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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Japrocksampler divides into two parts.
Alan Cummings, the most knowledgeable and bilingual British scholar of Japanese alternative music, writes articles for the Wire but has japrocksampoer yet written a stand-alone text. 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 Experimental violinist Takehisa Kosugi takes time out from the avant-garde to compose music for the children’s cartoon series Atom Boy.
As a music commentator, Cope is passionately opinionated, which is both his strength and his weakness.
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? 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. But in a book as over-amplifi ed as this, acoustic guitars don’t register.
Julian Cope presents
At first, Cope’s trademark hipster hyperbole seems to have been tamed by the challenge of elucidating a subject so obscure to most readers. Passionate, pithy, and portable, Krautrocksampler was wittily styled as a pocket-sized field guide along the lines of the Observer Book of Birds. Other books on the subject are not on off er. In parallel to the way Amon Duul were involved in Germany’s commune-dwelling counterculture and allegedly had ties to Baader-Meinhof, one member of Les Rallizes Denudes participated in the Japanese Red Army’s hi-jacking of a Boeing Indeed, his potted history of post- Tokugawa dynasty Japan strikes a formal tone not far removed from that of a Victorian essayist: A young Yoko Ono attempts suicide in frustration at being upstaged by her first husband Toshi.
As a work of scholarship, Japrocksampler is slapdash and error-strewn. Especially early on, there’s a self-conscious air of scholarship.
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. His ultra-vivid and hilariously over-the-top descriptions of a legion of German post-psychedelic records suggested that this prolific musician he’s just released his umpteenth solo album, You Gotta Problem With Me might have missed his true vocation as a Lester Bangs-style advocate.
T welve years ago Julian Cope published his celebrated celebration of s German cosmic rock. No, We Are Spiders! Uulian and Japrocksampler are decidedly different, however. 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.
Music books Julian Cope reviews. Topics Music The Observer. New Crimson Petal Stories is published by Canongate.
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.
All human life is here, somewhat mangled in translation. Behind its showbiz gossip and shamanistic mythmaking, we catch glimpses of another Japan, a Japan that eludes understanding.
Less adventurous readers may simply enjoy the japrockxampler about a host of chancers, mad idealists, Buddhist gangsters, Monkees clones “Are We Not Crazy Cats? If Cope’s exaltation of Les Rallizes Denudes seems like 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.
Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM
One larger idea he does grapple with is the Japanese talent for mimesis. Either way, a certain windy ponderousness of phrase and tone creeps into the prose now and then, suggestive less of long hair and loon pants than of donnish tweed and leather-patched elbows.
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. 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.
For that matter, Julian Cope’s Krautrocksampler is out of print too. 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?