Yoshiko Sai – Mikkō (1976) [Repost]

Due to the great success of Yoshiko Sai’s first entry, simply the most viewed during this year, today we present another album of this incredible haunting artist!

Let’s go to our history:

Edo (modern Tokyo) became the seat of government for the military dictatorship in the early 17th century Japan, the so-called Edo period (1603–1867). With an ‘everlasting’ peace and prosperity, the merchant class at the bottom of the social order found themselves the greatest beneficiaries of the city’s rapid economic growth. Other classes were the samurai and the craftsmen. Many indulged in the entertainment of kabuki theatre, courtesans, and geisha of the pleasure districts.

The term Ukiyo (floating world) came to describe this hedonistic lifestyle. Printed or painted ukiyo-e images of this environment emerged in the late 17th century, the merchant class, who had become wealthy enough to afford to decorate their homes with such brilliant works. Depictions of beautiful women, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica were amongst the popular themes. (!)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1844
Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1844

The peak period in terms of quantity and quality was marked by portraits of beauties and actors by masters such as Kiyonaga, Utamaro, and Sharaku in the late 18th century. This peak was followed in the 19th century by a pair of masters best remembered for their landscapes: Hokusai and Hiroshige. Following the deaths of these two, and against the technological and social modernization that followed the Meiji Restoration of 1868, ukiyo-e production went into steep decline.

Some ukiyo-e artists specialized in making paintings, but most works were prints. Artists rarely carved their own woodblocks for printing; rather, production was divided between the artist, who designed the prints; the carver, who cut the woodblocks; the printer, who inked and pressed the woodblocks onto hand-made paper; and the publisher, who financed, promoted, and distributed the works.

Hokusai, 1830-32
Hokusai, 1830-32

Japonisme, or Japonism, is a French term that was first used (theorized) by Jules Claretie in his book L’Art Francais in 1872, it refers to the influence of Japanese art on Western art. In 1854, Japan re-opened trade with the West (after 265 years of isolation) and Japanese artworks including fans, porcelains, woodcuts, and screens were introduced in huge numbers to Europe, mainly France and the Netherlands.

The 1862 World’s Fair in Europe brought even more attention to Japanese art, during the 1860’s ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock prints, became very popular and were a source of inspiration to many impressionists and post-impressionist artists in the west including Monet, Manet, Degas, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. (!)

Utamaro, 1793
Utamaro, 1793

Let’s go to our album:

Released on July 25th, 1976, Mikkō was Sai Yoshiko’s second album, a wonderful acid-folk register on which she gets assisted by a string of big-name musicians such as Kuni Kawachi on arrangements. At times the disc draws in Indian influences (sitar and tabla), but once she gets to singing, the listener is lulled into her own private, mysterious sonic world, through which one gets sucked in by her wide-ranging vocalizations. At the time of this recording, she was merely 23 years old.

This is a quieter, entrained album, compared to Taiji No Yume, with less variety of styles, making a melodic somber entry. I really would like to know more details about the lyrics, will any Japanese friend could help us? This is such a stunner voyage of consciousness, welcome to the unique realms of Yoshiko Sai, be ready!

1977's Promo
1977’s Promo

The ‘IM’ highlights are Tenshi no Yōni and Mikkō.

Bonum Cursum!

Tracks Include:

A1 Theme ~ 母さまのうた (Theme ~ Kāsama no Uta)

A2 鏡地獄 (Kagami Jigoku)

A3 (Haru)

A4 絹之道 (Kinu no Michi)

B1 人のいない島 (Hito no Inai Shima)

B2 眠りのくに (Nemuri no Kuni)

B3 天使のように (Tenshi no Yōni)

B4 漂流船 (Hyōryūsen)

B5 密航 (Mikkō)

Translations, respectively:

