Kuni Kawachi & the Flower Travelling Band - Kirikyogen (Japanese Hardrock 1970)

Selasa, 30 Oktober 2012

Size: 70.1 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Kuni Kawachi & Flower Travelling Band CD. Reissue of Kuni Kawachi's ultra-rare Kirikyogen album recorded in 1970 with members of The Flower Travellin' Band. Stunning record with great Hideki Ishema burning guitarwork and vocals from Joe! Sounds like a lost Flower Travellin' Band album except it's a bit more progressive overall. 

Beginning his career in the Group Sounds act The Happenings Four, keyboard player Kuni Kawachi will nevertheless probably always be best remembered for his writing contributions to Tokyo Kid Brothers’ version of THROW AWAY THE BOOKS, WE’RE GOING OUT ON THE STREETS, and also for his prescient employment of Flower Travellin’ Band members on his first LP KIRIKYOGEN. Indeed, despite the strung out elegance of that solo record having spanned several genres, the appearance on lead vocals of Akira ‘Joe’ Yamanaka has guaranteed KIRIKYOGEN a rightful place in rock’n’roll history, and a more genuinely listenable Japrock art statement you’d be hard pressed to find. Moreover, Kawachi’s early version of Flower’s ‘Map’ is, to some ears, even better than the later ‘original’. For his second LP, 1972’s LOVE SUKI DAIKIRAI, Kawachi turned to the ubiquitous Jun ‘Kimio’ Mizutani, former teen raver with garage band Out Cast, whose lead guitar had informed such legendary LPs as People’s BUDDHA MEETS ROCK and LOVE WILL MAKE A BETTER YOU by Love Live Life +1. 

Mizutani’s own highly rated solo album A PATH THROUGH HAZE was co-written by Masahiko Satoh along with Kawachi, whose painting is featured across the gatefold inner. In his later years, Kawachi moved north to become a farmer in Hokkaido, keeping his musical hand in writing TV commercials. A couple of years ago, his old Group Sounds band reformed, and are said to have played Kawachi’s KIRIKYOGEN in its entirety. 

Some records are destined to be footnotes, or tangents, no matter how good they are. There's "Far Out" by the band of the same name, which is usually treated as a pre-Far East Family Band curiosity, instead of the brilliant stand alone album it actually is. More to the point, there's "Kirikyogen" (named after a theater actor, according to the liner notes,) the first solo album by Happenings Four keyboardist Kuni Kawachi, which is often treated as a lost Flower Travellin' Band album.

It's understandable, though: billed as "Kuni Kawachi and Friends," it features FTB vocalist Joe Yamanaka and FTB guitarist Hideki Ishima on every track, and both of those guys are hard to mistake for anyone else. There's also ("Music Composed Mainly By Humans") to consider, as it became Flower Travellin' Band's "Map" the following year. But FTB's secret weapon...the thoroughly out there rhythm section of Jun Kobayashi and Joji Wada...is absent, replaced by a mystery bassist and drummer (seriously, I can't find any credit for those two instruments anywhere.) So while much of FTB's signature sound is on display in the superficial sense, closer examination reveals a very different heart beating inside this black and white cover.

("Cemetery Of Love") is a good example: a somber but oddly uplifting, sitar driven number that builds to a "House Of The Rising Sun" style climax, it's tempered with light piano flourishes and a incense drenched feel that is quite at odds with Yamanaka and Ishima's usual output. Then there's the "Ramble On" rewrite of ("Classroom Of Women,") all bongos and sprightly acoustic guitar. ("Scientific Investigation") mixes third album Velvet Underground with a driving, understated beat, placid toy xylophone, and chiming guitars.

The title track actually prefigures the sound of FTB's "Make Up," heavy keyboards and pounding interludes pointing the way. Ironically, one of the songs that swings closest to the Flower Travellin' Band aesthetic is also the one that deviates the furthest. ("Time Machine") is a strange, strange track, oscillating between a mournful, mechanical churn (with lyrics that consist entirely of the title) and trippy, free form randomness (Ishima even works in a sly reference to the theme from "The Twilight Zone.") It stops and starts, stops and starts, two very different approaches balancing and complimenting each other as they melt into one thoroughly odd track. The faux military rhythm is just the sort of curveball Kobayashi and Wada would throw in FTB, but the spaced out passages belong to Kawachi. This song can really get under your skin if you let it.

Kawachi would make another album with this lineup, "Love Suki Daikirai," then continue on a solo career that would see him scoring television shows, only occasionally venturing out into the world of rock 'n' roll. He also reportedly moved to Hokkaido to become a farmer (!) "Kirikyogen," despite its excellence and all star lineup, all but disappeared in the following years (vinyl copies sell for utterly insane prices.) The album was even bootlegged, juggling the song order and taking the title "Music Composed Mainly By Humans," but somehow still managing to be very difficult to come by. Super Fuji has recently reissued it in a cardboard, mini LP sleeve, complete with a remastering job that sounds fantastic. Pick it up before it vanishes back into the ether.

01. Kirikyogen (5:09) 
02. Works Composed Mainly By Humans (5:46) 
03. Time Machine (7:48) 
04. To Your World (6:33) 
05. Graveyard Of Love (4:11) 
06. Classroom For Women (3:26) 
07. Scientific Investigation (3:54) 

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