Agentss – Compactos (1982 – 83)

coverThe Brazilian music scene from the 70s was not very favorable to Rock, much seen with reservations by the Generals of the time; Brazil was still a country devoted entirely to the MPB (phonographically speaking), even with names like Rita Lee and Raul Seixas, rock did not have a dedicated ground for the public, marginalized, without many projections in the mass media and also without a show-business structure that favored them. But with the turn of the decade, it began to assert itself and during 1981/82, the beginning of a new generation no longer restricted to the MPB arose. More open to the world musical context, as the ideal of the punk movement (do-it-yourself) and the colorful entertaining bands from the New Wave.

Youngsters who were born under the years of lead, dreamed of a freer style of music, by the time psychedelia and progressive rock with their remote themes and 15 minutes trips, little or nothing dialogue with the backdrop of the beach, sun, and Rio’s sea. Note that in São Paulo (concrete jungle) those same longings became the Vanguarda Paulista and the birth of the punk movement, not as accessible as their brothers in Rio (these and other developments will be addressed in future posts).

Começo do Fim do Mundo
Começo do Fim do Mundo

The precursors of so-called BRock were the Cariocas from Gang 90, and his debut at the MPB-Shell festival in August 1981 with the song Perdidos na Selva. From there, three factors contributed to the formation and dissemination of a new musical explosion with its apex culminating in the realization of the first Rock in Rio in January 1985.

They are: the foundation of Circo Voador (a playhouse) in January 82 in Ipanema, the premiere of Fluminense FM (Maldita), first radio to play (solely) rock in national territory, and the organization of the first punk festival, Começo do Fim do Mundo on November 82, at the newly inaugurated SESC Pompeia.

Some BRock bands: Gang 90, Blitz, Paralamas do Sucesso, Barão Vermelho, Kid Abelha, Lobão, Lulu Santos, Legião Urbana, Ira!…

Circo Voador
Circo Voador

Let’s go to our history:

The political opening exhaustively repeated by the militaries as slow, gradual and safe, began at the end of the 70s, under strong repression of the right sectors that were contrary to the process initiated by the Amnesty Law in 1979. Numerous bombings throughout 1980 and 1981 attempted to cause a climate of political and social instability, culminating with the Rio Centro case: a bomb exploded in a parking lot inside a Puma car, killing the sergeant Guilherme Ferreira do Rosario and seriously injuring the captain Wilson Luís Chaves Machado, both linked to DOI-CODI (sic).

The bomb exploded while being handled, and prepared to be detonated near the Rio Centro lightbox in order to cut power and generate panic among the regulars of the show which was held in celebration of Labor Day, more than 20,000 people participating along with numerous music artists!

Riocentro Bombings
Riocentro Bombings

On occasion, the government blamed the radical left for the attacks. This hypothesis had no support at the time and has been debunked, including a confession, proved that the attack was an attempt of more radical sectors of government (the CIE and SNI) to convince more moderate sectors that were required a new wave of repression in order to paralyze the slow political openness that was in progress. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

After a trip to the U.S. in the early 80s, Kodiak Bachine decides to start a band inspired by punk and new waves groups that had watched and heard. With a new look, Kodiak has teamed up with guitarists Miguel Barella (Voluntários da Pátria) and Eduardo Amarante (Zero). Beyond them were part Lyses Pupo (bass) and drummer Elias Glik. The quintet had a strong line with the Talking Heads, B-52’s, Kraftwerk, Blondie, Devo, Gary Numan, and Brian Eno. The seminal group pioneer in Brazil’s new-wave movement incorporated elements of electronic music and minimalist, making extensive use of icons and scenery that aided in the spread of brand new musical ideas and concepts in the emerging Electro-Pop of the 80s.

Agentss
Agentss

Kodiak sang, he said, in eletrotranzlyric, a dialect of his own invention that mixed Portuguese, English, German, and extraterrestrial languages​​. (!) After the release of the first single, the band performed three shows in 1982, the first on 25 September at Ilhas do Sul theater. Soon it became a cult among youngsters in São Paulo, taking a loyal following of admirers who filled the places where the band performed. With only five shows in one year, they left a lasting impression on the scene. With no label support or sponsorship, the band was hampered and cannot make more shows.

Kodiak, Live
Kodiak, Live

The Agentss recorded only two compacts being the first, in 1981, an independent production, released in 1982. The second was released by WEA label with musical production by Pena Schmidt in 1983. The group broke up amicably at the end of 1983 for philosophical reasons, Miguel Barella formed Voluntários da PátriaEduardo Amarante and Thomas Susemihl formed Azul 29 (also a pioneer in Electro-Pop). Later, Eduardo joined Guilherme Isnard and formed Zero, while Kodiak went solo.

