.
All human life is here, japrockssampler mangled in translation. There are moments in Japrocksampler that will make more sceptical readers wonder if that very syndrome isn’t going on in Cope’s own text.
Book: Julian Cope, Japrocksampler | Music | The Guardian
A young Yoko Ono attempts suicide in frustration at being upstaged by her first husband Toshi. Music books Julian Cope reviews. At first, Cope’s trademark hipster hyperbole seems to have been tamed by the challenge of elucidating a subject so obscure to most readers.
The Krautrocksampler equivalent would be kicking off with the Franco-Prussian Juliaan
It’s a heavier book more than twice the page count of Krautrocksampler and heavier-going, too. Indeed, his potted history of post- Tokugawa dynasty Japan strikes japroccksampler formal tone not far removed from that of a Victorian essayist: Japrocksampler divides into two parts. The oligarchical structure of the Japanese music business also meant that records – and the groups who played on them – were often put together by company bosses and producers.
The sad truth is that very few people are interested in unusual “foreign” sounds.
Julian Cope, Japrocksampler
Alan Cummings, the most knowledgeable and bilingual British scholar of Japanese alternative music, writes articles for the Wire but has not yet written a stand-alone text. By contrast, the music discussed in Japrocksampler has made almost no impact outside Japan, partly owing to the barrier of an undecodably alien writing system.
In parallel to the way Amon Duul were involved in Germany’s commune-dwelling counterculture and allegedly had ties to Baader-Meinhof, one member cipe Les Rallizes Denudes participated in the Japanese Red Army’s hi-jacking of a Boeing Other books on the subject are not on off er.
In our megastore marketplace, the familiar is endlessly recycled, while blinkered journalists reshuffle the same Top lists ad nauseam. Cope himself is not a Japanese speaker, but his omnivorous LPcollecting and his friendship with some of Japan’s current rockers make him a credible candidate to write this book.
One larger idea he does mulian with is the Japanese talent for mimesis. With a mixture of aff ection and condescension, Cope relates the attempts of Japanese wannabe “refuseniks” or even “uberrefuseniks” to ape the lifestyles of their American and British idols kaprocksampler a society where strict codes of honour still ruled and where the hippie musical Hair was closed down by the authorities.
But in a book as over-amplifi ed as this, acoustic guitars don’t register. Japrocksampler is a far more substantial work, for better and for worse. What he’s looking for is “the kind of unsignposted music with neither peaks nor troughs that still sounds relevant today”, ie music that resembles Krautrock. The incident where sword-waving members of Japan’s Red Army Faction including the bass player of the Radical Music Black Gypsy Band hijack a plane “to Cuba”, eventually landing to a heroes’ welcome in North Korea, is retold as a wacky caper, but the complex griefs and tensions that led to such gestures cry out for deeper analysis.
Was Cope maybe piqued into overcompensation japrockampler that smatter of niggardly experts who complained that Krautrocksampler wasn’t comprehensive or authoritative enough? Japrocksampler aims to do the same thing for Japan, although the context could hardly be more diff erent. Experimental violinist Takehisa Kosugi takes time out from the avant-garde to compose music for the children’s cartoon series Atom Boy.
Shedding the ‘proper historian, me’ persona, his true voice breaks loose with the closing section, his all-time Top 50 Japrock LPs.
Or did he just develop a taste for research while working on his highly-regarded ‘stone circle’ histories The Modern Antiquarian and The Megalithic European? The way he tells it, his psychedelic renegades were central to the violent unrest that gripped Japan in the late s, whereas in fact most of the clashes were between riot police and an army of Dylanesque protest singers.
Now here comes Copey with a sort-of-sequel, this time exploring and exalting the even more esoteric world of Japanese freak rock. The Taj Mahal Travellers hit the road in their runeinscribed Volkswagen minibus, searching for windswept beaches where they can provide musical accompaniment to the waves at dawn.
Inhe published Krautrocksampler, an evangelistic overview of Germany’s greatest gift to the modern world, that immensely charming genre of 70s music known as Krautrock. In the introduction, the word ‘study’ crops up repeatedly, including the assertion that a ‘detailed study of this book will have you rethinking your attitudes to music, art, time Cope argues that the West-to-East translation process creates ‘a peculiar copy of the original,’ a wrongness that in some instances allows the Japanese version to surpass its inspiration.
As a work of scholarship, Japrocksampler is slapdash and error-strewn. His lack of affinity with folk or the subtler forms of jazz causes him to ignore or sideline many of Japan’s most distinctive artists. He raves about the ‘fascinating and wildly eventful’ multi-generic pastiches created by theatre score composer JA Caesar mostly only released as cassettes sold at stalls in the theatresand the bizarre jazz-rock tangents spawned out of the Japanese cast of Hair Shedding the ‘proper historian, me’ persona, his true voice breaks loose with the closing section, his all-time Top 50 Japrock LPs.
The first, really a prequel to the book proper, deals with the s, with chapters examining Japanese experimental music a scene hugely impacted by musique concrete, with Yoko Ono and her erstwhile composer-hubby Toshi Ichiyanagi prominent among the cast of charactersthe ‘Eleki’ craze for Shadows-style twangy instrumental rock, and the ‘Group Sounds’ movement suit-wearing Japbands modelled on the British beat boom.
Context-setting is just dandy, but was it really necessary to start with the arrival of US vessels on Japanese shores, thereby ending centuries of cultural isolationism?
If Cope’s exaltation of Les Rallizes Denudes seems cop mystique-building covering up simple underachievement he hails the hermetic, retired Mizutani as ‘this great nihilistic spirit, this sonic executioner’elsewhere his evocations of all this authentically inauthentic music are enticing and convincing.