Akina Nakamori – Fushigi (1986)

After a month laying low due to restrictions on some platforms, we’re back! You probably are seeing some reposts and more will come along the way, these are actually all-time bests of the ‘IM’ so don’t miss it, ok? Moving along our Top 5 entries since 2014, having Akiko’s and Slađana’s posts already listed, its time for our third entry, and it is a very singular one; a brief but dashing turning point that was not well comprehended by its main audience ergo the (almost) failure of the sales and single-digit weeks at the radio-charts.

Debuting on the production control, with only 21 years old, rising as the artist of the year and a complex idea in terms of sound, 不思議 remains one of the greatest albums of an era by an underestimated singer, performer, and actress. We’ll be only commencing on Akina’s bio, so please attend to the rest on future entries, though today’s are the REAL deal for us.

楽しんでください!

Let’s go to our artist:

Early Idol Years

Nakamori Akina (中森明菜), born July 13, 1965, in Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan, is a multiple award-winning Japanese pop singer and actress who debuted in early 1982. She is the face of the idol era of the 80s alongside Seiko Matsuda (her supposed rival) with hits such as the extraordinary “Kazari Janai No Yo Namida Wa” and world-wide hit “Desire”.

As a singer, Nakamori came to be known for her mature yet rebellious style and powerhouse vocals, but also for her ever-changing image both visually and musically as opposed to the (very) conservative J-Pop scene. She is also known as “tragedy queen” for most of her serious or sad tone songs unlike the happy and carefree sound of pop music.

Desire ‘Frenzy’

She was highly successful from her debut to 1989 when she attempted suicide after a failed romance with Masahiko Kondo, with the scandalous involvement of Seiko Matsuda as the third part and mostly to stress induced by the tabloid media. Even though she has never regained the same success, she has still managed to carry on a steady career.

Today Nakamori has built her image more like a cover artist with her Utahime cover albums, also with the award-winning Enka one and recently a comeback with unedited studio material being Fixer (2015) and Cage (2017) her last cover one. With a career almost as long as 30 years, and millions of records sold she has explored many different music genres including pop, rock, R&B, jazz, folk, blues, enka, and Latin music. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

Pioneer Private 1989

In 1986, at 21, Nakamori matured in her singing style, choice of songs and partnership over its musical arrangements. The first single of that year, “Desire (Jōnetsu)” proved to be one of the highlights in Nakamori’s career, this was awarded at the Record Taisho Grand Prize at the 28th Japan Record Awards, her second in a row, in an unprecedented achievement at the time, stating Akina’s as the #1 artist of Japan that year. (!)

Then she released Fushigi, an experimental album that is considered to be one of her most artistic works ever. Inspired by Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, this conceptual album differed from her previous works with a more mysterious and eerie sound both music and vocal-wise. On the album, Nakamori sang more dramatically and her vocals were also mixed into the background. This unusual mixing caused some confusion among consumers and some actually contacted the retailers thinking the record was defective.

Fushigi Promo

Despite the riskiness of trying something so avant-garde the album still reached #1 and sold over 464,000 copies. By the cover, you can tell something is darkling about everything and sure there is! After hearing it for the first time, I was sure there was something wrong with the files and had to download them again and again until I realize how magnificent the proposition was. The dark and gothic beauty of the entire project oddly caught me and how good it is to be able to feel this. Now the ‘IM’ is proudly presenting this to you all, come check this unique experience and also watch some terrific live renditions between 1986, 1987 and 2003, it is a joy to see her perform!

The ‘IM’ highlights are マリオネット (Marionette) and Teen-Age Blue.

Tracks Include:

A1 Back Door Night

A2 ニュー·ジェネレーション (New Generation)

Lyrics By: 竹花いち子

A3 Labyrinth

Chorus: Katsumi Fujikura

A4 マリオネット (Marionette)

Lyrics By, Music By: 安岡孝章

A5 幻惑されて (Genwaku Sarete)

Chorus: Minako Yoshida

B1 ガラスの心 (Glass No Kokoro)

Arranged By: 井上鑑

Bass: Chiharu Mikuzuki

Drums: Hideo Yamaki

Guitar: Tsuyoshi Kon

Keyboards: Akira Inoue

B2 Teen-Age Blue

Chorus: Etsuko Yamakawa, Kiyoshi Hiyama

Keyboards: Satoshi Nakamura

Keyboards, Chorus: Kazuo Shiina

B3 燠火 (Okibi)