This is one of those bands where you wonder why you haven’t known them before (?!), their leader Kodiak Bachine, is one of the most underrated keyboardists, a specialist in short bands but with great importance in the Brazilian context. With its futuristic synths and a vanguard proposal for the time, the band, unfortunately, did not achieve much publicity, being limited to São Paulo. A curious fact from the second compact is its cover, the first produced entirely on a computer, being photographed and reproduced because there was no way to print the same!

Computer Cover
Computer Cover

As it is only 4 songs, let’s give a chance to all of them, but let me advance you something, the title track Agentss is something beyond the expectations, being modern and exciting even to this day. With satyrical and humorous lyrics about radiation, robots, and computers this domestically unknown band goes way off our traditional psychedelia so far, get ready for AGENTSS. நல்லபயணம்!

Some more BRock bands: Inocentes, Capital Inicial, Titãs, RPM, Violeta de Outono, Plebe Rube, Camisa de Vênus, Ultraje A Rigor, Cólera…

Tracks Include:

1982

A Angra (Orion)

B Agentss (Duo, Kodiak)

Scorpius 22.101.003

Guitar – Orion Mike (Miguel Barella)

Guitar – Duo Enkanativa (Eduardo Amarante)

Voice, Synths & Keyboards – Kodiak Bachine

Drums – Roberto L. Antônio

Bass – Luiz F. Portela

Drums on AngraArmando Tibério Júnior

Credits

Engineered by – Pedro Franck Nemeth

Assisted by – Dom Elder

Mixed by – Pedro Franck Nemeth + Duo + Kodiak

Photo – Fritz Nagib

Recorded in São Paulo, August, 1981

Flyer, Logo
Flyer, Logo

1983

A Professor Digital

B Cidade Industrial

Elektra ‎BR.12.123

  • Bass, Backing Vocals – Thomas Susemihl
  • Drums – Elias Glik
  • Guitar – Miguel Barella
  • Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer – Eduardo Amarante
  • Voice, Synthesizers – Kodiak Bachine
  • Engineer – Ivo Barreto
  • Art Direction – Guti
  • Producer – Pena Schmidt

Recorded At – Estúdio Áudio Patrulha

Computer Vax 11/700

Rock In Rio, 1985
Rock In Rio, 1985

Sarolta Zalatnay – Tükörkép (1980)

cover

Hungary. Following periods of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Magyarország was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 AD, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. Hungary became a middle power and part of the Western world by the 12th century. After the Battle of Mohács and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation, Hungary became part of the Habsburg, and later formed part of the Austro–Hungarian Empire.

Hungary’s current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after WWI. The country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. (!) On the side of the Axis Powers, Hungary also suffered great damages in WWII, during its four decades-long communist dictatorships (1947–1989), the country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its border with Austria in 1989, previously restricted by the Iron Curtain, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.

Traditional Dance and Costumes
Traditional Dance and Costumes

On 23 October 1989, Hungary again became a democratic parliamentary republic, and now it is a developed country, only standing behind Austria and Slovenia (its bordered countries) in HDI indices. Nowadays, Hungary is a very popular tourist destination attracting 10.2 million tourists a year!

Let’s go to our history:

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. It was the first major threat to Soviet control since the USSR’s forces drove out the Nazis at the end of WWII and occupied Eastern Europe. Despite the failure of the uprising, it was highly influential and came to play a role in the downfall of the Soviet Union decades later.

Public Demonstrations
Public Demonstrations

The revolt began as a student demonstration, which attracted thousands as they marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building, calling out on the streets using a van with loudspeakers via Radio Free Europe. A student delegation entering the radio building to try to broadcast the students’ demands was detained. When the delegation’s release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. As the news spread, disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

The revolt spread quickly across Hungary and the government collapsed. Thousands organized into militias, battling the ÁVH and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned and former prisoners were released and armed. Radical impromptu workers’ councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People’s Party and demanded political changes. A new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.

Women's Militia
Women’s Militia

After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo (Central Committee of the Communist Party) changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. The Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. (!) Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter, by January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions, while strengthening control over Eastern Europe, alienated many Western Marxists.

Stalin's Head
Stalin’s Head

But how music has been influenced over the years that followed? Let us understand a little that other context.

