December 11, 2009 Playlist

"Kokkyou Junreika" by J. A. Caesar (1973)
J. A. Caesar  "Kokkyou Junreika"  1973 (Japan)
This week's classic album is an unusual one -- the complete story of the mysterious J. A. Caesar is a lengthy and fasincating one (retold in Julian Cope's excellent Japrocksampler book), but the short version is that he was the #1 composer and arranger of crazy psychedelic musical theater in Japan in the 1970's, and this was his first record.  It's essentially the musical highlights from an epic play and features less dialogue than many Caesar records,  so therefore seems like the best place for anyone to start  exploring this mysterious madman's musical landscapes.  (In fact I would hazard a guess that most of his work wouldn't be of much interest to non-Japanese speakers, seeing as they are mainly theatrical soundtracks complete with dialogue.)  The first side of Kokkyou Junreika leans towards more rockin' material with heavy organ riffs, whereas the second half is magical mystery ritual music somewhat like The Doors.
The closest I could find to something Caesar-related is footage from the amazing early 1970's Japanese film Throw Away Your Books, Let's Rally In The Streets which was also a play his Tenjo Sajiki theater company was involved with.  Also, this tune from Radical Girl Utena, a cartoon he scored in the 1990's which hearkens back to the "radical" sound of his 1970's work.  For further J-rock pleasure, here's three songs by the awesomely brilliant glitter/biker rock trio GEDO from 1975.  
(N) = New Release
(R) = Listener Request
Artist Song Album Year (label) Country
Mission of Burma Possession The Sound The Speed The Light (N) 2009 (Matador) USA
Sonic Youth Walkin' Blue The Eternal (N) 2009 (Matador) USA
Os Mutantes
Neurociência Do Amor (Neuroscience Of Love) Haih . . . Or Amortecedor (N) 2009 (ANTI-) Brazil
Cornershop Free Love Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast (N) 2009 (Ample Play) UK
The Breeders Fate To Fatal Fate To Fatal EP (N) 2009 (Period Music) USA
The Fiery Furnaces Staring At The Steeple I'm Going Away (N)
2009 (Thrill Jockey) USA
Fat Freddy's Drop The Raft Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW (N) 2009 (The Drop) New Zealand
Wooden Shjips
Down By The Sea Dos (N) 2009 (Holy Mountain) USA
MV & EE Summer Magic Barn Nova (N)
2009 (Ecstatic Peace!) USA
Acid Mothers Temple (R) Acid Mothers Rock'n'Roll Acid Mothers Temple And The Pink Lady Blues Featuring The Sun Love And The Heavy Metal Thunder 2006 Japan
Träd, Gräs och Stenar Tänkte Bara Undra (Pondering Wondering) Homeless Cats (N) 2009 (Gashud/
Subliminal Sounds)
Taj Mahal Travelers The Taj Mahal Travelers Between 7:03-7:15pm July 15, 1972 1972 Japan
J. A. Caesar Minkan Iryou Jutsu
  / Ootori No Kuru Hi
Kokkyou Junreika
1973 Japan
Karlheinz Stockhausen Hymnen - Region 4 (Continuation) Hymnen (Stockhausen Complete Edition CD #47) 1967 Germany
Neil Young Mellow My Mind Tonight's The Night 1975 Canada
The Band We Can Talk Music From Big Pink 1968 Canada/USA
The Grateful Dead Jack Straw (live) Europe '72 1972 USA
Camper Van Beethoven We Saw Jerry's Daughter
  / Suprise Truck
  / Stairway To Heavan (sic)
Camper Van Beethoven 1986 USA
The Mandrake Memorial (R) Witness The End / Celebration Medium 1969 USA
Back to playlists         Back to main