Communal, here's-an-instrument-have-a-crack, hippie mastodon waltz-drone free jamming psychout. Achtung Amon Düül I heads, you know the drill. At the door exchange heavy Teutonic politiks for Swedish good vibes. Betimes, we stumble across group of Nordic psychedelic barn dancing fiends...most likely in the snow...at night....naked.
Harvester went on to form Trad Gras Och Stenar (Trees, Grass and Stones). This looser über-stoned earlier incarnation does not disappoint.
Superior garage folderol from Montreal's finest. Tearing narrow blues/psych/rnb furrows in their backyard n coming up smiling, mixing thumping originals n chirpy covers. Some standards go awry: a heroically windy version of Jagger-Richards' Out Of Time, plus Frenched up Hendrix adrift dans le Vapeur Mauve. 60s outfits of herein stripe usually bequeath a bijou sonic estate - a handful of stone cold classics best corralled within Nuggets-style compilations. Not so The Haunted, who strut n stomp from start to finish.
Y Brawd is syn-aesthetically feeling tastes of Pekka Streng and Bo Hansson in Swedish psych-prog-pop-folk mosaic artists Dungen. Choice proggy structures intersected by bursts of dizzy melody. Svenska magiker.
05 Cwm Rhondda
06 Ar Hyd Y Nos
07 Migldi Magldi
08 Calon Lân
09 Llwyn Onn
10 A Ei Di’r Deryn Du
11 Dafydd Y Garreg Wen
12 Mil Harddach Wyt Na'r Rhosyn Gwyn
13 Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
14 Yr Insiwrans Agent
15 Bachgen Bach O Dincar
16 Ar Lan Y Môr
17 A Ei Di’r Deryn Du (reprise)
Fag end of 70s outing for Ashley Hutchings and Co.. Said company a solar line up comprising Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, Dave Mattacks, John Tams, Philip Pickett, McGarrigle sisters, and er..Julie Covington. Something of a last huzzah for folk rock in classic UK vein. Joe Boyd produced...always a fair sign. Gruff saucy drone of Poor Old Horse a particular treat.
Going out to Edo at the mighty Know Your Conjuror...taken down this day.
One 01 Boogie Nights - Heatwave (aint no doubt we are here to party) 02 Le Freak - Chic (young and old are doing it I'm told) 03 I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (as long as I know how to love, I know I'll be alive) 04 I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross (got to let it show) 05 Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas (fighting...lightning...frightening...it's an ancient Chinese art) 06 Knock On Wood - Amii Stewart (the way you love me is frightening) 07 You Make Me Feel Mighty Real - Sylvester (love me like you should) 08 Born To Be Alive - Patrick Hernandez (it's good to be alive) 09 D.I.S.C.O. - Ottawan (desirable...irresistible...super sexy...(such a) cutie...oooooh)
Two 01 Hot Stuff - Donna Summer (sittin' here eating my heart out baby) 02 Funky Town - Lipps Inc (keep me groovin' with some energy) 03 Fantasy - Earth, Wind And Fire (all your dreams will come true miles away) 04 I Feel Love - Donna Summer (I feel love) 05 That's The Way I Like It - KC and the Sunshine Band (uh-huh uh-huh) 06 You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate (I believe in miracles) 07 Get Down On It - Kool and the Gang (get your back up off the wall) 08 Car Wash - Rose Royce (it's better than diggin' a ditch)
Massively pre-dating n outmaneuvering Mr Reed's Metal Machine Music in the ear-cleaning stakes, here be Big Bang Minimalism; 20th century classical avant garde teetering on the edge of rock 'n' roll. Mind-numbing waves of amplified strings - check - slowly bowed overlapping drones - check - alienating and all enveloping sound distorting all sense of time and place - yes, please. (Transferred from decayed tape that occasionally staggers n stutters in thrilling fashion.)
Kraut dub post-punk opus. Pinnacle of Lydon's PiL "project". Levene and Wobble cover themselves in glory: all angular, spiky guitar and deep roots bass throb. A revolving stool of various metronomic drummers adding to general Can meets King Tubby down the death disco vibe.
...still sounds like nothing else; absurdly, it was often mocked at the time by people for whom The UK Subs were enough.
Interpretations religious, alchemical, historical, and evolutionary.
You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film—and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level—but I don't want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he's missed the point.
The movie eschews and engenders intellectual verbalization e.g. allegorical references to Homer's epic: Bowman as Odysseus, skilled archer; one-eyed HAL as Cyclops, killed by Bowman by insertion of a key just as Odysseus blinds Cyclops with a stake.
Music has synchronous meanings. Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra is referenced byRichard Strauss's music of the same name. Zarathustra posits humankind as rope dancerbalanced between apeand Übermensch.
Further Nietzschean conceit comes from The Birth of Tragedy and the conflict between Apollonian and Dionysian modes of being. Apollonian is for rational, scientific, and self-control. A purely Apollonian mode is problematic; it undercuts the instinctual side, lacking wholeness and immediacy. While the ape world at the beginning of 2001 is Dionysian, space travel is wholly Apollonian, and HAL an entirely Apollonian entity. Johann Strauss II's coolly syncopated and mechanically driven waltz kicks in during the space station docking scene.
We also get Gyorgy Ligeti's sublime atmospherics....go figure. Wherever it takes you, this soundtrack will make your day seem significant and weird.