Hungarian popular music in the early 20th century consisted of light operettas and the Roma music of various styles. Nagymező Utca, the Broadway of Budapest, was a major center for popular music and boasted enough nightclubs and theaters. In 1945, however, this era abruptly ended and popular music was mostly synonymous with the patriotic songs imposed by the Russian Communists.

In 1956, however, liberalization began with the three Ts (tűrés, tiltás, támogatás, meaning toleration, prohibition, support), and a long period of cultural struggle began, starting with a battle over African-American jazz. Jazz became a part of Hungarian music in the early 20th century but did not achieve widespread renown until the 1970s, when Hungary began producing internationally known performers like the Benko Dixieland Band (below) and Bela Szakcsi Lakatos.

BDB
BDB

In the early 60s, Hungarian youths began listening to rock in droves, in spite of condemnation from the authorities. Three bands dominated the scene by the beginning of the 70s, Illés, Metró, and Omega, all three of which had released at least one Lp. A few other bands recorded singles, but the Record-Producing Company, a state-run record label, did not promote these bands, which quickly disappeared.

In 1968, the New Economic Mechanism was introduced, intending on revitalizing the Hungarian economy; in the 70s, however, the Russians cracked down on subversives in Hungary, and rock was a major target. (!) Illés was banned from performing and recording, while Metró and Omega left for exile. Some of the members of these bands formed a supergroup, Locomotiv GT, that quickly became very famous. Bands like Piramis and Skorpio kept the underground prog-rock scene alive. These bands also succeeded to get more in the mainstream by supporting female singers like Kati KovácsZsuzsa Koncz and Sarolta Zalatnay on their albums.

Locomotiv GT, 74
Locomotiv GT, 74′

But further, rock bands in the late 70s mostly had to conform to the Record Company’s demands and ensure that all songs passed the inspection of the Song Committee, who scoured looking for ideological disobedience (sic). Locomotiv GT was the most prominent band of a classic rock style, along with Bergendy. Meanwhile, the disco style of electronic music produced such performers as the officially-sanctioned and praised Neoton Familia and Judith Szűcs.

The following decades saw the entrance and growth of punk, new wave, clubbing, electronic dance, as well as the end of the (infamous) Record Production Company and with the fall of the wall greater freedom of expression and paths.

Let’s go to our album:

Sarolta Zalatnay born on December 14, 1947, as Charlotte Sacher, grew up in Budapest. At the age of 16 she auditions as a singer with the folk/jazz band Bergendy. They started recording old fashioned melodies but soon changed into more modern material. With the band she appeared in the Hungarian Television’s song contest named Táncdalfesztivál in 1963 with the song Hol Jár Az Eszem?

Mid 60s
Mid 60s

The band developed a style that would be known as Beat Ablak and Zalatnay was pushed forward as lead singer. In 1967 under her nickname Cini she won the contest with the song Nem Várok Holnapig, which was accompanied by the Hungarian rock group Omega. It gave her a chance for a study/trip to Paris and London in 1968-69 during which she got acquainted with the members of the Bee Gees group.

Back in Hungary in 1969 the musical climate already changed and with Metro, she records some singles before state label Qualitation releases her debut album Ha Fiú Lehetnék in 1970. Her breakthrough came when she performed in the alternative musical movie Szép Lányock, Ne Sírjatok. In 1971 she wins first prize in the Dance Song Contest with Fák, Virágok, Fény. With Locomotiv GT she started recording two follow up albums. Hitherto, her albums sold over 400.000 copies. (!)

70s Look
The 70s Look

In 1973 she broke with the LGT team to switch to Skorpio with whom she recorded the album Hadd Mondjam El including elements of funk, beat and synthesizer experiments. Responsible for this was pianist Gyula Papp. LGT meanwhile started to record with singer Kati Kovacs which turned competitive with Zalatnay. In 1974 she got married to Sándor Révész (singer of Piramis), but they divorced later on.

At the start of the eighties Zalatnay’s star started to fade next to a whole new musical scene, she turned to write an autobiography called New Vagyok En Apaca. In 1987 she married László Benedek and got a daughter in 1989. Since 1995 she also became active as chairman of the Hungarian Animal Protection and Nature Federation.

In 1995 she married her third husband Márton Csaba, a porn director. Although not a very faithful husband he swept Sarolta into a TV-production venture called CiNN TV, he also persuaded her to pose for Playboy! In 2004 she appeared in the Hungarian Big Brother days before she had to sit out a three-year prison sentence for tax fraud. This also was the end of her marriage. In prison she worked in a new book and in 2009 she performed again for a documentary about her life. In February 2009 she released a second biography with a new album Magadat Vállalni Kell.

