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

Slađana Milošević and Neutral Design – Neutralni Design (1983)

All right, continuing with the aforementioned Top 5 records (since our departure) this one also fits in this relation, a very very sick New Wave entry with a talented and flamboyant artist who broke all standards back in the day and still are, either performing, writing, modeling or producing she maintains herself as one of the greatest personas of former SFR Yugoslavia, Serbia and even expanding her horizons all over Europe and America.

This is a killer LP, and we will only start off with, so more will come eventually, shall we?

Let’s go to our artist:

Aleksandra “Slađana” Milošević Hagadone (born 1955 October 3 in Belgrade, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia), better known as Slađana Milošević. Her talent for music became very apparent at an early age, so she started education in classical music at the age of five, playing the piano. A few years later, her interest turned to study the violin. Eventually, she embraced rock and the bass guitar performing in school and recording at the age of 15. (!)

Sasha Subota Orchestra – 1976

From then on, her interests had shifted towards various artistic expressions such as acting, playing music and dancing in the fringe theatres and experimental movies. She acted in Belgrade’s Ex Art Theatre, Atelje 212 Theatre and in Academic Kino Club Krsmanović. In 1976, she toured the Soviet Union as a soloist in the Sasha Subota Orchestra, where she had recorded a compilation of World Hits and a single Mikado for Soviet label Melodiya.

Being in constant discordance with the restrictive regime and the media, despite all the efforts, she could not release a solo record in her homeland for many years. Thus, she invests her funds and finally manages to produce and release the first single in 1977.

An Ordinary Gal – 1977

Unexpectedly, it had achieved immediate success hitting No. 1 on the charts. Milošević’s provocative first song “Au, Au” caused many controversial reactions inside the regime. However, her creative potential, persistence, and consistency of ideas had won over. She influenced younger musicians and other less courageous, to follow her bold path.

From then on, every song she had released hit the top of the charts: “Au, Au” (1977), Simpatija” (1978), “Sexy Dama”(1978), then “Amsterdam”, and “Očigledno Nije Mi Svejedno”, off her first and highly-rated LP Gorim Od Želje Da Ubijem Noć from 1979. Milošević’s fame spread throughout the entire region and the surrounding countries. For instance, at midnight, the Hungarian audience celebrated with Alexandra an arrival of the New Year 1979, through her one-hour performance on National TV, Budapest.

Gorim Od Želje Da Ubijem Noć Tour

In 1982, she embarked with her band on a national Yugoslav tour with English rockabilly legends Matchbox. In 1983, she started a band “Neutral Design” in Munich, Germany and released a self-titled album. Musicians in this project collaborated with bands known worldwide such as Santana and Nina Hagen Band. Songs off of this LP were broadcast and sold in West Germany, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and other European countries.

A single “Das Licht von Kairo / Miki, Miki” released in Yugoslavia, became a mega-hit.

Therefore she would only ascend with a myriad of prizes, world tours, and a 1988 LP. Slađana eventually moves on to different countries, expands her professional acting, waning her solo acts in the 90s releasing her last album in 2000, Animal Tested.

Neutral Design Era

Let’s go to our album:

With an incredible variation of rhythms and influences, this is her most mature and lasting album, for a certain period I heard it repeatedly for months, something that grows inside you, a perfect photograph of what was the effervescent beginning of the ’80s.

Being the chameleon she always was, soon Slađana would follow a more Pop direction in ’84 and walk the paths of Jazz on her subsequent album.

Contemporary of Nina Hagen and Bebi Doll in the exotic, provocative and singular aesthetics senses she remains one of the greatest stars of her country and beyond!

1984

The ‘IM’ highlights are Klown I Smrt, a dark-reggae with a wall of synths and Nad Tobom Anđeli Imaju Moć a soothing cyclotomic ballad.

Tracks Include:

A1 Das Licht Von Kairo (Svletla Kaira)
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By, Arranged By P. Labontie

A2 New York
Arranged By S. Milošević
Guitar (Solo) Rudolf Gast
Lyrics By D. Đurić
Music By B. Werber

A3 Hey, Little Boy
Written-By Slađana Milošević

A4 Klovn I Smrt
Arranged By S. Milošević
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By B. Werber

B1 Miki, Miki
Saxophone (Solo) Mića Marković
Written-By Slađana Milošević

B2 Neko Je Tu (Sa Mnom U Sobi)
Arranged By S. Milošević
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By B. Werber

B3 Nad Tobom Anđeli Imaju Moć
Written By Slađana Milošević

B4 Ja Sam Neka Čudna Vrsta
Lyrics By M. Tadić
Music By, Lyrics By, Arranged By S. Milošević

