Time Capsule

V/A - Nippon Psychedelic Soul 1970-1979 LP

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The follow-up compilation to Time Capsule’s Nippon Acid Folk, Nippon Psychedelic Soul takes myriad pathways into the tripped-out undergrowth of 1970s Japan. Finding their feet at home and looking for inspiration abroad, the musicians featured here were engaged in the communal soul-searching that followed the breakdown of the 1960s protest movements. Some made it big, others drifted into oblivion. The music they left behind shimmers with intensity.

At the core was Happy End, the first project of YMO’s Haroumi Hosono, whose distortion-heavy guitar and crisp back-beat laid the foundations for Japanese lyrics that flipped the paradigm of Japanese rock music on its head. With it came a new found sonic ambition, such as in the bold Philly-soul style arrangements of producer Yuji Ohno, whose work with occult wandered Yoshiko Sai shares some of the bittersweet grandeur of Rotary Connection or David Axelrod.

Then there was Jun Fukamachi, a pioneer of Japanese synthesis, whose debut album was a carnival of orchestral funk, euphoric horn lines and rich production, complete with soaring guitar solos, psychedelic organ and a truly cinematic finale. The first and only time Fukamachi would sing on record, ‘Omae’ rips like the ultimate end-of-nighter.

Influenced by giants of the US soul scene, maverick composer Hiroshi “Monsieur” Kamayatsu (otherwise known as ‘the Brian Wilson of Japan’) went one step further, enlisting Tower of Power to play on ‘Have You Smoked Gauloises?’ The B-side to Monsieur’s biggest-selling single, it coasts with sophisticated cool - a liquid bassline and suave keys comping under a roaring trademark ToP sax solo. No surprise it found favour once more on the Acid Jazz dance floors of ‘90s London.