Léonie – Le Jardin Anglais / Mozart (1973)

capa cópiaAnother brief entry, as we previously talked about Léonie and its (surprising) short career, based on 45 singles, started in the late-60’s amidst the french yé-yé scene. The dossier from this unknown singer can be checked in Hero Culte blog, don’t miss out the detective work from tiny noggin and other curiosities about French stars!

Let’s go to our album:

This time, she is backed up with the mighty arrangements/compositions by the number one french maestro Jean Claude Vannier. Léonie’s peculiar sensual voice stands out on its 5th release, she knows how to be pop and cult simultaneously.

A side has a characteristic (slower) charleston piano/xylophone pace, played by Vannier, along with strings and wizardry guitars in a vintage delicate atmosphere.

B side are my favorite, this fuzzy psych ballad has a magic cadency that sticks to the head, an example of how you can be pop without neglecting good aesthetic choices!

Léonie (Martine Collet)
Léonie (Martine Collet)

I really would like to count on better quality rips, but the fact is none of her singles were duly re-released on CD, this and other entries are a good invitation to meet the B-side on what is called Pop Jerk, somewhat ahead from the naive (early) works of France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, CélineFrançoise HardySéverine, and many others.

We’ll leave for an upcoming entry, more details about the yé-yé scene and its powerful independent girls, for now, keep it up with this lovely obscure pearl.

Haerenga Pai!

Tracks Include:

A Le Jardin Anglais (J.C. Vannier, Roda Gil)

B Mozart (J.C. Vannier)

Credits

  • Orchestra: Orchestre J.C. Vannier
  • Photography: Thierry Vincent
  • Producer: Thierry Vincent
  • Published: Editions Suzelle (A)
  • Published: Editions Labrador (B)
  • Distributed: Discodis
  • Printed: Dillard et Cie. Imp. Paris

Les Disques Motors ‎– MT 4030

Sylvie Vartan & Françoise Hardy
Sylvie Vartan & Françoise Hardy

Osamu Kitajima (喜多嶋修) – Benzaiten (1974)

capa cópiaThe music of Japan includes a wide array of performers in distinct styles both traditional and modern. The word for music in Japanese is 音楽 (ongaku), combining the kanji  ‘on’ (sound) with the kanji  ‘gaku’ (enjoy). Many instruments, as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries, the accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the 16th century. Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble Gagaku has influenced the work of many modern Western composers.

Notable classical composers from Japan include Toru Takemitsu and Rentarō Taki.

Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848
Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848

Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends, which has led to the evolution of J-pop (popular music). Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, with a total retail value of over 3 billion dollars in 2013, dominated by Japanese artists. Karaoke is also the most widely practiced cultural activity, ahead of flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies. Traditional Japanese music is quite different from Western music as it’s based on the intervals of human breathing rather than mathematical timing. (!)

Toru Takemitsu
Toru Takemitsu

Let’s go to our artist:

Osamu Kitajima (February 3, 1949) was born and raised in the beach town of Chigasaki (Kanagawa Prefecture), as a young man he studied classical guitar and piano; his first band the Launchers, was led by pop idol and actor Yuzo Kayama, the group disbanded in the late ’60s, after Kitajima began to work on his own.

After graduating from Keio University, and already a successful composer of TV and advertising jingles, he moved for one year to the UK in 1971, which brought him in to contact with British folk and psychedelia. Inspired by The Beatles, T. Rex, and Syd Barrett, he dubbed himself Justin Heathcliff and issued a lone eponymous album.

Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972
Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972

His first solo album in 1974, Benzaiten, was a mix of modern pop and traditional Japanese music, and was well received in Japan and later released abroad (Antilles label in U.S.) where it received some underground radio airplay and sold moderately. Also in 1974 Kitajima relocated to the Los Angeles area and later opened East Quest Studios; the late ’70s and ’80s saw the establishment of its career, with more than a dozen Lp’s, he has become one of Japan’s biggest selling artist internationally!

During the decades, Osamu Kitajima expanded his work to include commercial and soundtrack work, he provided part of the music to the blockbuster mini-series Shogun and contributed to the soundtrack of Sharkey’s Machine. He also arranged the scores for PBS documentaries on Japan, Chinese/Japanese film Mandala and produced a number of artists. Nowadays, inside East Quest Records, he continues to release his own albums (new and re-issues), as well as works by countless artists.

Osamu's Portrait
Osamu’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

This is truly a melting pot of Western rock and Japanese traditional music, very few have pulled it off so well as Kitajima does here. Either they usually fall prey to new age sappiness or move towards amateurish exploitation, fortunately, it does not happen here, a real serious work, the type of rock-influenced world music that still hasn’t been much explored at all. The album also featured Haruomi Hosono and it utilized various electronics: synthesizerrhythm machine, and electronic drums.

