Seiji Nagai, Yuji Takahashi, Joji Yuasa

Seiji Nagai CD”Electronic works” Edition Omega Point

Born in Tokyo in 1948, Nagai studied drums in a music class when he was in junior high school. He opened his eyes to free jazz and improvisation, started an improvisation concert with Tokio Hasegawa in 1967, and played the trumpet as a member of the “Taj Mahal Travellers” in 1969.

After that, Mr. Nagai studied sitar at an music school in India. After he returned to Japan, he performed sitar concerts all over Japan.

He started composing on a computer around 1979, so this time his works will be introducing works at that time. Two pieces were recorded on each side of cassette tape, which are written only as Medium and Sea, are a minimalist, floating sound composed mainly of synthesizer refrains, with ambiguous beginnings and endings. The sound of real waves is added to the Sea. From that time on, he was interested in environmental sounds.

The two works revealed this time are regarded by Mr. Nagai himself as “these are the origin of my synthesizer and computer music.” – from liner note by ONNYK

Regular edition $18

special edition with poster $30

In August 1979, ONNYK planned an event called “The Fifth Column Week!” (= Daigoretsu Week!), he was one of leader of the expanded category group. It was a gallery event where 22 participants from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Morioka hold exhibitions of objects and graphic works, performances, poetry readings, physical workshops, theatrical events and improvisations. As part of that, I asked Seiji Nagai to perform a live performance of sitar solo.

This special edition #1 consists of regular CD and reprinted poster (20% reduction, 410mm x 410mm) of “The Fifth Column Week!”. The poster was designed by ONNYK and Shohachiro Takahashi, one of pioneer of Japan’s concrete poetry. And it express 70’s underground culture. limited to 100 copies.

Yuji Takahashi CD “Meikai no Heso” Edition Omega Point

A collection of small pieces of tape music by renowned composers, that haven’t been talked about very much. All of them are premiere release on disc.

tr.1 Yuji Takahashi (1938 -), Meikai no Heso (The Umbilicus of Limbo, 1963)

It is also known as Window to Antonin Artaud, or The Umbilicus of Limbo. it was performed in a version of tape and instruments – poetry reading of the French poet Antonin Artaud, which was modified on the tape, and bass instruments as well as percussion instruments. This is a live recording of Musicians Group: New Direction at Sogetsu Art Center, conducted by Toshi Ichiyanagi. At the beginning of the concert, Kuniharu Akiyama gave his commentary about the piece.

tr.2 Kuniharu Akiyama (1929 – 1996), Jo-un Keiji sho (1987) It is a segment of a body of work Sound Gift, that was commissioned by WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) for a show to celebrate John Cage’s 75th birthday. A short text, “Kumo Kumo-wo Joshi Keiji-suru (Kumo=Clouds, Keiji=Cage)”, which was a poetry reading by Akiyama, was looped in the tape, which then overlapped with Haiku about clouds (including English and German), words related to Zen ( in which Cage immersed himself), and sounds. By the way, an English version of Haiku was read by Ayuo Takahashi.

tr.3 Yoriaki Matsudaira (1931 -), Constellation (1984)

This is a work by using UPIC device developed by Iannis Xenakis (which can translate graphical images into sound). Here is Matsudaira’s commentary.

“I decided to draw the constellation which we can see in Japan, and chose to fade in colours depending on the brightness of each star. Each of us was supposed to indicate the tone by images, and I remember that I decided to divide the sky into four sections to change the tone little by little.

tr.4 Yoshio Hachimura (1938 – 1985), Catch in the air (1973It was produced in 1973 at NHK Studio of Electronic Music. Some Japanese traditional instruments, piccolo, tuba, violin, piano as well as electronic sounds were edited on the tape. Its sharp materialistic sound is characteristic of this composer.

tr.5 Toshi Ichiyanagi (1933 -), Music for Film Shikisokuzekuu (1974) The visual of Shikisokuzekuu is described as follows; A letter of Heart Sūtra is projected one by one on the screen rapidly. From the middle of the film, religious paintings appeared with subliminal effect, and flickering vivid colours were added. That gave the audience a dizzy sensation.” The music is mixed barbaric rhythm, electronic sound and Japanese traditionalnt.

SOLD OUT

Somei Satoh CD “Echoes” – Edition Omega Point

Emerald Tablet + Echoes

$22

Kuniharu Akiyama CD “Environmental Music of dining Room” Edition Omega Point

$22

Joji Yuasa CD “Music for film Gengitsu” Edition Omega Point

In 2017, Genjitsu was shown at the Kobe Planet Film Archive. It is a film created in 1966 by a director Tetsuji Takechi, known as a legend of Showa eroticism. But this film has been hidden somewhere somehow from the public for a long time. The film’s story focuses around a prostitute and has a strong fantasy literature style to it as one may have guessed from its title Genjitsu (Sun dog; an optical phenomenon that consists of a light source alongside of the Sun in rare climate condition).

Actually, among some music tapes that I got from Mr. Yuasa, there was indeed one with the same title. However, since the existence of the tape recording was unknown at the time, I was convinced that it wasn’t “tape music” and I left it untouched for quite a while. Hearing news of the film screening made me check what is on this tape carefully. Overall, the sounds were “prosy” with a lot of silence as well as reoccurring sounds of a prepared piano and sounds created presumably by playing inside of the piano (it is likely to have been amplified). But they were also an accumulation of experimental sounds with elements of tape music such as parallel playback with vocal pieces, delay (or tape echo) and ring modulator. In chapter 2, female jazz vocal is inserted.

According to the Kobe Planet Film Archive, the following names are included in the players list. Toshi Ichiyanagi (maybe inside play of piano), Masao Yagi (jazz piano in chapter 2), Yasukazu Amemiya (percussion).

Fantastic !

special edition with bonus CDR $50

Joji Yuasa CD “Miniatures of concret works” Edition Omega Point

$22

Great White Light LP Edition Omega Point

Great White Light organized by Seiji Onishi, Kazuo Kawasumi, Mitsuyoshi Shioya, Goji Hamada performed at the Kishi Memorial Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo, on February 13, 1971. Ten years after the performance, Onishi released a recording of it in LP format as an appendix to his collection “The Works of Seiji Onishi 1966 → 1981”, hereinafter referred to as “Works”). Given that “Works” was published in a small edition, and Onishi moved to Belgium soon after, it was difficult to get our hands around this documentation of the use of sound in the Japanese art of the 1970s. A reissue of this recording is Japanese Art Sound Archive’s 1st LP release.

Great White Light was full of noises created by the wind from the air blowers hitting the microphones. The artists stood in the center of the venue surrounded by the devices: six loudspeakers and air blowers, all facing outward, with a fixed microphone in front of the air outlet of each blower•3. Seats for the audience surrounded the circle, and a beam projector was set next to the wall. During the performance, Onishi operated the transformers of the blowers, and Shioya the lighting. Hamada performed his “action voice” with four microphones•4. In addition to this setup, Taj Mahal Travellers joined as a guest performer. Initially, they had planned to perform only with the blowers and voice, but just before the concert, they got suddenly overtaken by pre-performance anxiety and decided to invite the guests.
(note: this reissue was made from original LP, and some sound problems – slight surface noise and vibration – are on recording.) Ltd to 300, just incredible, noisy and libertaire !

$39 top left corner slighly bumped / rounded

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