Boomkat Product Review:
‘Nihon No Wave’ surveys a secretive niche of ’70s/‘80s Japanese DIY music inspired by experimental electronic and post punk styles from Europe and North America. All material originally appeared on flexidisc, vinyl and tapes, and is newly remastered and made available for the first time beyond the Japanese domestic market.
Pulling from scenes centred around Osaka and Tokyo between the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, ‘Nihon No Wave’ documents 10 bands and acts charmingly mutating wave sounds in translation. Using new, entry-level synths, drum machines and guitars, and usually singing in Japanese, this “Nippon-wave” of synth-pop, spiky punk and proto-ambient techno experiments was limited to domestic distribution until portals such as YouTube began to leach their sounds to hungry ears across the planet.
The 19 results range from Richochet’s gothic synthpop romance thru to sparkling YMO-like techno-pop by Shinobu, rendering rare insight to a hermetic scene swelling with gifted, exploratory songwriters, evidenced in the likes of C. Memi + Neo Matisse’s Stereolab-esque clash of prim pop and wild electronics in ‘Dream’s Dream’, on the clattering 23 Skidoo styles of ‘Midnight Boy’ from Harumi Shimada, and the mellow balms of Neo Museum’s airborne beauty ‘Area’ and the rugged swagger of ‘Ethno-Music’, or Anima’s cyber-punk echoes of John Foxx’s Ballardian sci-fi fixations in ‘Grey City’ and ‘Not Only One’.
To all Japanophiles and post-punk hunters - Sleep and weep on this one!