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Geinoh Yamashirogumi

People who read my reviews must know I am very much into tradition mixed modernity or with a modern vision. For this idea, this Japanese concept rules as a master. So it wasn’t just J.A.Caesar who mixed rock with an idea of Japanese folk opera.

Geinoh Yamashirogumi was and still is a Japanese collective founded in 1974 by Tsutomu Ōhashi (aka Shoji Yamashiro). They became most known for their soundtrack of the Akira movie by Katsuhiro Ōtomo.

This earlier album comes in two parts of which the first part is a bit more avant-garde, more improvised, starting a a women’s scream, slowly improvising and describing a muddy situation mood with an electric bass, whispery voices, screams, electric and acoustic percussion, percussion, building a tension up. Then the group finds a rhythm, a ritual progressive rock mode continues with a solo electric guitar becoming weird, drum and bass, slightly funky second guitar, rocking slowly with the group singing with some screams into it, with weird voices in the background creating an atmosphere like that in a horror movie soundtrack, ending this with another last scream. The second part is different and is more like contemporary music, starting quietly and mystical, with soloists in Japanese traditional singing, in a slow singing mode, half spoken, like a folk opera, with responses of answering voices in Gregorian harmony choir voices. This is contemporary vocal music with Japanese and even Indonesian elements, a well arranged concept. :

“Opening with an ear-piercing scream and devolving deeper and deeper into freaky communal-hippie chanting weirdness during the course of its 40 minutes, Osorezan/Donoukenbai presents a younger and more experimental Yamashirogumi collective. Osorezan can't decide if it's from 1969 or 2069, but I don't think it really matters. And by the time you get to the insane vocal percussion of Dounokenbai, neither will you.”

Victor Musical Industries, Inc. Geinoh Yamashirogumi : Akira soundtrack 1988 (CD 1990)****'

This huge band is known for its impressive choir arrangements and eclectic mixes of styles respecting its own roots in Japanese culture and making that noticeable here and there. This album is one of the most impressive soundtracks I know of. For a small part you can hear how it is composed from a composer’s mind who has for a larger part keyboard arrangements as its first foundation, noticeable even in some vocal responses first layers, but then also other elements are allowed too. There are for instance various spontaneous layers with wood percussion and a large section with gamelan, alternated with some keyboards and vocal parts and at some stage electric arrangements. These vocal parts have something of ritual music from Tibetan and Indonesian and other eastern and far eastern origin. Later kabuki theatre elements appear too, of percussion and singing and Japanese flute interwoven further on with more additional arrangements. Rewarding.​

1 Kaneda3:10

2 Battle Against Clown3:36

3 Winds Over The Neo-Tokyo2:48

4 Tetsuo10:18

5 Dolls' Polyphony2:55

6 Shohmyoh10:11

7 Mutation4:49

8 Exodus From The Underground Fortress3:18

9 Illusion13:56

10 Requiem14:26

#folk #psych

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