Arranged By (Brass): 椎名和夫

Drums: Anton Fier

Keyboards: Haruo Togashi, Minako Yoshida

Saxophone: Jake H. Concepcion

B4 Wait For Me

Lyrics By: Show

B5 Mushroom Dance

Chorus: Keiko Aso

Music By: 井上ケン一

Musicians

Arranged By: Eurox (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5), Kazuo Shiina (tracks: B2, B3)

Bass: Haruo Okano (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)

Chorus: Anri Sekine, Eve, Haruo Okano, Isamu Hasegawa, Yoshimi Niikura

Guitar: Tsutomu Kurihara (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)

Keyboards: Anri Sekine (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)

Lyrics By: 麻生圭子 (tracks: A1, A3), 吉田美奈子 (tracks: A5, B2, B3),

Sandii (tracks: B1, B5)

Music By: Eurox (tracks: A1 to A3, A5), 久保田真箏 (tracks: B1, B5),

吉田美奈子 (tracks: B2, B3)

Trumpet: Shin Kuzuhara (tracks: B3, B4)

Violin: Anri Sekine (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B4)

Credits

Design (Cover): Yasuo Mochida

Directed By: Katsumi Fujikura

Engineer: Hiroyuki Satoh, Motonari Matsumoto, Yasu Itohbrass, Mr. Kenmochi

Photography By: Kazunori Tsukada

Producer: Akina Nakamori

Remix, Mastered By: Nobuo Ishizaki

Management: Fusanori Nakoh, Hiroyasu Chinone

Companies

Phonographic Copyright: Warner-Pioneer Corporation

Made By: Warner-Pioneer Corporation

Recorded At: Sedic Studio, Sound Inn Studio, Freedom Studio, Sound Atelier,

Cherry Island Studio and Music Inn Studio

Mixed At: Sedic Studio and Warner-Pioneer Studio

Mastered At: Warner-Pioneer Studio

Reprise Records ‎– L-12595 – 1986.08.11

Cage’s Persona – 2017

Elektra – Keegi (1981)

One of the greatest things about running the ‘IM’ is having the curiosity to hear sounds from all over the world and that is why today’s post is the inaugural of a country that had not yet entered our route: Estonia. The work that the Frotee label has been doing for the last few years is priceless, thanks to them we can present you this unfamiliar artist, and for the most avid travelers we can forefront a couple of suitable names that came from this fantastic musical scene, groups like Väntorel, Keeris, Tornaado, Velly Joonas, Gunnar Graps and Magnetic Band, Fix, Ruja and many more deserve your close attention.

Along with our journey, other eesti-rock gems will be here, so please come always sõber!

Let’s go to our artist:

Elektra started out in the middle of the 1960s as a female vocal group with a fluctuating line-up which was accompanied by different instrumental groups.

Ansambel Elektra 60s

At the end of the 1970s, pianist Aarne Saluveer became the head of the backing musicians and his friends Agu Tammeorg, Meelis Punder, and Jaan Karp joined the band. During this period, Elektra performed together with the college girl band Kooli-Prii which Kadri Hunt, who was the daughter of Elektra’s conductor Märt Hunt, had formed together with her classmates. By 1981, the Kooli-Prii girls had replaced the former singers of Elektra.

Kadri Hunt loved songs with Afro-American influences, which she heard from radio or the few records she could get her hands on. Kooli-Prii played these songs at their concerts and (legendary) soul singer Marju Kuut taught them voice placing. The girls went to a school which focused on English teaching so they sang in English at their concerts but they had to get the lyrics translated in order to avoid problems with recordings (censorship).

Hiiglane Marju Kuut

In 1981, Elektra recorded only a few disco songs but that was it because the number of music studios in Tallinn was very limited. For example, the Estonian Radio studio where they could record with 8-track tape recorders was vacant only during the nights. (!)

During the next few years, disco music went out of fashion in Estonia and the repertoire of the band became more popular to match the musical taste of Aarne Saluveer (the band’s leader). In addition to that, Kadri Hunt became its only singer. In 1985, Elektra released its only record (a 7” EP) and their music had become way distanced from soul music. By 1986 the group had dissolved with some of its members going solo or engaging new bands.

