Amoeblog

Psych Folk legend Eiichi Ohtaki dies at 65

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 10, 2014 04:01pm | Post a Comment
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Japanese singer-songwriter and producer Eiichi Ohtaki passed away at a hospital on Monday, December 30, 2013 after having collapsed at his Tokyo home while eating an apple, a piece which had apparently stuck in his throat causing him to choke. He was 65.

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Ohtaki's influential contributions to Japanese pop and folk rock music worldwide could not be more legendary. Born on July 28, 1948, he was perhaps most famous for being the singer/guitarist and founding member of Happy End (pictured left above),  a band he formed with fellow Japanese rock heavy hitters Takashi Matsumoto (Apryl Fool), Shigeru Suzuki and Haruomi Hosono (Apryl Fool/Yellow Magic Orchestra). From 1969 to 1972 the ensemble produced three studio albums that pioneered a highly revered heavy acid folk sound that made them Japan's most beloved and critically acclaimed classic rock bands of all time. More recently the ensemble won notoriety stateside when their song "Kaze wo Atusmete" was featured in the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost In Translation.

Happy End - "Kaze wo Atsumete" from Kazemachi Roman (1971)

Summer Jams: Turnstyle's "Riding A Wave"

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, July 26, 2013 11:59pm | Post a Comment
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I don't know about you, but I'm not back on my quest for fresh cuts to flesh out my latest Summer Jams digest, I'm still on it! Though, "fresh" might be a less-than-ideal descriptive word for this latest discovery as it was very much exhumed from Amoeba's oldies bin during a protracted dig. Nevertheless, Turnstyle's "Riding A Wave" has become a favorite of mine over the last week, with many thanks to British music journalist John Reed -- a man I hold in high esteem for the compilations he has produced, namely Hot Smoke and Sassafras: Psychedelic Pstones Vol. I. I highly recommend this collection, but I digress...
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There's not a lot of information out there about the Turnstyle but that probably has everything to do with the fact that this act didn't last long at all. The band formed in 1968 by 17-year-old drummer and songwriter Mark Ashton and went on to record the somewhat edgy, average pop-psych single "Riding A Wave" (b/w "Trot") for Pye Records. Within six months after the release of the 45, Turnstyle supported the Nice for a few live dates before calling it quits without issuing any further recordings. Ashton, his wave riding days behind him as it were, took to the sky with progressive rock unit Rare Bird.
But wait, there's more!

As with my last Summer Jams post, spotlighting Nick Nicely's "On The Beach", some awesome kindred spirit in the universe has created a music video utilising some gnarly vintage film footage of surf, beaches, and bad boy surfers to accompany Turnstyle's "Ridging A Wave" in a such a way that I cannot help but fall in love with this addition to my Summer Jams 2013 mixtape all over again.

Acid Mothers Temple: What You Got in That Bag?

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 23, 2012 12:12pm | Post a Comment
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Japanese psychedelic ensemble Acid Mothers Temple (and their countless subsequent appendages) are the stuff of legend. If one was to assemble a who's who of the SF underground (or otherwise) music scene of the last fifteen years for an A.M.T. campfire story tell-a-thon there would be so much surreal-deep dish served you'd think you'd have invented a freaky new kind of supper club. But whatever their exploits, be it the creation of long-distance, guru-level tripper jams or the pursuit of perfection via stones, women and long-player records the guys (& dolls) of Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. always seem to me to be the closest I'll ever get to meeting, and I mean this in the most literal tense, a real life star trekker. They stop by Amoeba Music's galactic sector just about every time they play San Francisco (at least once a year it seems) and I cannot reiterate the fact that though they may share some resemblance to the usual off-brand Haight Street flotsam placed beyond the pale one cannot help but recognize the particular presence of Kawabata et al as a refreshing whiff of wizardry in the real. Check out what A.M.T. master shamans Makoto Kawabata and Atsushi Tsuyama picked up on their most recent trip below in this recent addition to Amoeba Music "What's In My Bag?" discovery video series, now with more Acid Mothers Temple!

Korean Psych-Folk Classic, NOW, Back On Wax!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 31, 2012 03:53pm | Post a Comment
Sometimes nothing brings more pride and satisfaction to the Amoeba Music experience than browsing the selections in vinyl new arrivals and finding a classic, diamond-in-the-rough title like Now by Kim Jung Mi and songwriter/producer/arranger/guitar shaman Shin Joong Hyun properly reissued with loving care!

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Recorded in 1973 during the height of Korea's rock music scene, this little elemental wonder, reminiscent of Fairport Convention's savvy blending of folk-tradition-meets-kaleidoscopic-rock, is chock full of poetic musings about springtime weather patterns and other precious things voiced by Shin's protegée Kim Jung Mi - a bookish wallflower-cum-chanteuse à la Marianne Faithful or Francois Hardy. The newly reissued version of this quintessence of psychedelia features Korean/English lyric translations, rare photos, re-mastered audio, and comprehensive liner notes by Kevin "Sipreano" Howes and Shin Joong Hyun expert Jae-Myeong Ro (director of the Korean Classical Music Record Museum, and author of the book Shin Joong Hyun and Beautiful Country. The 180 gram vinyl version of Now comes in a deluxe old-style jacket, avec obi, and has a full color insert with liner notes and rare photos. Scoop yours up soon!

Also, it must be said that this record rates high on the list of apropos album artwork in relation to the record's overall sound. But don't take my word for it, find out for yourself! Click play on the album's opening track below and have a long, lingering look at that cover photo. Careful now, overexposure might lead to excessive use of the word "vibe" as a verb and an unconscious referral to the word "energy" in the plural form.

Kim Jung Mi - "Haenim"

Private Pressings Go Public

Posted by Rick Frystak, January 31, 2012 02:05pm | Post a Comment
Anyone who wants to can make an LP record! Yes, anybody, and it’s always been like that. Why can’t the world hear your creativity? Break out of those bedroom studios and living rooms and lounges and let the people know of your greatness! Why work all your life on your axe and never be heard by the masses? Who needs to wait for a major label to sign you to a rip-off contact? Call ACME Records and they’ll make a short-run pressing for you if you have the dough.  

Vanity pressings and small labels have always floated just under the surface of the platters you’d see in Billboard. My friends made some back in those days. Faces filled of hope, fame and just plain good-old personal righteousness. Words like “Real People”, “Outsider”, “Loner Folk”, “Xain Psych”, and “Steakhouse pressing” are just some of the many tags tossed about now about this history. And they’re filled with samples galore if you dig that sort of thing. Who doesn’t need a 5-second turnaround out of a live version of “Raindrops Are Fallin’ On My Head”?

These are not the Holy-Grail garage records. These aren’t the $1000 regional soul records. Just “real people" doing hard work and craft, and they're all available on Amoeba’s site to the first-come! Just click the title and see if they’re still there.  
 
 
Steve Jolliffe
Steve Jolliffe

Journeys Out Of The Body
Nada Pulse Records U.K. 1983

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