An unfortunately obscure artist, Jun Konagaya was one of the people behind some of Japan’s greatest “industrial” bands of the 1980s. I put industrial in quotes because it’s a relatively loaded term, but let’s clarify by noting that in this context industrial references Throbbing Gristle, SPK, and the like — not Nine Inch Nails or Skinny Puppy. With Tomasada Kuwahara, Konagaya created the great White Hospital, which released one album, Holocaust, in 1984. After separating, Kuwahara started Vasilisk, releasing some very cool tribal-influenced recordings. Konagaya remained on the harsh side of things, with a couple of releases as Grim. The LP and EPs released by Grim remain very hard to find, despite a welcome CD reissue by Germany’s Drag & Drop label in 1999. The CD includes every Grim track, as well as the one fantastic song he released (on a compilation from Dissecting Table’s U.P.D. Organization label) under the name Howling of Himalaya.

Grim’s sound is perhaps closest to SPK’s intense, distorted atmospherics, with a sort of horror movie ambience. Konagaya wasn’t afraid to pull in other influences, though, as demonstrated by the orchestral feel of the song “Amaterasu”. For the most part, though, he stayed with intense growling vocals, percussion using oil tanks and oxygen cylinders, and noise guitar.

The song here, “Mountain”, is from the Folk Music LP, the sole full-length album released by Grim. It came out from Eskimo Records in 1986; I’m not 100% sure, but I believe that Eskimo was Konagaya’s own label. As with many Japanese bands from that era, solid information is hard to come by. In any case, enjoy this song, and if you’re into it, try searching for a mail-order source for the CD (in Europe it appears that it’s available here).

Listen to “Mountain” by Grim


~ by masonoise on April 26, 2008.

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