Let’s go to our album:

Elektra 1981

Keegi with the original title “You Might Need Somebody” was based on Randy Crawford’s interpretation of the song which was released the same year, the original was a yacht-rock song performed by Turley Richards. The original version of Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib called “Jump To The Beat” was made famous by the teenage singer Stacy Lattishaw.

These two cuts from this single are amazing, I wasn’t aware of the originals the first time I’ve listened to, so I still think these covers are a MUST, there’s something with these gals vocals and Estonian phonetics that kept me mesmerized! Kas Sa Tahaksid Tulla?

Tracks Include:

A Keegi
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Nan O’Byrne, Tom Snow

B Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Lisa Walden, Narada Michael Walden

Credits

Bass: Meelis Punder
Drums: Jaan Karp
Flute: Tauno Saviauk
Guitar: Agu Tammeorg
Keyboards: Aarne Saluveer
Vocals: Kadri Hunt, Kersti Raik, Signe Tükk, Tiina Kalle

Mastered By: Lynn Petrin
Photography: Arno Saar
Recorded By: Mati Brauer

Notes

Frotee ‎– FRO004

Mastered At: Ebony Cuts

Recorded at Eesti Raadio Studio, Tallinn, October 1981.

Tallinn Landscape

Dominic Frontiere and His Orchestra – Pagan Festival: An Exotic Love Ritual For Orchestra (1959)

Together with Yma Sumac’s exquisite records, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica, and the unknown The Markko Pollo Adventures self titled album, our today entry comes with great passion, a personal favorite in the Exotica and Space Age Pop universe. You can check a dossier about the subject here, and with our last entries highlighted on top! We believe that the milestone works from Martin Denny and famous arranger Les Baxter are truly amazing, though due to the high commercial appeal and large number of releases, the musical developments became to dilute throughout the years, climaxing with the death of the genre in the mid-60’s.

folder cópia

Together with Yma Sumac’s exquisite records, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica, and the unknown The Markko Pollo Adventures self titled album, our today entry comes with great passion, a personal favorite in the Exotica and Space Age Pop universe. You can check a dossier about the subject here, and with our last entries highlighted on top! We believe that the milestone works from Martin Denny and famous arranger Les Baxter are truly amazing, though due to the high commercial appeal and large number of releases, the musical developments became to dilute throughout the years, climaxing with the death of the genre in the mid60’s.

Nevertheless, expect to encounter ‘Hypnotique’ and ‘The Passions’ here soon!

Let’s go to our artist:

Dominic Frontiere
Dominic Frontiere

Dominic Frontiere (17 June 1931, New Haven, Connecticut) grew up in a musical family, learning several instruments before adopting the accordion as his main focus. He proved a prodigy, and was travelling to New York for lessons with accordion virtuoso Joseph Biviano at 7 and performing solo at Carnegie Hall at the age of 12. From an early age, its interest in music went beyond just performing, though, and he studied classical music, arranging, and composition through high school and after!

He joined Horace Heidt’s big band in 1949, replacing accordion star Dick Contino and becoming lead arranger as well. He left Heidt in 1952 and moved to Hollywood, where he studied with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco at UCLA and with violinist and studio conductor Felix SlatkinFrontiere was then, taken under the wing of Alfred Newman, music director at 20th Century-Fox studios, and his brother, famous film composer Lionel Newman, who soon had him working on a variety of scoring jobs.

Alfred Newman
Alfred Newman

Frontiere experimented several novelties from his studio work, one was an album for Columbia, Pagan Festival, that is now recalled fondly as one of the prime examples of true exotica. One suspects that he ran Yma Sumac’s albums for a few spins while conceiving on the pieces on this work, which feature titles as ‘Jaguar God’Venus Girl’, with subtitles recalling Mayan or Inca language, as Ixtab, and Tampu-Anca.

Dominic has concentrated on composing for films/television since the early ’60s. His scoring credits include such films as Hang ‘Em High, Incubus, Chisum, The Train Robbers, Brannigan, and The Stunt Man. On television, he composed the theme for the aliens-are-among-us series, The Invaders, science fiction The Outer Limits, and also The Fugitive, The Flying Nun, BrandedMovin’ Onamongst many others.