Musicians

Bass: Pit Zaepernick
Drum Programming, Synthesizer (Prophet 5), Organ (Hammond B3): Attila Terry
Guitar, Drum Programming, Effects: Bruce Werber
Producer, Vocals, Guitar, Drum Programming, Effects: Alexandra Sladjana M.
Synthesizer (Roland V, Yamaha): Alex Grunwald
Synthesizer (Roland, Korg), Programmed By (Synthesizer): Florian Anwander

Credits

Design: Gordan Škondrić
Mixed By: Uli Rudolf
Photography: Ljubo Trifunović
Recorded By: Cristian Leibi

Notes

Jugoton ‎– LSY-63185

Recorded at Western Studio, Munich, Germany.
Mixed at Aquarius Studio, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Nowadays

Daniela Casa – Societa’ Malata (1975)

capa cópiaLibrary music, also known as production or stock music, was originally recorded as fodder for media projects that needed readymade soundtrack cues. The tracks were usually brief instrumentals, typically no more than a minute or two in length, and often adopted whatever sounds were popular at the time. As a result, they serve as wonderful snapshots of the various musical eras in which they were laid down, from breezy easy listening and mellow mood to lethal funk jams and Moog noodlings.

These releases were not available to the general public and were chiefly distributed within media production circles. Free of the commercial pressure to produce hits, it was not uncommon for artists to abandon conventional song structures and immerse themselves into it. Even though it was supposed to be background music, a lot of this stuff is quite musically imaginative and makes for enjoyable listening on its own!

Let’s go to our music:

Alessandro Alessandroni
Alessandro Alessandroni (Braen)

Unlike popular and classical music publishers, who typically own less than 50 percent of the copyright in a composition, production music libraries own all copyrights of their music, thus, it can be licensed freely without the composer’s permission.

Library music composers and session performers typically work anonymously and have rarely become known outside their professional circles. In recent years some veteran composers, performers, and arrangers such as Alan Hawkshaw, John Cameron, and Keith Mansfield have achieved cult status as a result of a new interest in library music of the ’60s and ’70s, notably the beat/electronica cues recorded for KPM British label.

Suzanne Ciani
Suzanne Ciani

The Italian library scene from the ’70s is certainly the most popular and extensive of the ‘genre’, recently praised by worldwide labels, Dj’s and the blogosphere.

Soundtrack composers and arrangers such as Alessandro Alessandroni, Piero Umiliani, Bruno Nicolai, Suzanne Ciani, are just some of the greats from the period!

Let’s go to our artist:

Daniela Casa (February 6, 1944 – 28 July 1986), was the daughter of a builder of boats, that graduated from Art Schoolduring this time Daniela studied chant and guitar with Maestro Claudio de Angelis. She was discovered in 1963 and put under contract by Fonit label, participating in the same year at the Grand Prix (RAI TV show), in which she presents his own version of Senza Fine, the famous song by Gino Paoli.

Daniela Casa, 1964
Daniela Casa, 1964

The following year Daniela released her second 45 single, also by Fonit.

In 1965, at the Piper Club in Rome, she forms the duo Dany & Gepy with Giampiero Scalamogna, specializing in the revival of covers of soul and r&b. Along the 70’s she devoted herself to composition, writing the famous hits Regolarmente, engraved by Mina, and Dimmi Cosa Aspetti Ancora, performed by Dominga. Then, Uomo became the theme song of the television program Storie di Donneat the same time she married the musician Remigio Ducros and in 1972, Valentina Ducros was born.

Thenceforth, she develops several instrumental/library albums whose recording career lasted from 1963 through to her untimely death from cancer in 1988. (RIP)

Let’s go to our album:

1971

A genuine pioneer of experimental pop music, electronics, Giallo jazz and even heavy drone-rock jams, her elusive and infectious music joins the dots and loops between other Italian female electronic composers such as Giulia Alessandroni, Doris Norton, and Suzanne Ciani, retaining one of the most diverse composing styles of an advanced mechanical musician. Originally designed for use in Italian thrillers, nature documentaries, educational projects, and commercial installations.

I’m not an ardent fan of Library music, but this wonder recently re-released on vinyl has really poked me from the very first second. Daniela’s aural reflection of the wickedness of humanity and decay of our world delivers a multi-layered musical landscape that remains as vibrant and authentic today as they did 35 years ago!

Piero Umiliani Experiements
Piero Umiliani Experiments

Lastly, this is another exclusive release, godere di questa meraviglia, sì?!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Strade Vuote and Occultismo.

Bon Vwayaj!