After this little lesson, we will stick to the album, perhaps her last great commercial success from the 70s, again she is accompanied by a great band: Karthago. Headlong into the Disco wave his romantic side also emerges in certain moments, in whole this is a bit different from Hadd Mondjam El but still deserves your care.

Lately
Lately Portrait

Sarolta has the voice of Janis Joplin with a Hungarian temper, a nose for good bands and a lascivious body. She was there at the forefront in the sixties and seventies with bands like Omega, Locomotiv GT and Skorpio. A phenomenon in Hungary and hardly known outside. Her career after 1990 has been laced with dodgy marriages, uncontrolled TV appearances and being prey for the paparazzi. Lately, she gets some recognition abroad due to a finders-keepers re-press released in 2009.

The ‘IM’ highlights are: Add Vissza a Babaruhát, a heavy clavinet funky-disco with Sarolta’s harsh voice, boogie chorus, synth-strings, light percussion and an invitation to not leave the dance floor, get down! And Karnevál a Hungarian attempt to portray the carnival, this stimulant song brings us a little of folklore guitars, woodwinds and a great performance from the diva by the end. Jó Utat!

Tracks Include:

A1 Széttört Tükörkép

A2 Mondd Nekem

A3 Életképek

A4 Add Vissza A Babaruhát

A5 Mindig Kell Egy Barát

B1 R’ And R’

B2 Százszor Visszaadok Mindent

B3 Karnevál

B4 Hozzám Tartozol (feat. Máté Péter)

B5 Tükörkép

Credits

  • Backing Band – Karthago
  • Conductor (Orchestra) – Bolba Lajos
  • Directed by (Musical Director) – Kószás László
  • Engineer – Szita István
  • Written by – S. Nagy István, Máté Péter (A1 to A3, B1, B2, B5)
  • A4, A5, B3 and B4 by – Zalatnay Sarolta

Pepita ‎– SLPX 17612

Released in December, 1979

Budapest, Look On
Budapest, Look On

Turkish Female Mixtape ~ 2013

kamuran akkor cópia

Turkey. A country that divides two continents, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is localized at the Bosphorus Strait, the legendary bridge that divides the European continent of Asia. This geographical division ended up influencing the Turkish customs and its diverse and rich ancient culture. By owning the shortest route in intercontinental passages, historically the only way between the civilizations of East and West, the country became an important center of trade and constant migration transit. With several occupations throughout his history, such as Hittites, Assyrians, Hellenization, and Byzantine Empire, Mongols, and lastly, the Ottoman Empire, Turkey mainly thanks to its rebirth to one single individual: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Atatürk
Atatürk

Credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey, after defeating the Ottoman Empire in WWI, Atatürk embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the underdeveloped country into a modern, secular and democratic nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, while the taxation on peasants was reduced. The constant economic growth continued until WWII, based upon a blend between liberalism and state interventions.

He died in 1938, and the so-called single-party period ended with the war, then, a multiparty democracy emerged and so the development from the post-war period began to fade. The usual tensions from the period strengthened in 1960 with the first of four military coup d’états, that lasted more than 35 years. (!)

Adnan Menderes, 1960 Coup
Adnan Menderes, 1960 Coup

Let’s go to our history:

Anatolian Rock (Anadolu Rock) arises on the mid-’60s, as in many other countries, with the definitive entrance of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and many other bands. That western invasion would influence the basis of the movement along with Turkish folk traditions, instruments, and tunes.

From 1968 to 1975 multiple artists/bands popped through the radio airwaves and television to became nationally acclaimed, during this time Turkey saw the golden age of psychedelic, prog, folk and pop acts (sung in Turkish) such as Cem Karaca, Edip Akbayram, Baris Manço, Erkin Koray, Mogollar, Apaslar, and Kardaslar.

Mustache Rock
Mustache Rock

With dozens of records and singles, this movement had some tolerance with the military governments, though, after 1975, the situation changed and repression tightened. Not that this period did not leave death and repression in their wake, quite the contrary, as seen in the invasion of Cyprus and the strifes between ultra-nationalists and communists. A lot of artists were arrested, banned or boycotted, until the ’80s more than 5000 Turkish were killed in many different conflicts!

But none of these artists had women on the front, that’s why we’ll have a dedicated post to some of these bands later (including the legendary Selda Bagcan), with deeper biography and info; today we focus on an unusual side of Anatolian Rock, with some other influences, like disco, synth-pop, jazz and sugar ballads.