Prescient and unprecedented tribute to indeterminacy, electronic hiss, ruptured nostalgia, guitar / siren wail, ghostly future times past, patriotism, distant bells, radio transmission, tape manipulation, hubristic pre-war swagger, and in the end, friendship. For all the artiness of the undertaking - avant garde to the core - "Opera" is intensely autobiographical and engaging.
Ichiyanagi compares music to Japanese garden design: meticulous, painfully ordered yet always interacting with indeterminate elements - moisture, light, wind. Despite the self-declared tilt at natural multiplicity over concentrated construct, the do-it-yourself flow of patchwork elements benefits from intimate aleatoric framing. The details look after themselves.
To Tadanori Yokoo, Japanese pop design magus. Like Ichiyanagi, Yokoo's multi-layered approach is highly personal and gives the lie to easy comparisons, notably "the Japanese Warhol" moniker. Modus operandi converge. Yokoo saturating and manipulating popular by-gone images in bang up to date lysergic colour; Ichiyanagi knitting traditional enka with musique concrète and psych feakout à la mode. Both artists tackle tricksy themes around nationalism and nationhood: Yokoo's risqué red sun ray flag (kyoku jitsu-ki) as recurring motif; Ichiyanagi's sampling of rousing miltary marching song. More cultural reclamation than the revivalist impulse that drove contemporary - and Yokoo friend and influence - Mishima Yukio.
The “Opera” is a multi-media affair; the importance attached to the visual side of the production well ahead of its time. Attention to sonic and visual detail - however indeterminate -as meticulous as traditional Japanese art and crafts. The work is ahead of its time in other ways.
1 Aria ichi [Aria one] Traditional ballad setting leit motif of melancholy nostalgia.
2 Erekutorikku chanto [Electric chant] More hiss and whine than chant. "Chant" well-chosen, nevertheless, as sickly electronic Buddhist drone morphs into air-raid siren. Cue martial brass band and military singing. Oppressive and rousing; attracting as it repels. 20 years later, the likes of Current 93 and Death In June would court controversy with similar use of Nazi martial tunes. No gimmicks here.
3 Otoko no junjo [Man’s pure heart] Distant noises, footsteps, two men feeling their way into a song on skeletal piano. Complaining about the piano, they notice the environing silence:
"Everybody’s gone – nobody is watching. Should we continue when there is no one?" Big question. Finally, free from background noise, the song is delivered in full.
Switch: crowd noise. Rumpus. Sports match? Riot? Protest? Woman sobbing - fear or erotic excitement?
Low-flying aircraft passes overhead.
(1966, a group of Narita locals tool up with student activists and left-wing politicos forming Sanrizuka-Shibayama Union to Oppose the Airport)
4 Uchida Yuya to Za Furawaazu (Uchida Yuya and the Flowers) 27-minute long psych free form freak out. 20 mins. one side, remainder on next. Ichiyanagi let loose the reins on budding young psychonauts with the sole stipulation that the piece be titled after Yokoo's signature 1965 poster I Was Dead.
The central slogan on Yokoo's poster: “Having reached a climax at the age of 29, I was dead". Inkling that Ichiyanagi is having a joke at young gun expense.
5 Uchida Yuya to Za Furawaazu (Uchida Yuya and the Flowers)
Caution, mind melting in progress. 7 more minutes.
6 Nyuyooku no uta [New York song] Poem recited in Edo-jidai Japanese, then contemporary dialogue and short monogatari.
At this point, check again Ichiyanagi's integration of Yokoo thematic riffs. For instance, the "Opera" shares imagistic and sonic links to Yokoo's 1965 animation Kach Kachi Yama:
7 Kayo myuzikare [Kayo musicale] Medley: radio jingles, random commentary, film excerpt (adult scolds initially recalcitrant but ultimately pliable young woman for accepting something from a stranger), and Meiji Chocolate ad given the full Group Sound treatment chokoreeto – chokoreeto. Switch: European church bells, harpsichord looped, echoed, deconstructed. Switch: sound of massive bombing raid. End.
Amounting to what? Let's venture: a comment on corrosive Western / capitalist influence? Whether low art or high - reedy GS organ peddling chocolate or god pandering Bach keyboard - the outcome obliterates.
8 Love Blinded Ballad Uta 1969 Archival announcements, patriotic songs, marching fanfares, speeches, classical violin, military songs intermixed curvilinear fashion. Whirlwind tour through 30s & 40s public sphere. Pervading unease and eeriness recalls Derrida's hauntology. Ichiyanagi way ahead of "nostalgia for the future" curve.
And blinded by love for what exactly? Patriotism....
9 Spite Song Uta 1969 Frogs croak, waterfowl cackle, crows caw; earlier patriotic choruses hover ghostly in the background. Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake subjected to discordant squeaking as AM radio tunes in and out of romantic cliché to the point of unlistenability. Final transition to bombing alert siren comes as relief!
10 Takakura Ken, Tadanori Yokoo o utau [Ken Takakura sings to Tadanori Yokoo] Or is it more an "All Clear" signal? That would make sense as next and last up is enka serenade by yakuza movie hard man Takakura Ken.
Ichiyanagi's choice of Takakura Ken is apposite and affectionate. Tadanori Yokoo provided commercial posters for several of Takakura’s gangster flicks and was obviously enamoured.
And so, a warm, personal ending to a disquieting, shattering journey. Enjoy the trip.
Assisted by Neu! and Harmonia producer Conny Plank and Can's Jaki Liebezeit, Rother straps on precision engineered guitar, bass guitar, piano, synthesizer and electronic percussion and whooshes suavely horizonwards.