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Boomkat Product Review:
Exquisitely melancholy, pre-war Japanese Ryūkōka Recordings, 1929-1938, delving deeper into the style’s fusion of traditional and classical Japanese and western blues x jazz on Death Is Not The End.
Further to the label’s ‘Longing for the Shadow’ collection, ‘Is It Really Goodbye?’ seeks out 16 ghostly slow dancing partners that reflect a time when once mutually exclusive cultures were beginning to merge and create new fusions, ahead of a full tilt toward western styles that came with the post-war US occupation.
They're haunting, sultry and elegant songs that connect with the blues from a more distant, oblique angle, but share the focus on groove and jangling melody, with standout pieces strewn between the banjo-like melody of Issei Mishima’s ‘Over the Kuroshio’ and the smoky jazz torchsong of ‘Blues for Farewell’ by Noriko Awaya, or the ghostly dancehall reverie ‘Let’s Dance The Tango’ from Rumiko Yotsuya.