Cyprus Invasion
Cyprus Invasion

Let’s go to our mixtape:

The Turkish pop scene always has kept its exotic character mixing influences from the Ottoman, Anatolian, and Arabesque culture. Combined with western pop it makes music that, for western ears, is build on the atonal orchestral melodies and western sounding blues and pop. On the other hand, you had the Turkish folk music (Türk Halk Müziği) has combined the distinct cultural values of all those civilizations which have lived in Anatolia and the Ottoman territories in Europe and Asia.

Now, this is an umbrella genre since there are many forms of folk like Türkü (folksongs), Destan (epic) or instrumental dance music like Halay, Bengi, Karşılama or Zeybek. And lastly was the traditional music of the Middle East and the Raqs Sharqi (belly dance) influence to the forming of Turkish pop music!

Arabesque Music
Arabesque Music

Here is our Kadin!

Asu Maralman

asu maralman cópia

Bal Gibi Olur (1977 single) /// Yollar (homonym 1980 Lp)

With Armenian blood in the lineage, Silva Bursalıoğlu, began his musical studies on piano and chant at the age of 5. The youngest daughter of three, his mother was an opera singer and helped her to debut on musical stages alongside with his sister on the early ’60s. Performing, in the beginning, on weddings, university festivals and later as the main singer in a professional orchestra. After his first marriage, in 1968, she changed her name to Asu Maralman. Its first single came out in 1971 and her career was characterized by the release of several singles throughout the ’70s.

Toured across Germany, USA, and Canada on the ’80s, after this period the pace of its career slowly wane. Recently the Eski 45’likler (Best of) re-release and some blogs revival made it known again. With a synth-pop and disco tinges!

Kâmuran Akkor

kamuran akkor single cópia

Ikimiz Bir Fidaniz (1974 single) /// Dogrumu Dogrumu (1977 Lp)

This beautiful blonde may be considered one of the first foxy-romantic singers, in Turkey. With incandescent as a surname, alongside with his sister Gonul Akkor, the two were in the minds of many, thanks to their bodies and latent sexuality. With few Lp’s released domestically, once again, the 45′ singles are the majority of its career.

Debuting in 1969, these AMAZING electric grooves, unfortunately, can only be seen here, his romantic shift taken from the ’80s made her a very popular corny diva. But here, she flirts with some soul, fuzzy guitars and heavy synths. Currently, she still performs live shows and TV appearances, her last album was released in 2010.

Neşe Karaböcek

nese karabocek cópia

Asik Olamiyorum (1972 single) /// Bahcenizde Gul Var Mi (1979 Lp)

From a very early age, she displayed his vocal and theatrical qualities, debuting on live stages and theaters with only three years old. (!) With scholar music formation, the brilliant soprano sang opera until their teens, to finally start on vinyl in 1965. Probably the most famous of all, Neşe is internationally known and has an extensive career with more than 8 Lp’s and numerous singles. Starring as an actress too, she takes part (leading or not) on more than 10 films throughout a noted biography!

She’s the best selling female artist in Turkey, with more than 6 million records and multiples prizes! Leaning on a folk romantic source, some Latin colors and synths are heard from our selections, the sound quality may vary, but his vocal techniques and instrument tones worth the trip. She continues to record and recently released a book and an exhibition of his personal paintings and thoughts.

Nilüfer Yumlu

nilufer capa

Kim Arar Seni (1978 Lp) /// Ayrilik Hasreti (1974 Lp)

A consolidated career, this phrase defines well this singer. With more than 20 albums and a myriad of singles, Nilüfer is one of the few to achieve success in all decades, changing its sound and aesthetics once in a while. Singer, the songwriter, and producer, discovered in the late ’60s after winning a Golden Voice student contest, in Istanbul, she debuted at musical charts on 1972 and participated in 1978 at the Eurovision Song Contest. The mid 90’s (pinnacle of its career) saw his nomination as a Turkish ambassador of UNICEF and also honored with the State Artist title.

Recently she adopted a rock posture, releasing its last album in 2013. Deeps synths, nice percussion and a disco-pop overall. The other one it’s a mellow cover from the world hit ‘Killing Me Softly with His Song’, check it!

Tülay German

tulay german cópia

Mecnunum Leylami Gordum (1964 single) ///  Kizilciklar Oldu Mu (1965 single)

The oldest and experienced all, the founder of Turkish pop music, Tülay studied music and graduated in 1956 at the Uskudar American Academy. Even forbidden by his father to sing at night, her stage debut in 1960 starts a new role in Turkish pop music, singing at many radio programs, she was awarded best singer prize in 1964 at Balkan Music Festival, held in Yugoslavia.

