Monday, December 10, 2007

A Few of Your Favorite Things: Japanese Rock

Given what I considered the great success of the project last year, I've again asked some of my readers and friends to write about their favorite cultural object or event of 2007. People tended to write longer this year -- a trend of which I heartily approve -- so I'm presenting them one at a time, as opposed to last year's groups. The author's name appears at the bottom of each post. Enjoy.
My cultural event of the year was reading Julian Cope's book Japrocksampler: How the Post-war Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock ‘n’ Roll, the aftershocks of which are still being felt with some force and volume around our house. In the introduction, Cope writes: "I guarantee that a detailed study of this book will have you re-thinking your attitudes to music, art, time... indeed, life itself. Yowzah!" The first time I read this, just three calendar months ago, I glossed over it. But I was wrong to do so; this is a factually accurate description of what this book does. It may seem übernerdish to say that a book about obscure Japanese prog-rock can perform a cultural trepanning operation on your Head. But I am only here to report the truth. Hearing some of this music for the first time – Satori by Flower Travellin' Band, for instance, or Magical Power Mako's eponymous debut – is not just a trip in itself, it forces a reevaluation of some of the hoariest old chestnuts on the chestnut tree – Funkadelic, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, to name but three – making you feel like you're hearing them for the first time, too. It made me look further afield for art whose exclusion from the Canon constitutes a recommendation in itself: Lovecraft, Machen, Huysmans. And it has made me think hard about my uptight, "correct" attitudes to music, art, time... indeed, life itself. Yowzah!

--Andy Miller


Blogger Jason said...

Andy, just wondering how difficult it has been finding any of the recommended albums inside. Have you read the previous entry re: Germany?

11:39 AM  

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