Tripped out vocal drones,bowed Schnitzler styled glissandos from a viola and fiddle and scattered bamboo percussion this comes at you like Tangerine Dream jamming with Taj Mahal Travellers. Featuring sometime Taj Traveleer Kazuo Imai, this live recording dates from 1976.
Representatives of the early ’70s festival scene, Datetenryu was an obscure cousin to Communist agitator bands Zuno Keisatsu (Brain Police), Yellow, Les Rallizes Denudés and Murahatchibu. Led by organist Masao Tonari, the band on UNTO[album] played a frantic hogwash of soul-based progressive space rock that inhabited the same territory as The the Soft Machine’s debut- LP period (imagine ‘Why Are We Sleeping?’ or ‘Hope For for Happiness’ by way of ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’). Mainly instrumental, their music is a space trek through endless R&B riffs and classic soul moments, like some ever- unfolding medley. UNTO purports to be what the band members would have chosen had they had the opportunity to release an official debut album at the time, ie: a total barrage of lo-fi progressive garage rock. The 20-minute epic ‘Doromamire (Covered All Over In in Mud)’ is the killer, but really it’s all one insane 47-minute-long rush. Formed in May 1971, at Kyoto Sangyo (‘Industrial’) University, Datetenryu was a right bunch of refusenik longhairs. Masao Tonari set up sideways on to the rest of the band, while drummer Shogo Ueda played, head down, facing away from the stage pointing towards Tonari’s Yamaha organ. Indeed, guitarist Kei Yamashita appears to have been permanently out of proceedings in the same way that Yes’s Pete Banks and the Nice’s Davy O’List were forever being sidelined. Datetenryu’s biggest claim to fame, however, was the presence of bassist/singer Hiroshi Narazaki, who later became Hiroshi Nar and joined Les Rallizes Denudés, thereafter forming his own very excellent band the Niplets, who continue to perform right up to the present time.
This virtually unknown free chant’n’ritual ensemble made one brilliant LP DEBON for Voice Records in 1974, before disappearing back whence they came. Often compared to Faust, they actually come across more like some Cajun inbreds at a cannibal sacrifice, the chanting exhibiting an apocalyptic bluesy quality somewhat akin to Exuma the Obeah Man, or Captain Beefheart circa STRICTLY PERSONAL and MIRROR MAN. Hand drums, sleigh bells, tambourines, blues harp, and many many vocals go into the sonic stew that makes the sound of Brast Burn.
Deep trance inducing chantathons coming on like the freewheeling Krauts with shades of bongo driven Popol Vuh styled grooves and Beefheartian lurches. Along with Brast Burn this area of Japrock is the deepest.
Released in answer to Ikuzo Orita’s superb ‘Polydor Super Session’ series of LPs, this riposte/rip-off, written by Buddhist poet/songwriter Naoki Tachikawa and organised by Teichiku Records’ A&R director Hideki Sakamoto, challenged every one of Orita’s projects and beat most of them cold simply by working though Orita’s own blueprint line by line. People even deployed the arsenal of Orita’s own guitar star ex-Outcast hired gun Kimio Mizutani, whose subtle licks inform the entire work. Mizutani shines brightest on side one’s 12-minute drone chant ‘Shomyo Part One’, but the bluesy bell tone of ‘Shomyo Part Two’ is pure and exquisite cosmic monotony, as is that employed on ‘Flower Strewing’, which elevates the track right out of authentic religious bore into a Funkadelic Deadmarch. On the five-minute wa-funk of ‘Gatha’, the apparently egoless Mizutani conjures up a typical Hideki Ishema-style axe scrawl giving the track a sound just like Kuni Kawauchi’s KIRIKYOGEN. By the middle of side two, the tension has broken and the record starts to sound like Tim Leary’s 7UP collaboration with Ash Ra Tempel, as orgasmic Gille Lettmann/Rosi Muller-style female shrieks overwhelm ‘Prayer’. Director Sakamoto kept it all spacey and minimal, then adding plenty more LUMPY GRAVY-period Frank Zappa and mucho David Axelrod (whence came many of the original concepts) to the stew. As if to prove People’s pragmatism, ‘Epilogue’ concludes with 2-minutes of jamming over Axelrod’s immaculate ‘Holy Thursday’ from SONGS OF INNOCENCE. People’s success is their tenacity in holding on both to the drone and, therefore, to the metaphor, which permeates the entire recording and lays serious meditative usefulness on to the listener.
(Text from Japrocksampler)
Talking of holy fuck . . . . Thats what i thought when i first heard this LP. Coming on like Zeit period Tangerine Dream this is one hell of a droneathon classic up there with La Monte Young and Sunn. Takehisa Kosugi was part of the Fluxus movement (Cale,Ono,Conrad etc...) and was also a member of the incredible Taj Mahal Travellers. Layering a droning Moog tone with treated piano and traditional instruments this hits you like Klaus Shultze on Mogadon in India.
More Jap Freakout stuff this time from master composer Masahiko Satoh and his ring modulated piano !!!! More phasetone mindmelters from 1970 that sits well against the Uganda and Love,Live,Life +1 Lps.
Out of all the recent interest in Japanese rock thanks to Mr J Cope's book its the beauties like this that make it all worthwile. Recorded in 1970 and featuring the damaged fuzz guitar of K. Mizutani this LP comes on like a Dieter Derks produced Cosmic Jokers LP all phased and out there. Opener "The Question Mark (17:59)" is one hell of a trip and by the time the 2nd track comes in your brain is fried and just hooks up for the ride thru the rest of the LP. For fans of Cosmic Jokers,Brainticket and the Haphash freakout LP