Theme – Mother’s Song, Hell of Mirrors, Spring, Silk Road, Desert Island

Land of Sleep, Like an Angel, Ship Adrift and Stowing Away

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar: 吉川忠英, 野間義男
  • Cello: 阿部雅士
  • Drums: 山下秀夫, 田中清司, 武田光司
  • Dulcimer: 生見慶二
  • Electric Bass: 江藤勲, 高水建司
  • Electric Guitar: 高中正義, 津村泰彦
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Sitar (E. Sitar): 矢島賢
  • Flute: 中川昌三
  • Piano, Keyboards: 大谷和夫, 松岡直也
  • Strings: 新音楽協会
  • Tabla: 瀬上養之助
  • Vibraphone: クニ河内
  • Arranged: クニ河内 (Kuni Kawashi)
  • Lyrics, Music: 佐井好子 (Yoshiko Sai)
  • Engineer伊豫部富治
  • IllustrationYoshiko Sai
  • Design (Cover Design) – Teichiku Design Section
  • Directed: 春名勇

Companies

  • Made: Teichiku Records Co., Ltd.
  • Recorded: Sound Creation Studio
  • Mixed: AMS Studio

Recorded at Teichiku No.1 Studio and Sound Creation Studio.

Mixdown at AMS Studio from March to May 1976.

Black ‎– BAL-1018

Yoshiko’s Painting Cover Art

Martha Elefteriadu ‎– Kresby Tuší (1980)

Welcome back to you all! Needless to say, how thrill I am today with this spectacular album, a real kaleidoscope of genres brought you by one of the greatest artists in former Czechoslovakia. Getting to know her better, unfortunately, I noticed that this album was an odd point of alternation in its career, founded basically on Soul Beat and then Pop Folk.

Always side by side with her beloved sister, this unique solo entry has brought us so many colors that I wonder why she gave up on this very bold path. Anyhow, we present this one that should be revered as one of the milestone records from former Czechoslovakia and as if an entire constellation of musicians was not enough, its richness is present, in the arrangements, special participations, multiple orchestras, and lush atmosphere!

Does it look good to you? Because it is much more than you can imaginePřipravit Se!

Let’s go to our artist:

The Elefteriadu’s – the 50s

Martha Elefteriadu (September 12, 1946 Bulkes, Yugoslavia) is a Czech singer of Greek origin, half of the duo Martha a Tena, together with her sister Tena. Their family emigrated from Greece because of the Greek Civil War and settled in 1950 in former Czechoslovakia. Their mother died while they were children, so they grew up in orphanages, she spent her childhood with her sister, in many children‘s homes (more than five, actually), which were reserved for Greek refugees, including one in Ivančice.

At the end of the 1960s, the sisters met a guitarist Aleš Sigmund from band Vulkán, who helped them create strong creative and musical foundations. They worked in Vulkán between 1966 and 1970, partly with another sibling couple, Hana and Petr Ulrych.

Martha A Tena – 1969

Their first records are from 1968, in 1970 they released their first LP record with Panton Records Dál Než Slunce Vstává. They quickly established themselves in Czech Pop music also collaborating with many notable artists such as Skupina Aleše Sigmunda, Bob Frídl, Gustav Brom Orchestra, Pavel Novák, and Jiří Suchý. The gals managed to continuously be active reaching stardom throughout the 1970s with countless participations and prizes at festivals, musicals, plays, TV shows, and tours not only within Czechoslovakia. (!)

Live, in the 70s

By the end of the decade, they had already released more than 30 albums and compacts! Ranging between pop-folk and Greek music. Martha later studied psychology, while at the same time devoted yourself professionally to music, since then, both sisters have been the stars of Czech popular music. Martha and Tena enriched Czech culture with their southern temperament and Greek spontaneity. At present, they focus mainly on the interpretation of Greek folk songs, the teaching of Greek dances, cuisine, books and occasionally performing, their latest album came out in 2005, besides greatest hits records and such.

