måndag 28 mars 2011

Kimio Mizutani - A Path Through Haze (Japansk Underground 1971)


350:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Eftertraktad utgåva.)

Kimio Mizutani - A Path Through Haze CD. Recent Japanese compact disc reissue of ultra rare early 70s Japanese underground rock. Kimio Mizutani was the guitarist in the excellent Japanese freak out group Love Live Life +1 and this is a long-desired reissue of his first solo album from 1971, originally issued by Japanese Polydor. Mizutani plays electric and "folk" guitar, leading a largish rock ensemble (bass, drums, organ, Moog, vocals, etc.) through the paces of what is widely regarded as on the true psychedelic masterpieces of the early 70s Japanese scene. Sensitive interludes (with accompaniment by the Toyama String Quartet and Etoh Wood Quartet), tasteful nods to progressive/fusionist extension and lovely psych guitar hover by Mizutani dominate the proceedings. A nice merger of hard rock conceptualization and the complexities that would evolve from it -- and until now just about impossible to hear within the confines of Western society.

VOLCANIC TONGUE: 1971 solo LP, the only album that Japanese guitar god Kimio Mizutani (Uganda/Love Live Life +1 et al) cut as a leader. Here he heads a big band that also features keyboardist Kuni Kawachi and pianist Masahiko Satoh. Julian Cope has a blind-spot for this album in Japrocksampler - but then he dissed the Brush LP, so go figure... I picked it up when it came out on CD years ago in Japan and I still dig it. It mostly consists of delicate orchestral arrangements blown to pieces by Mizutani’s fuzztone lead guitar, generating the kind of surreal headspace that would meld operatic Eastern sonorities with outside garage punk stylings and progressive jazz. If it hardly put Mizutani on the map, it still stands as one of the weirdest marriages of Japanese chamber music and endless distorto guitar ever sunk by a major label. This reissue comes in a replica sleeve and on heavy vinyl. Another fascinating slice of Japanese underground rock history.

JULIAN COPE: Although essentially a session guitarist, Jun ‘Kimio’ Mizutani is best known for his contributions to such classic early ‘70s albums as LOVE WILL MAKE A BETTER YOU by Love Live Life +1, the self-titled Uganda LP and People’s BUDDHA MEETS ROCK. Along the way, the ex-Out Cast member also released one star-studded LP of his own in A PATH THROUGH HAZE. Taking his lead from Masahiko Satoh’s LP of the same name, Mizutani delivered a record of Zappa-styled instrumentals, accompanioed by Satoh himself and Foodbrain’s Hiro Yanagida. The LP was all recorded in a single monster session, in the huge Nippon Gramophon No. 1 Studio, on June 7th 1971, and featured the Toyama String Quartet and Etoh Wood Quartet to further explore the Zappa-meets-jazz consciousness that was so prevalent at the time. Indeed, the record comes across like an album by Glenn Phillips or even something akin to John McLaughlin’s DEVOTION, though without the supreme euphoria achieved on the latter. Besides Mizutani’s rendition of Satoh’s epic title track, the other pieces were ‘Sail In The Sky’, ‘Turning Point’, ‘Tell Me What You Saw’, ‘One For Janis’, ‘Sabbath Day's Sable’, ‘A Bottle Of Codeine’ and ‘Way Out’.

01. Path Through The Haze 5:56
02. Sail In The Sky 7:20
03. Turning Point 3:47
04. Tell Me What You Saw 4:54
05. One For Janis 6:28
06. Sabbath Day's Sable 4:04
07. A Bottle Of Codeine 7:18
08. Way Out 4:01