A bit different from our previous entry Buddha Meet Rock, this is a more elaborate record, with brilliant musicians and cinematic feelings, being a cornerstone of Japanese folklore, be enlightened by Kitajima’s masterful work and Bono Trinus!

Benzaiten Goddess
Benzaiten Goddess

The ‘IM’ highlights are Taiyo (The Sun) and Benzaiten (Reprise).

Tracks Include:

A1 Benzaiten (The God of Music and Water)

A2 Taiyo (The Sun)

A3 Tengu (A Long-Nosed Goblin)

B1 Benzaiten (Reprise)

B2 Whoma (Immortality)

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Koto, Biwa, Drums (African, Mexican), Electronic Drums (Rhythm Machine): Osamu Kitajima
  • Bass: Dennis Belfield, John Harris
  • Biwa: Masako Hirayama
  • Drums (African): Kinji Yoshino
  • Drums (Tsuzumi), Percussion (Narimono): Kisaku Katada
  • Electric Bass: Haruomi Hosono
  • Electric Guitar: George Marinelli
  • Flute (Hayashi-bue): Haruyoshi Hosei
  • Keyboards: Brian Whitcomb
  • Shakuhachi: Tatsuya Sano
  • Sho: Yosei Sato
  • Engineer: Kinji Yoshino
  • Engineer (Assistant): Yutaka Matsumoto
  • Producer: Kinji Yoshino, Osamu Kitajima
  • Distributed and Manufactured: Island Records Inc.
  • Antilles U.S. release of the album first released by Island Records (Japan) in 1974.

Recorded through Jan/Aug 1974 at Hit Studio of Jean Jean Theater, Tokyo

Whoma recorded live at Nikkei Hall.

Antilles ‎– AN 7016

Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Festival

Chrisye – Sabda Alam (1978)

prambanan cópiaGamelan is traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments are metallophones played by mallets as well as a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which registers the beat. It also includes xylophones, bamboo flutes, bowed instrument called rebab, and even female vocalists called sindhen.

The popularity of gamelan has declined since modern pop music, though gamelan is still commonly played at formal occasions and in many traditional ceremonies. For most Indonesians, gamelan is an integral part and a symbol of Indonesian culture.

Gamelan Ensemble
Gamelan Ensemble

They are distinguished by their collection of instruments and use of voice, tunings, repertoire, style, and cultural context. In general, no two gamelan ensembles are the same, and those that arose in prestigious courts are often considered to have their own style. Certain styles may also be shared by nearby ensembles, leading to a regional style. The varieties are grouped geographically, with the principal division between the styles favoured by the Balinese, Javanese, and Sundanese peoples.

Typically, players in the gamelan will be familiar with dance movespoetry, while dancers are able to play (along) in the ensemble. In wayang, the dalang (puppeteer) must have a thorough knowledge of gamelan, as he gives the cues for the music.

Certain gamelans are associated with specific rituals, such as the Gamelan Sekaten, which is used in the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabi (Muhammad‘s birthday), other pieces are also believed to possess magic powers, and can be used to ward off evil spirits!

Children's Gamelan Orchestra at Peliatan, Bali
Children’s Gamelan Orchestra at Peliatan, Bali

The gamelan has been appreciated by several western composers (Colin McPhee, Béla Bartók, Francis Poulenc, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Benjamin Britten, Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, György Ligeti and John Cage), most famously Claude Debussy who heard a Javanese gamelan in the premiere of Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray‘s Rapsodie Cambodgienne at the Paris Exposition World’s Fair of 1889.

The gamelan that Debussy heard in it was in the slendro scale and its equal-tempered whole tone scale appears in his music. A Javanese gamelan-like heterophonic texture is emulated on occasion, particularly in Pagodes, from Estampes (solo piano, 1903), in which the great gong‘s cyclic punctuation is symbolized by a prominent perfect fifth.

XIX Century Gamelan
XIX Century Gamelan

There is a famous Javanese saying that sums up Gamelan’s role importance in Indonesian habitual daily life: It is not official until the gong is hung’. (!)

Let’s go to our artist:

Chrismansyah Rahadi (16 September 1949 – 30 March 2007) was born in Jakarta, as the second of three brothers from Laurens Rahadi and Hana. He graduated from high school in 1967 and had the opportunity of studying Architectural Engineering in APP Trisakti, but he dropped out on its third year. Chrisye initiated his career in music by joining the Sabda Nada Band in 1968, the short-lived group morphed into Gipsy (later famous Guruh Gipsy) in 1969 along with some change of personnel.

