Amoeblog

Psych Folk legend Eiichi Ohtaki dies at 65

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 10, 2014 04:01pm | Post a Comment
japanese singer songwriter folk rock acid musician producer psych happy end eiichi ohtaki eulogy dies dead 65 influential legend

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.

happy end eiichi ohtaki takashi matsumoto shigeru suzuki haruomi hosono apryl fool yellow magic orchestra japanese folk rock psych acid

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)

These Streets of Hers: Jessica Pratt is All But Owning Her Home Turf

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 14, 2012 07:10pm | Post a Comment
jessica pratt brith records tim presley white fence san francisco folk singer songwriter debut lp vinly record 2012 jp stevie nicks private press retro canyon joni mitchell joanna newsom interest
San Francisco songstress Jessica Pratt is blowing up. She's on fire. She's on fire and blowing up. Since her debut album of lush, hand-picked folk melodies dropped a just few months ago demand for Jessica's debut, simply titled JP, has become as difficult to keep up with as the multitude of glowing reviews surfacing all over the interwebs lauding Ms. Pratt's ability to make everyone mistake her bewitching, home-brewed folkways for that of retro private press obscurities. If you think this isn't going to be yet another reverent review let me get right to the point: believe the hype.
jessica pratt
Like so many jewels that cannot stay buried in the deep forever, Jessica Pratt has risen above the morass of the San Francisco music scene like a diamond atoll emerging from an ocean of acts drowning in their own in reverb, reciprocity, and relative "esoteric" influences. A momentous feat for any solo musician, let alone any woman, struggling just to tread water in the threadbare, barely-there music industry these days.

That Tim (White Fence) Presley launched his label Birth Records just to put Ms. Pratt's record out speaks to the immediacy of her music. It's a sound that cannot help but conjure familiar feelings upon first listen (for any vinyl junkie anyway), and the comparisons are flying. Presley himself has oft been quoted as saying she brings to mind  "Stevie Nicks singing over David Crosby demos" and others have pointed to the way in which her vocal stylings bait and switch Nicks, Joanna Newsom, and Karen Dalton among many others. While we're at it, I'd like suggest the inclusion of Dolly Parton to pinch hit in this approximation game as the fluttery trails Pratt punctuates her lyrical lines with in songs like "Hollywood" and "Half Twain the Jesse" resemble Dolly's vocal filigree.
jessica pratt
I have to admit, however, I find all these comparisons tacky and terribly trapped-in-the-90's buzzbin in the sense that any woman that ever flaunted a decidedly "unique" voice back then was appraised by nineties alterna-trinity: Björk/Tori Amos/P.J. Harvey. For me, it's offensive to struggle to assay the impression of a fresh voice with those we already know and love because burdens the emerging artist with the luster, or shadow, of an others' work. While I cannot deny the correlation of Jessica Pratt's magic to that Newsom or any other would-be contemporary, it should be noted that as far as patently "unique" voices go s. Pratt's is just about as unequivocal as they come.

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Uni Rides Again! Lover's Cliche CD Release Show this Saturday, April 21!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 20, 2012 12:17pm | Post a Comment
uni & her ukelele lover's cliche uke ukulele song show pony cd release show amnesia
Attention party-people! Smack some color on those lips, forget about fastening those top two buttons and get ready kick off your high-heel sneakers 'cause this Saturday night Uni & her Ukelele will be taking the stage early for a sunset (show begins at 5, Uni goes on around 6:30pm) show at Amnesia in San Francisco to promote the release of her latest album Lover's Cliché - an infectious pop record full of heart and heady hooks that is, I can personally guarantee, the only thing missing from the Springtime of your life if you are not bumping it right now. Get into the barrage of choice Uni & her Ukelele visual stimuli that follow and be ready to shake it with Uni at Amnesia this Saturday. This hard-working show pony is the very model of a self-made professional musician and when she brings it, it is just too much good. DING!