Boomkat Product Review:
A holy grail of early Japanese “techno-pop” and wave experiments from the legendary Vanity Records resurfaces via the ever diligent Vinyl-On-Demand, making the hugely coveted boxset available on its original format for first time in nearly 40 years - proper ground zero gear for the heads and fans of owt from YMO to Skaters, Suicide, Animal Collective, proto-techno and early punk wave mutations.
Vanity Records is a none-more-legendary Japanese label established by music journo Yuzuru Agi in late ’70s Osaka, Japan. Its small but precious catalogue of bold experiments with rock and electronics is hugely prescient in its scope, and would loosely fall within and expand the term “techno-pop”, which its label owner first coined to describe the futurist sound of Eno-produced bands like Talking Heads and Devo.
The bands featured on ‘Vanity Music’ were all in their nascent stages and colour a broad canvas from Pessimiest’s industrial dub to feral squabble by UnAble Mirror and rhythmic experiments by Kiiro Radical that properly pre-echo Mika Vainio, along with all manner of proto-techno probes and scuzzy avant-rock racked to next to Daily Expression’s warped psych-pop jaw droppers (Cindy Lee, Ariel Pink and Animal Collective heads be warned) and the rarest strains of early punk cyborchids from Arbeit and Necter Low.
Until a 2CD edition of ‘Vanity Music’ appeared in 2019, the cult collection of tracks have only been available on YouTube, but now repackaged in the original artwork - faithfully executed as ever by V-o-D - the boxset is now a (slightly) more affordable prospect than the copies currently going for £600+ on the collector’s market and remains a genuinely enduring, wide-eyed revelation for intrepid types and early wave explorers.