From then on, she went to France in 1966 and played along with names like Charles Aznavour and The Moody Blues, releasing successful singles by Phillips. She also made many TV shows and toured around the World in late ’60s, early ’70s!

Her folk ballads overstepped the boundaries of any Turkish singer, turning it into a legend in his country. Retired since the mid-’80s, living in France, Tülay’s music has a distinguishing mark, passing through jazz and deep folklore traditions.

Iyi Yolculuklar!

Van Kahvaltı Evi
Van Kahvaltı Evi

Maki Asakawa (浅川 マキ) – Cat Nap (1982)

Capa

Japan. Today, we’ve got a point outside the curve of someone’s discography, nothing less than Asakawa Maki (Maki Asakawa, January 27, 1942 – January 17, 2010) the major female precursor for folk, rock and pop audiences in the country. Her hoarse and deep voice, hypnotic eyes and persona, all black style and the (always) cigarette in tow, managed to capture national and foreign fame throughout an extensive famous career. Much based on folk-rock, blues, and some jazz, these previous albums and characters will entry along with our galaxy. A rare live presentation it is available (for now at least) and can be seen here, check it out!

Today we’ll start with a twist overview. Different from its first releases and acclaimed developments through the ’70s, Cat Nap has its unique blends from Jazz, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Ska, Post-Punk and Pop in a solid experience direct from the early ’80s. (!)

Promo 76'
Promo 76′

Let’s go to their history:

Jazz and blues vocalist, lyricist, composer, and orchestrator Maki Asakawa was born in 1942 in Ishikawa Prefecture. After a short stint working at the town office in her small village, she headed for Tokyo to pursue music. She started by playing at U.S. military bases and cabarets, where she refined her style, which was largely informed by Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson. Asakawa released her first Ep, Tokyo Banka, on the Victor imprint in 1967. In 1968, Maki got her big break when she appeared for three days running at the Shinjuku underground theater known as Sasoriza, a project of underground playwright and controversial movie director Shuji Terayama. Shortly thereafter, she signed with Toshiba (currently EMI Music Japan), making her official major-label debut in July 1969 single’s: Yo Ga Aketara / Kamome.

Since then, Maki Asakawa has consistently released music and appeared live, garnering praise for her unique interpretation of jazz, blues, and avant-gardeshe has also collaborated with Yosuke Yamashita and Akira Sakata, and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto among many other legends!

Sadly, she died of acute heart failure in her hotel room in Nagoya on a Sunday night and later pronounced dead. She was 67. (RIP)

Years Active: 1967 ~ 2010

Live
Live

Let’s go to our album:

At the time of its release (October 21, 1982), Cat Nap received this type of commentary from the Japanese press:

‘A splendid work, with new horizons that Maki challenged, colored by improvisation, honed melody and stand out performance.’

Fact. Along with its trumpeter, composer and partner Toshinori Kondo, Maki sails free among a beautiful kaleidoscope of modern sound; once again (as JAGATARA), the 80’s aesthetics that prevailed through, were as revolutionary as those from previous decades. This is a very uptempo one with incredible experimental moments.

The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Shinkyoku B, a monster groove-reggae with crazy harmonics, fuzz and sexy vocals from our bluesy queen. A perfect song for a tropical panorama, good energies, friends and a cold drink! And Machine (an instrumental one), probably the pinnacle of the album. With its own avant-garde atmosphere, mimicking the functioning of some real machine, speaking of a Pop artist, this is quite something! We got dissonant woodwinds, atonal guitar solos, multiple sound effects and a constant pace beat that last until the final second! Crazy, crazy, crazy. 良い旅!

Writing
Indefectible Cigarette

Tracks include:

A1 暗い眼をした女優 (Kurai Me Wo Shita Joyuu)

A2 忘れたよ (Wasureta Yo)

A3 こころ隠して (Kokoro Kakushite)

A4 むかし (Mukashi)

B1 新曲“B” (Shinkyoku B)

B2 夕暮れのまんなか (Yuugure No Manaka)

B3 マシン (Machine)

B4 今なら (Ima Nara)

Maki Asakawa: Vocal

Toshinori Kondo: Trumpet, Percussion

Toshiyuki Honda: Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute

Shigeharu Mukai: Trombone

Kiyoshi Sugimoto: Guitar

Kazuo Tobita: Guitar

Tamio Kawabata: Bass

Hiro Tsunoda: Drums

  • Yoshino Kimutsugi: Recording & Mixing Engineer
  • Tatsuya Sakamoto: Second Engineer
  • Nonaka Lily: Front Cover Art

Recorded at July 19, 20 and 21 1982 at Take One Studio.