Let’s go to our album:

Sister Love

How to understand a record that did not have a tour, who faced major problems with the censorship, and with modest participation in sales charts could bear the 1981 album of the year by Melodia magazine? Despite all these, (at least the critics seem to get it by the time) Kresby Tuší (Ink Drawings) remains intact by the passage of time thanks to its multiple composers, lyricists, orchestras (!) and gala participation of musicians like Michael Kocáb (arranger), but also by Dežo Ursiny, Vladimír Mišík, Vladimír Merta and Oskar Petr.

Martha delivers us a fabulous variation of art-rock, jazz, fusion, bossa nova, funk and more. It feels lush, dark and dense all over, but it also has its (brief) sunny moments.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Hrál Sis Hrál and Vítám Slunce Ranní.

Tracks Include:

A1 Dvě Kresby Tuší I.
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

A2 Měla Jsem Vždycky Smůlu
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Dežo Ursiny

A3 Proměna
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Vladimír Mišík

A4 Hrál Sis Hrál
Lyrics By: Pavel Fiala
Music By: Pavel Větrovec

A5 Výlet Po Řece
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

A6 Kde? Kdy? Já A Ty
Written By: Vladimír Merta

B1 Mám Ráda Běh
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B2 Melancholická Noc
Lyrics By: Jiří Dědeček
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B3 Vítám Slunce Ranní
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Dežo Ursiny

B4 Podzimní Odpoledne
Lyrics By: Martha Elefteriadu
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B5 Tohle Že Máš Být Ty?
Lyrics By: Martha Elefteriadu
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B6 Dvě Kresby Tuší II.
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals: Vladimír Merta (tracks: A6)
Bass Guitar, Contrabass: Ondřej Soukup
Drums: Ladislav Malina, Vratislav Placheta
Electric Piano, Piano, Synthesizer: Michael Kocáb
Guitar: Jiří Špidra, Martin Koubek
Percussion: Jiří Tomek
Harmonica: Ondřej Konrád

Backing Band (Studiová Skupina): Studiová Skupina Michaela Kocába

Oboe: Jiří Kaniak
Flute: Jiří Stivín
Clarinet: František Pušman
Alto Saxophone: Antonín Nachtman,  Miroslav Krýsl
Baritone Saxophone: František Kryka
Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone: Jan Kubík
Tenor Saxophone: Bedřich Kuník, Milan Ulrich
Trombone: Jiří Doubrava, Josef Pavelka, Mirko Koželuh, Svatopluk Košvanec
Trumpet: Jiří Hlava, Laco Deczi, Vlastimil Voňavka, Zdeněk Šedivý

Strings: Jan Mráček, Jiří Fišer, Jiří Rajniš, Květomír Řezníček
Strings, Orchestra: Smyčcový Orchestr Oliver Dohnányi
Violin: Jan Hrubý

Vocals: Dežo Ursiny (tracks: B3),
Hana Hostková-Löfflerová (tracks: A2),
Helena Viktorinová (tracks: B5),
Lída Nopová (tracks: A2), Marie Jakoubková (tracks: A2, B5),
Michael Kocáb (tracks: B1), Tena Elefteriadu (tracks: B3)

Conductor (Smyčcový Orchestr Řídí): Oliver Dohnányi

Arranged By: Michael Kocáb

Credits

Cover: Václav Šimice
Engineer: Jan Štěpánek, Petr Podlešák
Photography By: Taras Kuščynskyj
Producer: Ondřej Konrád
Recording Supervisor: Pavel Kühn, Svatoslav Rychlý

Notes

Panton ‎– 8113 0039

Record Company: Panton, Vydavatelství Českého Hudebního Fondu
Recorded At: Studio Smetanova Divadla
Pressed By: Gramofonové Závody

Nahráno ve studiu Smetanova divadla v Praze, 1979—1980

Dnešek

The Markko Polo Adventurers ‎– Orienta (1959)

We’ve already got a little good share of Exotica here in the ‘IM’, you can easily go for Yma, Russ, and Dominic for your exquisite delight! But I think we should talk a little bit more about it since its one of my fav genres, always with some magical cover and a fantastic vibe from faraway, today’s album is no different so let’s get a ticket to the (wild) East.

Let’s go to our history:

Exotica is a form of easy-listening lounge music that draws upon world music, but it doesn’t aim for authentic replication. Instead, exotica’s primary concern is lightweight entertainment, gathering readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form. The music typically conjures up images of exotic foreign tourist destinations geared toward white Americans, and in that sense, it’s sort of the equivalent of a pre-packaged resort vacation: fun, inauthentic, and safely familiar. (!)

1958 Fire Goddess

Exotica is usually arranged for standard orchestras, with instrumentation added according to the location being evoked (ethnic percussion, string instruments, etc.); some exotica also borrows the otherworldly sound effects that define the space-age pop style. The Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America, Brazil, and Africa are among exotica’s most popular regional musical sources, major exotica artists include Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Eden Ahbez, Gene Rains, Esquivel, Yma Sumac and many more.

Let’s go to our artist:

Orienta was the work of three music industry professionals with a history of involvement in exotica and easy listening music. Producer Simon Rady was coming off the huge success of The Music from Peter Gunn, which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, and won the inaugural Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1959. Associate producer Michael H. Goldsen was one of the industry leaders in popularizing Hawaiian music and was later inducted into the (legendary) Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

Debra Paget in Fritz Lang’s The Indian Tomb

The album was arranged and conducted by Gerald Fried, a Juilliard School-trained oboist who later went on to fame as a composer of music for motion pictures and television, including the 1960s series Star TrekThe Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Gilligan’s Island.

Orienta was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of exotica music in the late 1950s. The genre’s popularity peaked in 1959 as Martin Denny’s 1957 album Exotica spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart. The album was recorded in stereo and was designed to appeal to the growing popularity of albums demonstrating the new technology. It features a wide assortment of woodwind and rhythm instruments as the liner notes describe a recording studio filled with as many as 25 percussion instruments.

Sandy Warner, 1959

Let’s go to our album:

The album’s liner notes stated that:

”The music resembles the dreams of an imaginative person who has fallen asleep during a ‘Dr. Fu Manchu’ movie on television, with vignettes that combine the sounds of the East with the wit of the West; the charm of the Orient with the humor of the Occident.”

A lost lounge gem from the RCA catalog, with a dreamy exotica feeling, Gerald Fried arranged and conducted this faux (studio) group, and his overall approach has lots of sweeping woodwinds and percussion, similar to the great Les Baxter work on Capitol during the period. The tracks have a pronounced Eastern feel including original compositions and adaptations from Rimsky-Korsakov, Harry Warren, and Vernon Duke.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rain in Rangoon and Mountain High, Valley Low.

Tracks Include:

A1 Song Of India-Beggars’ Procession
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

A2 Yokahama Ferryboat
Composed By: Leon Pober

A3 Rain In Rangoon
Composed By: Vèrnon Duke

A4 Madam Sloe Gin’s
Composed By: Leon Pober

A5 The Girl Friend Of A Whirling Dervish
Composed By – Dubin, Warren, Mercer

A6 Mountain High, Valley Low
Composed By: Bernard Hanighen, Raymond Scott

B1 Scheherazade
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

B2 Limehouse Blues
Composed By: D. Furber, P. Braham

B3 Night Of The Tiger
Composed By: Leon Pober

B4 Nagasaki
Composed By: H. Warren, M. Dixon

B5 Train To Ranchipur
Composed By: Gerald Fried

B6 Runaway Rickshaw
Composed By: Leon Pober

Credits

Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Conductor: Gerald Fried
Co-producer (Associate): Michael H. Goldsen
Producer: Simon Rady
Recorded By (Engineer): Thorne Nogar

Notes

Recorded in Hollywood, California, May 15, 21 and 31 and June 6, 1958

Gerald Fried, Alive and Kicking

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