1968 Film Poster
1968 OST

Along with Art Van Damme and Johnny Hamlin, he ranks among the leading (and only) jazz accordionists, with an active career until the ’90s. Recently many of its soundtracks were available in cd re-releases, where you can check it out here!

Let’s go to our album:

The liner notes on the back cover spoke of the music’s “interpretation of ancient Inca rituals, superstitions, and the romance and mysteries of their colorful civilization“, but the blending of musical styles was not limited to that of the ancient Latin American culture (if anyone knew what that would sound like!). Frontiere let his imagination run wild, and he brought in sounds from the South Pacific to Eastern Europe, e.g.

1963/64 OST
1963/64 OST

So, here a female choir wafted in and out along with string sections, brasses, and reeds, creating a patchwork quilt that somehow held together. Frontiere‘s music charmed like an entertaining Hollywood score for a movie set in some faraway place, it may not have been historically accurate, but it was a lot of fun to listen to, jouir!

The ‘IM’ highlights are House of Dawn (Paccari-Tampu) and Venus Girl (IX-Koben).

Lastly, this is an exclusive release, เดินทางที่ดี!

Tracks Include:

A1 Festival

A2 House of Dawn (Paccari-Tampu)

A3 Temple of Suicide (Ixtab)

A4 Moon Goddess (Ixchel)

A5 Time of Sunshine (Yaxkin)

A6 Goddess of Love (X-Tabai)

B1 House of Pleasure (Tampu-Anca)

B2 The Harvest (Zax)

B3 Corn Festival (Zabacil Than)

B4 God of Seasons (Kukulkan)

B5 Jaguar God (Balam)

B6 Venus Girl (IX-Koben)

Credits

  • Artwork: Irene Trivas
  • Composed, Conductor: Dominic Frontiere

Columbia ‎– CL 1273

Beltrane Fire Festival
Beltrane Fire Festival

Šarlo Akrobata – Bistriji Ili Tuplji Čovek Biva Kad… (1981)

folder

Šarlo Akrobata (Charlot the Acrobat, a Serbo-Croatian version of Charlie Chaplin‘s name) was a seminal Yugoslav post-punk band from Belgrade. Short-lived but extremely influential, being one of the most important acts of the Yugoslav new wave movement (Novi Talas). The power-trio left an indelible mark on the entire music scene, playing skeletal, energetic ska-core with a post-punk sound reminding of Gang of Four, XTC, The Stranglers, Public Image Limited, and Frank Zappa!

If you want to know a little more about the rock development in Serbia and former Yugoslavia, pay a visit on our last entries, Katarina II and Discipline Kičme.

Let’s go to our artist:

The origin of the new wave scene in Serbia can be found in Belgrade late-70’s bands Zvuk Ulice, Limunovo Drvo, and Hipnotisano Pile. These three featured the future members of milestone groups Idoli, Šarlo Akrobata, and Električni Orgazam.

Električni Orgazam
Električni Orgazam

Guitarists Milan Mladenović and Dragomir Mihajlović performed hard rock for two years in Limunovo Drvo, before adopting the punk rock on the arrival of the bassist Dušan Kojić ‘Koja’ and drummer Ivan Vdović ‘VD’. After the departure of Mihajlović (who would play on Katarina II), they finally renamed to Šarlo Akrobata!

Over 1980-81, its first recordings were released on the compilation Paket Aranžman, today considered one of the most prominent Serbian/Yugoslav rock releases. After a second prize on Subotica Youth Fest and performance on Zagreb Bienalle, they recorded their only album, Bistriji Ili Tuplji Covek Biva Kad… (Brighter or Dumber a Man Gets When…) in April 1981, combining punkish energy with dissonant, avant-garde, and a daring approach both to the playingrecording, and performance.

Milan, Koja & Ivan = Šarlo Akrobata
Milan, Koja & Ivan = Šarlo Akrobata

The band disbanded in the winter of 1981 after a tour in Poland; Milan Mladenovic started a successful and prolific group Ekatarina Velika, and Dusan Kojic formed the progressive punk act Discipline Kičme. The alleged reason was different views on how to continue their musical expression; around 1982, the New Wave scene started to decline, as a large number of acts moved towards a more commercial sound.

During the ’80sĐorđe Balašević, for instance, dominated the mainstream pop scene, but various other rock genres also emerged, such as Jakarta, Oktobar 1864, Beograd, La Strada, Zana, and Rambo Amadeus, starting to develop and gain mainstream popularity, not only in Yugoslavia but all around Eastern Europe!