Produced: 寺本幸司・柴田徹

  • All lyrics: 浅川マキ (Maki Asakawa) except B-2 by 山内テツ (Tetsu Yamauchi)
  • All songs composed by 近藤等則 (Toshinori Kondo)
  • Label: Express
  • Toshiba EMI (Japan)
The Inseparable Cigarette

Mother Love Bone – Shine Ep (1989)

Capa

Seattle, 1988. Before the worldwide mass exposure created on the so-called grunge scene and its characters, a genre that suddenly was self-proclaimed the soundtrack of Generation X (sic), there was a short-lived band who certainly opened the gates of stardom to all, this band was Mother Love Bone!

The first one to draw national media attention to the region, a contract with a major record company (PolyGram), putting the early Seattle scene definitely on the map. Alongside with Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, this prominent quintet had only a two-year living, with a full length (posthumous) album and an Ep. With no more than 20 shows held, one west-side mini-tour, two videoclips and a lot of hype around them, MLB was a comet of love.

Led by a flamboyant Andrew Patrick Wood (January 8, 1966 – March 19th, 1990), who previously created with its first band Malfunkshun, an alter-ego stage persona called, L’andrew the Love Child, a response to the Satan worship metal clichéLove Rock 333 (their sound) was the title that Andy glimpse, much based on its personal rock faves: Kiss, Queen, Elton John, and Marc Bolan. Andy’s exuberant personality, outlandish clothes, and funny lyrics helped bring attention to the band.

Mother Love Bone
Mother Love Bone

But the path the band was predestined to follow was subtly interrupted by Andy’s od on March 19th, 1990. He had historical problems with cocaine and heroin since 1985 (its first rehab), after the tour opening for The Dogs D’Amour, on mid’s 89, he checked himself into rehab and passed the last four months of the year sober. Their full-length album was recorded during this time. With the turn of the decade, high expectations on Apple began to arise, as its three remixes and a certain pressure.

A righteous future was broken when its fiancée Xana la Fuente, found him on a comatose state lying on the bed of their apartment. After three days in Harborview Hospital, living on life support, Andy was diagnosed with hemorrhage aneurysm; together with it’s family and band members, with A Night At The Opera playing, holding hands around the bed, they decided to plug out the life support and let him go.

Andy Wood
Andy Wood

Six months later the basis for Pearl Jam was formed and started to rehearse. Temple of The Dog was recorded on the end of the year, with two songs made directly to Andy (Say Hello 2 Heaven and Reach Down) it was Chris Cornell’s last homage to his friend, they also lived together for six months. Both Ten and TOTD releases happened in early 1991 and hits the musical charts in different ways, yet Seattle’s scene had already been paved by Andy, the love child. (RIP)

Let’s go to their history:

We will let Malfunkshun and Andy’s complete story to a dedicated post on the future, however, there is a very nice documentary about them directed by Scot Barbour.

By 1987, Andrew was living in Seattle and hanging out with Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard (guitar), members of Green River. It wasn’t long before the three of them were writing together, and as time went by they became closer. In late 87, early 88, Lords of the Wasteland started playing occasional shows, with the inclusion of Bruce Fairweather (guitar), though the repertoire was composed of covers.

By the time of their last show, Andy, anxious for success, left Malfunkshun and started to dedicate all his time for the new band. Stupid names like Dum Dum Boys or Daddy Long Legs were suggested, but it was from Andy’s mind that the band would be recognized: Mother Love Bone.

Promo
Promo

Regan Hagar (Malfunkshun’s drummer) was replaced by Greg Gilmore (10 Minute Warning) and the band changed their name, after a week of persuasion. They got into the studio as soon as possible and recorded 10 songs including, Holly Roller, Stargazer, Lady Godiva Blues and Capricorn Sister. The demo was received by Kelly Curtis (later the manager of Pearl Jam). Kelly made it possible for the band to record another demo, this one was sent to Geffen records who paid for them to make a third demo. With songs like Bone China, Crown of Thorns and Captain Hi-Top.

The demos made it out to a bunch of different companies, so the band waited through the summer and it paid off; they got a lot of calls from labels that heard the demo and they finally decided to signed with Polygram. They even got there on label on the company, Stardog Label. This process took place during February / August 1988.

