New material and reissues from Japan display musical diversity of nation

One of the recent highlights has been the super-funky, super flaky LP by Shintaro Sakamoto. The former Yura Yura Teikoko guitarist smashes it with his Hawaiian lap steel guitar on this, the fourth solo album by this pioneer. When Sakamoto duets with robot voices (Purging the Demons) we are hearing something unique. Love Is Possible is reggae, roots, Balearic, funk, pop and rock all at once in a heady brew that is both fresh and timeless – as you can hear from the title track.

Yura Yura Teikoku recorded a dozen studio albums between 1992 and 2007, but  played to large audiences in Japan, only touring outside the country in the United States in 2005. Sakamoto will be earning himself new listeners with this release, as well as revisits to the psychedelic rock sound of his former three piece.

There are timely reissues of the Japanese ambient variety also.  One of the most essential pieces from this country and in this genre is Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi LP. This has been one of the most sought after OG vinyls from the country for many years. The 1982 first release is highly coveted and the 2016 reissue  was a welcome one, though still soaring in value since last year. Heads up on another reissue circulating soon, though not on the Better Days label.

Finally, another supreme collection of Japanese music has been released by the awesome label Light In The Attic. Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 is the first installment in what promises to be an essential ‘Japan archival’ mini-series. The twists, turns, emotion, soul, selection, package, artwork and price make this one of the must-have compilations of 2017. Music lovers can expect big things from now on with the themed mini-series.

Other artists include Haruomi Hosono, Yasuaki Shimizu, Kenji Endo, Kazuhiko Yamahira & The Sherman, Sachiko Kanenobu, Kazuhiko Kato, Takashi Nishioka and Hachimitsu Pie.

To see a collection of the stunning cover art associated with this release, click here to visit the WTM Japan page.

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