70's
70’s

Gipsy became a well-respected band from Jakarta and had the most luxurious equipment of the day. In 1971/1972 they flew to New York and played in the Ramayana Restaurant for about a year. Back to Indonesia, Chrisye managed to popularize the song Lilin-Lilin Kecil (Small Candles) winning the Youth Contest Prambors Songwriting Contest in 1977. His first albums Badai Pasti Berlalu and Sabda Alam managed to be very popular and successful in the domestic market.

This would only be the beginning of a highly consolidated career through the ’80s and ’90s, he’s merely one of the biggest record sellers from all-time in Indonesia!

Let’s go to our album:

In May 1978 Chrisye began work on his first (solo) album Sabda Alam (Nature’s Order), incorporating several songs by other artists and some written by himself, including the title song, which he recorded it after locking himself in the studio. The album, greatly influenced by Badai Pasti Berlalu (OST Lp) and drawing on the double-tracking technique (the vocals are recorded twice to achieve fuller sound), was released in August that year. Heavily promoted in a campaign during which Chrisye was interviewed on the national television station TVRI and on the radio.

Chrisye
Chrisye (RIP)

The album eventually sold more than 400,000 copies! (phew)

This renowned artist (still) remains unknown to most of the Western public, today we exclusively present one of his greatest releases, full of melodic and harmonic beauty, Chrisye’s soulful interpretation is quite something. Supported by a sharp band with the always welcome participation of Yockie on keyboards, once more splitting the arrangements with Chrisye, the Lp got prog ballads, folk, disco, a fantastic version of Smaradhana (Guruh Gipsy’s song), female chorus, and one of the greatest Indonesian songs in my opinion, Anak Jalanan, this album is no joke!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Cita Secinta and Anak Jalanan.

Vjaġġ Tajba!

Tracks Include:

A1 Juwita

A2 Sabda Alam

A3 Smaradhana

A4 Duka Sang Bahaduri

A5 Cita Secinta

B1 Kala Sang Surya Tenggelam

B2 Nada Asmara

B3 Citra Hitam

B4 Adakah

B5 Anak Jalanan

Credits

Yockie: Acoustic Piano, Keyboards

Chrisye: Bass, Guitar

Keenan: Drums, Percussion

Ronnie: Piano, String Melody, Synths

Nina, Ana, Ani: Backing Vocals

Arranged: Yockie and Chrisye

Musica / msc7060 (cassette)

Balinese Cuisine
Balinese Cuisine

Kim Jung Mi (김정미) – 이건 너무 하잖아요 (It’s Too Much Unfair) [1974]

capa cópiaThe music of South Korea has evolved over the decades since the end of the fourth Korean War (1953) and has its roots in the music of the Korean people, who have inhabited the Korean peninsula for over a millennium. Contemporary South Korean music can be divided into three different main categories: Traditional Korean folk music, popular music, or K-pop, and Western-influenced non-popular music.

The first evidence of Korean music is old, and it has been well documented by surviving written materials from the 15th century and was brought to heights of excellence during the Yi Kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Imperial Japan’s annexation of Korea (sic) eliminated Korean music from 1905 to 1945. (!)

Traditional Music Ensemble
Traditional Music Ensemble

A brief post-war period reawakened folk and patriotic music, by 1951, Korea was split into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) and the Republic of Korea (South), from which emerged two completely different approaches to music.

Korean traditional music includes kinds of both folk and classical, including genres like sanjo, pansori, and nongak. The three types of Korean court music are Aak (oldest), Dang-ak (less known) and Hyang-ak (extant form). Today, the Korean Wave, or hallyu (한류), is the word used to discuss the influence of contemporary Korean popular culture on the rest of Asia, and also the rest of the world!

Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance

Let’s go to our artist:

T’onga guitar (tong guitar) is a form of Korean folk and folk-rock music developed in the early 60’s/70’s. It was heavily influenced by American folk music, artists in the genre were then, considered Korean versions of American folk singers, such as Joan Baez or Bob Dylan. Notable early Korean folk musicians include the American-educated Han Dae-soo and Kim Min-ki. Hahn and Kim recorded socially and politically conscious songs, and both had their work censored/banned by the (aforementioned) autocratic Park Chung-hee 1970s dictatorial government (sic).

Han Dae-soo
Han Dae-soo

Despite the government’s efforts to censor political music, popular folk songs increasingly came to be used as rallying cries for social change within Korea, leading to the term norae undong (노래운동), or literally, song movement, being coined to describe songs targeted at social change. In the midst of this turmoil, our today artist flourished thanks to the (irreplaceable) presence of Shin Joong Hyun.