They returned home and signed Kelly Curtis as their manager. In early 1989 starts the process to their debut album Shine. The band went on tour for the album and then took a few months to break, by September they were recording their next album.

Love Rock
Love Rock

In 1990 they had played around Seattle and gained much respect from local bands like Soundgarden and Melvins. The band had finished making their upcoming album Apple when Andy checked himself into a rehab program to deal with his addiction.

They were set to make their debut, when Wood died of a heroin od on March 16th.

Temple of the Dog was formed in Andy’s memory. The band included Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron, and Chris Cornell, and the new guy Eddie Vedder! After Temple of the Dog, Stone and Jeff got together with Eddie, Mike McCready, and Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam. Bruce Fairweather joined Love Battery and Greg played with Blind Horse and Endino’s Earthworm.

Let’s go to our record:

Andy Wood, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard passed through the early ’80s in Seattle with punk, hard, glam, arena rock bands, gigs, friends, shows and a whole scene of musicians. They’re one of the founders from the so-called grunge scene and it’s here that this record gets something special and reveals us another side. It doesn’t resemble anything from the heaviness or angst-filled lyrics and moods like Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nirvana or Alice in Chains.

Apple's Photo Session
Apple’s Photo Session

With a heavy-tenor (like Robert Plant) sung by Andy, its lyrics, persona and a sharp band, they got all bases from the American Hard / Glam, with some mellow ballads on piano and funky uptempo. These ego imaginary dreamy lyrics ruled the short production of the band, yet they made also some mordacious, happy humor criticism, especially about catholicism, freedom of love, and the myth of commercial rockstar.

This is a small 5-track release, there are some proto-grunge, hard rock, funk, an epic ballad, and a blues. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Crown of Thorns, their most famous song, much covered by Pearl Jam, got an 8-minute piece, here with Chloe Dancer introduction, the touching preamble reveals us some brute biographical lyrics based on choices, love, death, and addiction. An almost forgot classic from a modern rock!

Seattle's Wall
Seattle’s Wall

Cameron Crowe’s film about love on the early ’90s, Singles, was set in Seattle. On the very beginning of the film, we’re shown to a wall with Mother Love Bone name’s on it, still, Andy’s death interrupted any chance of a sequel or international recognition.

And Capricorn Sister: One of the first made, a nice blues with an over the top performance by Andy, remembering us those old blues singers from the South. This song also appears on Apple, but Shine’s version is much better, on the very final there’s a little funny hidden-track, Zanzibar, check it!

The Ep was recorded in November 1988, during ten days (or five?)Lastly, there is a revealing excerpt of Scot Barbour’s interview about Andy’s final moments:

Single's Wall
Single’s Wall

Scot: ‘Andy was allergic to everything, well not everything. But a lot of different prescription drugs & foods. In fact, that’s the REAL theory of how Andy REALLY died. Andy actually survived the heroin overdose and it looked like he was going to pull it off and live. When he was in a coma he was given a few different drugs to help him come back from the coma. The back of his brain swelled up so badly that the top his spinal cord actually protruded his brain causing him to be brain dead.

That is when they decided to take him off Life Support. The belief is that his brain swelling was the result of an allergic reaction to at least one of the drugs that were administered to him during that time. Coincidentally, the patient records for the last 24 hours of Andy’s life are missing and have yet to be located. And Virginia Mason (?) Hospital in downtown Seattle has made no statement. (!)

Shine's Tour
Shine’s Tour

He wasn’t into drugs as much as people are lead to believe. Andy had just gotten out of rehab recently. And the heroin dose he overdosed on was extremely small. Another very coincidental thing was the Hospital had reported four other heroin od’s that evening Andy was brought to the hospital, it was definitely a ‘bad batch’ that had hit the streets and wound up in Andy’s arm.’ (!) Drum Bun!

Tracks Include:

1 Thru Fade Away

2 Mindshaker Meltdown

3 Half Ass Monkey Boy

4 Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns

5 Capricorn Sister / Zanzibar

Released: March 20, 1989

Credits

  • Artwork: Klotz
  • Bass: Jeff Ament
  • Drums: Greg Gilmore
  • Guitar: Bruce Fairweather, Stone Gossard
  • Photography: Charles Peterson
  • Producer: Mark Dearnley
  • Vocals, Piano, Lyrics: Andrew Wood

Notes

Recorded at London Bridge Studios, Seattle. //// Mixed at London Bridge Studio, Seattle.

Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York.

Management: Kelly Curtis Management.

Label: Stardog/Mercury

(P) (C) 1989 Stardog Records.

Seattle
Seattle