Tracks Include:

A1 Ignoto

A2 Strade Vuote

A3 Pericolo

A4 Angoscia

A5 Fabbrica

A6 Oppressione

B1 Esoda

B2 Vizio

B3 Occultismo

B4 Noia

B5 Dittatura

Deneb ‎– DNB 0116

Suspiria's Japanese Poster
Suspiria’s Japanese Poster

Bebi Dol – Mustafa Single (1981)

capa cópiaSerbian culture refers to the culture of Serbia and ethnic Serbs. For centuries straddling the boundaries between East and West, Serbia had been divided among the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; then between the Kingdom of Hungary, the Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium; and then between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire, as well the Republic of Venice in the south. (!)

These overlapping influences have resulted in cultural varieties throughout Serbia: its north leans to the profile of Central Europe, while the south is characteristic of the wider Balkans and even the Mediterranean. Serbs were initially governing the Byzantine frontiers and were later through their sworn alliance gave independence, baptized by Greek missionaries and adopted the Cyrillic script.

Migration of the Serbs, 1896 (Paja Jovanovic)
Migration of the Serbs, 1896 (Paja Jovanovic)

The Byzantine influence on Serbia was profound, firstly through the introduction of Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy) in the Early Middle Ages. The Serbian Orthodox Church has had an enduring status with the many Serbian monasteries constituting the most valuable cultural monuments left from Serbia in the Middle Ages.

Following Serbia‘s autonomy after the Serbian revolution and eventual independence, the culture of Serbia was restrengthened within its people!

Studenica Monastery
Studenica Monastery

Let’s go to our artist:

Born as Dragana Šarić on 2nd October 1962, Belgrade. Singer and composer Šarić had contact with music since her early years, as her father, Milenko Šarić, was a jazz musician. She started in the late ’70s in the band Tarkus, in 1979 her first studio recordings: as a guest (backing) vocalist on the Igra Staklenih Perli album Vrt VetlostiYU Grupa album Samo Napred..! and also KIM Band’s 1981 release.

In 1981, with the guitarist Goran Vejvoda and the bass guitarist Ivan Vdović, she formed the short-lasting band Annoda Rouge. Soon after, Šarić under the (worldwide known) name Bebi Dol, released her (brilliant) solo debut, Oriental music-inspired single ‘Mustafa’, which she composed together with Saša Habić.

1981
1981

The song featured the recording of Slobodan Konjović‘s voice, he was at the time, Studio B musical editor, and participated the whole production. Mustafa was voted the best pop song in Yugoslavia in 1981 and was re-released, two years later, on her debut album, Ruže I Krv, to great critical acclaim and popular success!

Her next album, Ritam Srca, was released more than a decade later, in 1995, even though she regularly performed as a pop and jazz singer (for three years she lived in Cairo, singing in Sheraton hotels), recording and appearing as a guest artist on the albums of other artists. The second pause in her work came in the late ’90s and her album, Ljuta Sam, was released only in 2002 (with electronic tinges).

Early Promo
Early Promo

Her last releases, Čovek Rado Izvan Sebe Živi, in 2006 and Veče U Pozorištu in 2007, were mainly based on American covers, the last a live album. She also made a famous presentation on Eurovision 1991, with one of its mega-hits, Brazil.

Let’s go to our album:

An excellent vocalist gifted with a soaring voice, ultra-eccentric musical talent and altogether this young lady comes in some adorable, nutty package that we had not seen before or since. Here she was catapulted into the national scene, if not exactly to the stars because this single was way too underground for the mainstream audience.

Mustafa sounds one of those rare songs that simply stand the test of time and it has an original message to the protagonist: forget all those European ladies with flower pots on their heads, who make love shamelessly (!). Na Planeti Uzdaha is her own take on famous Edvard Grieg piece where the chorus of vailing and out-of-this-world voices (multi-recorded Bebi Dol herself) sing her atmospheric siren song!

Bebi Dol, Lately
Bebi Dol, Lately

Thanks to our friends from Jugo Rock Fever and many others through the net, we’re able to discover and admire this fabulous music scene developed since communist times. Here are some fine acts, from the 70’sSmak, YU Grupa, Galija and Korni Grupa (hard and prog). And incredible acts from the ’80sIdoli, Šarlo Akrobata, Električni Orgazam and Disciplina Kičme (new wave and synth-pop).

I cannot stop listening to this obscure little gem, Bebi Doll’s performance is quite something, all abroad the Trans-European rail network and Бон Воиаге!

Tracks Include:

A Mustafa

B Na Planeti Uzdaha

Credits

Arranged: A. Habić

Music, Lyrics: D. Šarić

Companies

Printed: GIP ‘Beograd’

PGP RTB ‎– 1120999

Danube, Belgrade
Danube, Belgrade