Pekinška Patkathe, the first Orthodox punk rock band, 1978!
Pekinška Patkathe, the first Orthodox punk rock band, 1978!

Let’s go to our album:

A unique punk record, full of furious guitar riffs, raw bass sound, and wild shouting! Lyrics are either nonsensical, randomly recited, either rebellious, a true example of punk angst, either minimalistic representing an auditive graffiti painting. (!)

This is a record full of studio tricks that are deconstructing a classical approach to the songwriting, gradually (or abruptly) adding/subtracting instrumental layers in the songs, repeating simple one-two-three-four chorus ad nauseam, making at mantra at first, and then deconstructing it by simply adding polyrhythmical pattern on bass, while drums get heavily processed with an echo effect and other modulations.

1981
1981

Lastly, this record is a lot different from everything that we used to hear so far, Avant punk is the perfect title to add to these crazy geniuses, forget about Ekatarina Velika (my personal favorite) and other Serbian entries, this is where it all began, observe closely and plunge forward into it, the one and only Šarlo Akrobata!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rano Izjutra and O, O, O

Trip Da!

Tracks Include:

A1 Šarlo Je Nežan

A2 Pazite Na Decu (I)

A3 Fenomen

A4 Sad Se Jasno Vidi

A5 Rano Izjutra

A6 Ljubavna Priča

A7 Samo Ponekad

B1 Čovek

B2 Bes

B3 O, O, O …

B4 Problem

B5 Ja Želim Jako

B6 Pazite Na Decu (II)

Credits

  • Bass, Vocals: Koja
  • Drums, Vocals: Ivan Vdović
  • Guitar, Vocals: Milan Mladenović
  • Design, Photography: Goran Vejvoda
  • Photography: Danko Đurić
  • Artwork (Design): Šarlo
  • Producer, Music, Arranged, Lyrics: Šarlo Akrobata
  • Producer: Toni Jurij, Mile Miletić
  • Producer, Recorded: Đorđe Petrović

Notes

Recorded in Studio 5, Beograd, April-May 1981.

  • Recorded: Studio V PGP RTB
  • Printed: GIP Beograd

Jugoton ‎– LSY 66145

Nikola Tesla and its Magnifying Transmitter
Nikola Tesla and its Magnifying Transmitter

Samira Tawfik (سميرة توفيق) – Ya Marhaban (196x)

samira 3 cópiaWe had a small break in the pace of updates due to the elections held in October here in Brazil, therefore, it is likely that this month will be a bit slower than usual, but don’t worry, the average rate will be kept on our Facebook, as we’re trying to extend our sharing network in a more regular schedule, based on documentaries, live presentations, and rare film clips. Join us, leave a word and be welcomed to the ‘IM’!

Let’s go to our artist:

In terms of popularity and international recognition, the popular singers from Egypt and Lebanon respectively were those who had more success in spreading the Arab culture worldwide since the mid-50s. On the Egyptian side, Umm Kulthum (greatest female Arabic singer in history!), Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Farid al-Atrash and Abdel Halim Hafez, are the four greatest icons from the twentieth century.

The Lebanese side got plenty of female stars like Fairuz, Sabah, Majida El Roumi and lastly but not least, Samīra Ġusṭīn Karīmūna. Here we got its third entry!

Samira Tawfik, 60's
Samira Tawfik, 60’s

The previous posts from her got its full biography, film clips and a little essay about Lebanon, amongst other details. Feel free to travel along with these entries and enjoy it!

Let’s go to our album:

A single from the (late?) 60’s with fine sound quality, in what might be the apex of Samira’s career, starring dozens of films, endless tours and multiples releases (Lp’s and singles) throughout the Arabic world. This fantastic single, one of my favorites from her, takes a plunge inside traditional folklore, a bit different from the 90’s last entry, where there’s no electric guitar or synths, but the usual Arabic band style with female/male chorus, strings, and tight percussion. Lastly, don’t forget to check its youtube channel full of various performances at different times in her lasting career!

Tracks Include:

A Ya Marhaban

B Asmar Kahil Al Ain

Voix du Liban – Vlexa 33

Beirut's Neighborhood
Beirut’s Neighborhood