At the dawn of the ’70s, South Korea’s rock music scene was at its zenith, much of the reason for this was the god-like musical touch of guitar wizard, songwriter, producer, and arranger Shin Joong Hyun. In 1971, he took a girl named 김정미 or simply Kim Jung Mi, and transformed her from a wallflower student into a (famous) folk-psych chanteuse in record time, like a Korean Francoise Hardy.

Kim Jung Mi, 1972
Kim Jung Mi, 1972

Born on April 23, 1953, they worked together intensively in six albums until the fateful year of 1975 where the Korean rock was shut down! Only to reinvent itself with the entry of San Ul Lim in 1977. Kim Jung Mi came back that same year with a different sound style and the last effort in 1978, to finally retire from the music business.

I really would like more information about her, like interviews and curiosities, about its life, or even recent news, but so far i (still) haven’t had much success reading and translating in Hangul, could our Korean friends give us any help?!

Let’s go to our album:

The rockier side of her, again thanks to Shin Yung-Hyun’s participation along with the Yupjuns, this certainly defined the Korean psych-rock sound; plus the addition of horns, organ, and even a string section. Still owing a decent reissue, unlike the recent hyped Now (1973), pressed by Lion Productions, and distributed by Light In The Attic, this groovy folk-funk are possibly her best work! With a famous cover from Janis’s Move Over (!), this one sprinkled pepper along with her folk, trot work!

Korean Gipsy
Korean Gipsy

Lastly, this rip comes from the Korean cd re-release, but believe me, the sound is identical to the few versions we have available in Soulseek, etc, terrible!!

But in any matter, this will disparage the appreciation of a beautiful B side from South Korea, let us enjoy another great artist and Udhëtimi i Mirë!

The ‘IM’ highlights are 너와 나 (You & Me) and 너를 갖고파 (I Want You).

Tracks Include:

1 이건 너무 하잖아요 (This Does So)

2 생각해 (Think)

3 난 정말 몰라요 (I Do Not Know Really) – Move Over

4 담배꽁초 (Cigarette Butt)

5 너와 나 (You & Me)

6 갈대 (Reed)

7 당신이 (You)

8 나는 바보인가 봐 (I’m Like a Fool)

9 너를 갖고파 (I Want You)

10 셋방살이 (Living in a Rented Room)

11 너를 보내고 (Send You)

Credits

Performer: Kim Jung Mi

Performed, Composed: Shin Joon Hyun & The Yupjuns

Jigu / JLS 120920

World Psychedelia / WPC6-8499

Psych Foxy
Foxy

Ramasandiran Somusundaram – Skinny Woman (1974)

ramasandrian

Hello everyone! Today’s entry will be very short due to the lack of information available from this curious artist. An Indian (raised?) in Italy, who played with important members of the progressive scene from there. We thank our colleagues from Boxes of Toys for the rip and remember that this is an obscure album, the supposed lack of sound quality should be tolerated. Many of you may already know the funky Skinny Woman, but this album has much more to offer, let’s check!

Let’s go to our artist:

In 1974 a new incarnation of Garybaldi was formed by Bambi Fossati along with old cohort Maurizio Cassinelli, bassist Roberto Ricci, and Indian percussionist Ramasandiran Somusundaram as Bambibanda & Melodie. The percussionist previously active as a session musician also released an album and no less than three singles (in a more commercial vein) between 1974 and 1976 on the Magma label.

Single Cover, 1973
Single Cover, 1973

Let’s go to our album:

The A-side have a funky (non-stop) party atmosphere, with heavy percussion, cosmic keyboards, insane flutes, lo-fi brass, all wrapped in an exploitation feel. On B side things slow down a little bit, we see some influences of Ramasandrian homeland, with oriental tingesmelodic ballads, in a very peaceful Hindu atmosphere. (!)

It’s strange to imagine that this is the same artist from the beginning, the songwriting, a bit iffy on side A, convinces us in B-side, along with the tight band that accompanies him. The overall feeling at the end of the album is of surprise and contentment!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Electronic Heart and Chan.

यात्रा मंगलमय हो!

Tracks Include:

A1 Skinny Woman

A2 I Am Afraid of Losing You

A3 Everybody

A4 Electronic Heart

A5 Leon Dance

B1 Swamy

B2 Bombay

B3 Hari Siva

B4 Shanghai

B5 Chan

Credits

  • Percussions, Congas, Vocals: Ramasandiran Somusundaram
  • Drums, Timbales: Gianni Belleno
  • Composer: Niliomi (Vittorio de Scalzi), Datum (Giorgio Usai), Gianni Belleno

Produzione Studio G – Genova

Magma ‎– MAGL 18006

Bambibanda E Melodie
Bambibanda E Melodie