And so to books and starting off here with a music focused book that I got for Christmas –
Japrocksampler: How the Post-war Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock’n’roll – Julian Cope (2008)
Now I’m a fast reader but here we are in the second week of February and I’ve only just finished a book of c300 pages, what’s going on?
The issue here I think is a combination of Japanese names and the condensing of decades of rock music that caused my synapses to become blocked and unable to take in more than a handful of pages everyday. What wasn’t the issue was Julian’s writing style. I’ve seen it criticised elsewhere but it gave me no grief whatsoever, it’s obvious that he’s passionate about the music and he’s just trying to get that across. In fact I find it refreshing to come across a book like this where the author is enthusiastic, too often they can end up being dry and academic.
And what is a “book like this”?
Well it’s a detailed romp (if such a thing is possible) through the postWar Japanese rock mind, ethos and industry and it’s one hell of a ride as you cover musique concrete, eleki, the Japanese performance of Hair, a hijacked plane, sniffing paint thinners, futen and Miles Davis. This is then topped off by Julian’s top 50 Japrock albums all with their own brief resume, a list that includes (in the author’s own words) – “hard rock, proto-metal, purely psychedelic free-rock, experimental theatre works, choral and orchestral music, experimental percussion works, improvised ambient wipe-outs, progressive rock, and unadulterated guitar mayhem.” A list so wide ranging that it must include at least one thing for every reader that’s into rock music in some shape or form.
For me the biggest discovery, so far, has been Flower Travellin’ Band (track below – it won’t be to everyone’s taste, what is?) but it’s early days and there’s a lot more discovering for me to do!
Rate – 4/5