Electro, Dub & Breaks: No Wave 1980-1985
I almost passed this one up, because the title wasn’t too promising. The subtitle was almost too small on the spine to see it, but for some reason I pulled it out to look more closely, and I’m very glad I did. Subtitled “No Wave From The Japanese Underground 1980-1985,” this is sort of the Japanese equivalent to the “Noise New York Vol.3” with Ike Yard, Dark Day, and the like.
I only recognized a handful of the 15 names here, which was exciting. Baroque Bordello may be familiar to some as a very early project from Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mother’s Temple. Dendo Marionette I don’t know too much about but have encountered them at least once in the past; and Sympathy Nervous appeared on at least a couple of other compilations from the 80s. As for the rest, who knows (I haven’t yet translated the brief bios in the liner notes).
Suffice it to say that these bands run the range from Suicide and Cabaret Voltaire to Kraftwerk and Cluster, with more than a little post-punk and industrial thrown in. Pressure’s “Detekoi” opens with a stomping rhythm and chanting over electronic chirps and buzzings, followed by Anima’s Ike Yardish heavy rhythms, albeit with a woman singer. Baroque Bordello puts jittery, echoing guitar over a simple drum machine, while DEA and Tristan Disco both follow a Cabaret Voltaire-like synth/funk style. Drone No.1 is more post-punk, while Dendo Marionette remind me of Minimal Man or Tuxedomoon, perhaps. Others include Classic Pearl’s Cluster-like synth piece and Sympathy Nervous doing their best Kraftwerk imitation.
Pretty great stuff, well worth searching out if any of the aforementioned names seem at all interesting. It’s a rather special opening into Japan’s 80s New Wave/No Wave/Industrial scene, outside the barely-more-accessible Trans Records scene.