Kōhei Amada, SUGAI KEN [ Kyōgokuryū-sōkyoku "Shinshunfu" ] 10" [EM1183CD]

Kōhei Amada, SUGAI KEN [ Kyōgokuryū-sōkyoku "Shinshunfu" ] 10" [EM1183CD]

Selling Price: US$14.99

Weight: 405g

Quantity:


Mid March in stock. Pre-order accept

Comments by Spencer Doran (Visible Cloaks):

EM Record's release of little known koto auteur Kōhei Amada continues the label's tireless mapping of multi-hued human expression, sitting outside genre convention and confusing record store clerks everywhere. "Shinshunfu" is sectioned into two parts: a more recognizable duet between koto and Irish harp, and a complete 180 into an elongated vocal piece repellent with droning shō and taiko drum bass hits. This concoction brings up familiar scents: Lou Harrison's small ensemble harp pieces, or a Japanese recasting of the Medieval troubadour songs performed by transcultural-minded early music groups like Studio der frühen Musik or Hespèrion XXI. Yet these comparisons are merely abstract, "Shinshunfu" exists at a crossroads, a form both distinctly Japanese and distinctly "other", a complex blend of folk strains that is deep with emotional resonance and hard to place even for aficionados of Japanese traditional music.

SUGAI KEN's rework renders the source material almost unrecognizable, pushing even further in the non-deterministic, GRM-like meta-concrète direction of his recent work, jump-cutting in high definition between synthetic birdsong, haunted vocoded voice and arresting, back-of-the-head foley. Of "Shinshunfu", only the drone of the shō and the occasional taiko hit appear in plain view. The exploration sits comfortably in the idiosyncratic sound world that Ken has been prolifically constructing for himself in the last few years (what he has come to call "Japanese electronic-folklore"), just as brilliant as one would expect.

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The cover of this release features a gradation of color, a subtle but complete infusion of one element into another, an almost imperceptible moment where A becomes B and both become more. And that is one way of thinking about the music in this release, a piece composed in the mid-1950s, and a 2018 re-working of that same piece. The original was composed by Kōhei Amada and played by an ensemble in which the Japanese traditional instruments koto, shō and taiko fuse perfectly with the Irish harp. The composition itself also melds Amada's traditional, classical sensibilities and his knowledge of the deepest roots of Japanese music with his appreciation of new developments in both Japanese and Western music. Another element to consider here is the role of Amada’s voice and lyrics, fusing noh and other traditional elements with a modernity foreshadowing the rise of the singer-songwriter, melding high tradition with folk impulses. This theme of gradation and infusion continues in the other piece of music on this release, SUGAI KEN's revision of the original, with its puzzling amalgamation of analog/digital, acoustic/electric, and performed/programmed, with the various temporal and geographical elements of Amada's music melted and melded into the 21st century.

- Cover art: Ginji Kimura
- Mastering: Takuto Kuratani (Ruv Bytes)
- Liner notes: Takuya Kitamura
- 10" vinyl record + a foldout insert
- English & Japanese text/rare photos

TRACKS:
Side A. Shinshunfu (1970 recording) - Kōhei Amada Group (9:27)
Side AA. Shinshunfu (SUGAI KEN Rework) - SUGAI KEN (7:41)
Kōhei Amada, SUGAI KEN [ Kyōgokuryū-sōkyoku "Shinshunfu" ] 10" [EM1183CD]

Selling Price: US$14.99

Weight: 405g

Quantity: