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Various Artists

Island Sounds From Japan 2009-2016

    Offering a unique window into modern Japanese music, Time Capsule's latest release presents a group of artists who refuse to be bound by genre - mixing jazz, dance, reggae, psych, afrobeat, and indigenous styles into distinctly tropical fusions.

    The last few years have seen an upsurge in popularity for Japanese music. From the deep grooves of 70s Japanese jazz and the funk-filled effervescence of 80’s city pop, to the zen-like ambient soundscapes of the same decade’s environmental music what unites these diverse forms is the similarity in approach of the musicians who created them. Since the first influx of pop music onto it’s shores, Japanese musicians have sought to study and master each form before creating new iterations.

    The music on this compilation features a range of modern Japanese musicians who have each sought to expand genre boundaries by fusing different styles. Hailing from different musical backgrounds they are united by a common goal to deliver a distinctly tropical strain of sound, or what Time Capsule label boss and compiler Kay Suzuki refers to as Island Music. ‘Although this collection concentrates mainly on recent bands it doesn’t try to reflect what is currently popular. Instead, each artist has used a mixture of craftsmanship and their own personal experiences to experiment with styles and reshape them into new and unique forms. I feel strongly that they deserve more exposure around the world’ he says.

    Speak No Evil are a perfect example of this cross-pollination of musical forms. Led by musician Akira Tatsumi, a veteran of Osaka’s verdant ska and calypso scenes, the band was formed from a regular jam session between the city’s reggae and jazz musicians to see what they might be able to create with combined forces. Their version of the same-titled classic by legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter transports the jazz classic into new pastures, as the band takes Shorter’s sweet refrain on a reggae trip, the track finds a natural meeting point between the two genres, adding snappy riddims to jazz’s innate sense of swing.

    Backpacking in India shaped the sounds of Aquatuki. Led by guitar players Taaki and Chen, they layer the trance music they discovered in Goa into psychedelic instrumental jams. The dream-like Wakanoura adds elements of surf and Hawaiian music to the mix with Taaki’s slide guitar evoking beach-side tropical sunsets, while a blues-like melancholia adds another element to a bittersweet track that refuses to be pigeonholed. Another artist whose music was shaped by travels to the subcontinent was maverick musician Altz, whose exposure to Goan psychedelia produced radically different results. Orympia Rocks, with it’s melding of punk funk basslines, echoed disco beats and southern-rock indebted slide guitar is a brilliant example of his trademark groove-heavy twisted disco sound.

    Keiichi Tanaka’s story is one of the great ‘what-ifs’ of modern Japanese music. Schooled as a master-percussionist in Africa, he followed up a stint leading the renowned Japanese afrobeat band KINGDOM AFROCKS with a hugely ambitious first solo album before his life was cut tragically short after a fatal car accident. Pairing musicians from myriad musical backgrounds he created a radical new series of sounds. Written after watching news footage of the bombing in Syria alongside fellow musician OKI, City Of Aleppo captures a wonderfully natural melding of African and Asian styles, with Tanaka’s African-inspired rhythms combining beautifully with OKI’s tonkori - a stringed instrument belonging to the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan. Taken from the same album, the final track on this compilation presents OKI’s City Of Dub remix of the track, with echoed sound effects adding another pinch of spice to this melting pot of styles.

    Offering both a window into the country’s verdant underground music scene and a taste of a rarely profiled strain of tropical music, it’s a compilation that offers further evidence of Japan’s tradition of musical craftsmanship and musical innovation.

    DJ Raff

    Resistencia Remixes EP

    DJ Raff’s creative sampling and ability to seamlessly blend hypnotic beats with traditional Chilean and Latin sounds have earned him a place among Latin America’s most highly regarded DJs and producers. Over the years he has played his distinct sounds at events such as Sonar, Mutek, Lolapalooza, mentored at RBMA Bass Academy in Chile and had his “Latino & Proud” track used as the theme tune on Comedy Central’s award winning series ‘Broad City’ and much more.

    DJ Raff's “Resistencia EP” won strong support by tastemakers like Tom Ravenscroft on BBC 6 Music who called it ‘his best record ever’ and as well as interviewing DJ Raff he also featured a guest mix on his show. Further support included Worldwide FM as “Resistencia” was selected as one of ‘This Week’s Essential Tracks’ and featured in Resident Advisor’s ‘New Tracks’.

    Big In Japan now release a selection of hot remixes of “Resistencia” alongside tracks off the original EP.

    Hot off the heels of releasing their latest album Peruvian duo Dengue Dengue Dengue take the reins on remixing title track “Resistencia” and focusing on the drums and bass they have turned it into a heavy 2am hypnotic banger.

    El Buho, renowned for his beautifully textured production blending Latin sounds with electronic beats, has given “Memoria” a bouncing bassline, shuffling beat and textured with strings. The result in an infectious track you can’t help but move to.

    Argentinian producer Kaleema (who has previously worked with Chancha Via Circuito) played a version of her DJ Raff remix on a live session at Worldwide FM earlier this year. She has taken “Mundo Paralello” and with added synths and strings turned it into a down-tempo dreamscape.

    A really accomplished set of remixes that only look to bolster the net worth of the original tracks. Recommended!


    Matt says: It's very possible, that DJ Raff has taken our (self-coined) shamanic house blueprint to the masses, garnering as he has support from 6Music's Tom Ravenscroft and Worldwide FM. Fair play, it's a seductive outing from the get go here as with a veritable coven of sound witches hauled in for remix sorcery; dancefloor voodoo is afoot folks!

    The first Be With foray into the archives of revered German library institution Selected Sound is one of our favourites on the label - the super in-demand "Japan" from Victor Cavini, originally released in 1983.

    Rare and sought-after for many years now, this is one of those cult library LPs that never turn up. With Daibutsu the giant Buddha of Kamakura’s presence gracing the hefty front cover, this is a record bursting with dope samples for adventurous producers: it’s koto-funk madness!

    Victor Cavini was the library music pseudonym of prolific German composer and musician Gerhard Trede. He was known for exploring instruments and styles from around the world (he played over 50 different instruments himself) and Japan is
    his collection of 14 musical sketches painted with traditional Japanese wind and string instruments. These are the sounds of traditional Japanese folk music re-interpreted through Western ears, with the occassional contemporary twist. Contemporary for 1983, of course.

    These “Pictures of Japan” are hypnotic, sometimes frantic, but always beautiful. The first twelve tracks offer airy explorations of koto and flute, with other strings and percussion being added and then given their own space. Indeed “Pictures of Japan XII” is just drums.

    And then “Pictures of Japan XIII” seems to come out of nowhere. But the subtle sleaze of its full band sound still doesn’t quite prepare you for the towering climax of “Pictures of Japan XIV”.

    This is Japan’s undoubted standout piece, completely and wonderfully at odds with the rest of the album. It’s the reason this has become such a must-have record. It keeps the traditional Japanese instruments but combines them with shuffling funk breaks, electric bass high in the mix and a Godzilla-sized psychedelic fuzz guitar sound that might actually be a traditional reed flute pushed to its limits. Whatever it is, it sounds awesome.
    Recalling both Rino de Filippi’s "Oriente Oggi" and Giancarlo Barigozzi’s "Oriente", the track’s a real head-nod groove for b-boys and b-girls alike that sounds straight out of a late 70s Yakuza film. Indeed, if you were told The RZA or Onra had cooked this up in the lab this century, you’d be convinced. It’s crazy that this dates from 1983.

    The audio for Japan has been sensitively remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis to keep all the character of the original recordings. Richard Robinson has handled the careful restoration of the original Selected Sound sleeve. Essential.

    Over the years Argentinian duo Klik and Frik have taken the bubbling Latin electronic scene to deeper levels and in the process garnered support from the likes of Vice, Billboard, Red Bull as well as sharing line ups with Squarepusher, The Orb, Nina Kraviz, Detroit Swindle and more. Their debut album was released in 2017 and featured friends Nicola Cruz, Chancha Via Circuito and Mohanad Zohair. But it is impossible to talk about Klik & Frik without first delving into their origins as the explosive Frikstailers. The Frikstailers (pronounced freak-stylers), composed of duo Rafa Caivano and Lisandro Sona, exploded onto the scene in 2006 by turning the who electro-cumbia genre on its head. Fusing cumbia with dancehall, hip hop and electronic beats they took tropical to extraterrestrial levels and tore up unsuspecting dancefloors across the world. Their unique style has seen them put out remixes on DFA Records, Young Turks / XL Recordings, Mad Decent ("Hold The Line" Cumbia style anyone?) and included on Modeselektor’s "Modeselektion Vol 2". They have played sessions on KEXP, Boiler Room and NPR and their debut album caught the attention of XLR8R and more. But during their journey as Frikstailers, Rafa and Lisandro found they were maturing in their ideas, sounds and productions. They needed a musical outlet that enabled them to showcase more subtle and textured sounds for the dancefloor that weren’t just upbeat bangers. They wanted to go deeper. In 2013 they were invited to play Mutek Mexico on the Red Bull Music Academy stage and so they began making new music. They explored indigenous sounds (which at the time had been largely ignored) and started to blend them with deeper electronic production. The resulting hypnotic, ritualistic and meditative blends were debuted at Mutek Mexico under their new moniker Klik & Frik. With rich layers of electronic synthesizers and groove boxes the "Refugio EP" has a unique approach to the ancestral influences of South America. From the bass propelling opener "Achalay" (meaning 'How Beautiful') textured with glitches and synths, to the quenacho flute and hypnotic beat on "Refugio" (Refuge), to the piano on "La Puna Satie" inspired by French composer Erik Satie, and the euphoric "Las Penas", the EP is a deep and meditative melding of influences. The traditional quenacho and pinkullo flutes feature across the tracks as a tribute to the indigenous music and mysticism of Argentina. The "Refugio EP" is a reflection on the need for human connection, refuge and a noble reasons to keep going at a time when the world is burning both politically and literally.

    Following the sell-out success of our landmark compilation, J-Jazz: deep modern jazz from Japan 1969-1984, BBE Music is thrilled to present another exploration into the very finest Japanese modern jazz. J-Jazz 2 builds on the solid foundation of the first compilation and sees co-compilers Tony Higgins and Mike Peden once again pick choice sections from their own record collections.

    They present a deep dive into an intoxicating and beguiling range of styles: from cinematic roaring big-band (Little G by Nobuo Hara) and sparse minimal acoustic funk (Teru-Teru Bozo by Teru Sakamoto), to deep spiritual modal epics (Dragon Dance by Makoto Terashita and Harold Land) and funk fusion (Mother of the Future by Electro Keyboard Orchestra).

    J-Jazz 2 delivers more astonishing high quality jazz that will appeal the old school hard-core jazz head as much as those digging the current sounds of the current vibrant jazz explosion in the UK and USA. The specially chosen tracks on J-Jazz volume two span across 25 years of Japanese musical progression and invention. From the elegiac stark beauty of Serenade to a Dimly Lit Street and the modal vortex of Daguri, to the fierce post-bop freedom of Bull Trout and the mid-tempo bossa lilt of Vietnam, there is enough here to satisfy the most curious and demanding jazz fan seeking something extra special.


    Patrick says: After scoring a sell out success with the first volume, BBE revisit the treasure trove of Japanese jazz for another killer compilation of wild cuts and diverse rarities. This is a set so deep that the listener is a cat, whiskey and coffee away from turning into a Murakami protagonist...


    Tin Drum - Remastered

      Partially growing out of their success in the country they were named after, as well as growing friendship and affiliation with such bands as Yellow Magic Orchestra, Japan, on Tin Drum, made its most unique, challenging, and striking album. It was also the final full studio effort from the group, and what a way to bow out -- there was practically no resemblance to the trash glam flailers on Adolescent Sex anymore. Rather than repeat the sheer restraint on Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Tin Drum is an album of energy, Sylvian's singing still the decadently joyful thing it is, but the arrangements and performances tight, full, and active. The fusion of exquisite funk courtesy of Karn and Jansen's joined-at-the-hip rhythm section and a range of Asian music influences, from instrumentation to subject matter, combined with an even wider use of technological approaches to create the dramatic, sly songs on offer. Only the Talking Heads showed the same attempt at reach and variety at the time, at least in the Western rock world, but Japan arguably outstripped the New York band with its sheer sense of theatrical style. To top it all off, the band was more popular than ever, with "Ghosts," an appropriately haunting ballad notable for its utterly minimal arrangement, almost entirely eschewing beats for Barbieri's textures and Jansen's work on marimba, becoming a Top Ten hit in the U.K. The wound-up dancefloor art grooves of "The Art of Parties" and especially "Visions of China," the latter featuring what has to be Karnand Jansen's eternal highlight performance (check out Jansen's jaw-dropping drum break) were also notable efforts. Meanwhile, the evocation of Chinese culture in general continued with such songs as "Canton," a slightly martial, stately march with clear inspiration from the country's classical music tradition, and the concluding "Cantonese Boy." - Allmusic.

      A Half Speed Mastered edition of Japan's 5th studio album from 1981. Mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road studios. Features the singles "The Art Of Parties" and "Ghosts". This record was cut using a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This artisan process results in cuts that have superior high frequency response (treble) and solid and stable stereo images. In short, a very high quality master that helps to create a very high quality record. In addition to this, we will release this album as a double 45 RPM half-speed mastered edition. This is the ultimate for high quality reproduction as the faster the replay speed of the record, the higher the potential quality. Also, the shorter side times allow the level recorded to the master lacquer discs to be increased thereby improving the signal to noise ratio.


      LP Info: Standard 180gram 1LP.

      David Bowie

      Japan 90

        Limited to 350 numbered copies on mint coloured vinyl.

        "Devil's Music" and more! EM Records presents the re-release of Nicolas Collins' live radio sampling masterpiece, originally released on vinyl in 1986, served up in all its stuttering glory, a time capsule of the mid-80s New York City airwaves. Acclaimed by Philip Sherburne as 'an early template for techno', the album has a feel somewhat akin to scratching turntablist madness, a block-rocking party put through a blender and reassembled by body-popping demons. Nicolas Collins is a hugely influential in contemporary electronic music, having performed world wide for many years, collaborating with Christian Marclay, Elliot Sharp, David Shea, David Tudor and John Zorn, composing, recording, modifying circuits and inventing instruments,and spreading the good word through his writing and teaching. The pieces released here are only part of his ongoing, multifaceted and truly experimental activities.


        2xCD Info: CD version: two disc set, audio CD and bonus CD-Rom featuring previously unissued recordings, PC software and a movie. All in a triple gatefold sleeve.

        Big In Japan

        Destroy The New Rock

        Straight from the streets of Reno, Nevada comes Big In Japan and new to the Honest Don roster! Singer Zac was frontman in Zoinks and was in Screeching Weasel for a bit. A mix of classic new wave and modern pop/punk. The 12 hook laden tracks here touch on every subject from the likes of small towns to girl troubles and this is truly pop/punk for the new decade!

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