Boomkat Product Review:
Legendary Japanese experimental/industrial/wave label Vanity Records is subject to a comprehensive survey of its LP and 7” releases c. 1978-1981, all sourced from original tapes and digitally remastered for posterity.
Issued as part of Kiyou Records ongoing Vanity Records anthologies, this massive box plugs gaps not already covered by their previous CDs and overlaps the recent V-O-D vinyl payload. It spans endlessly fascinating “techno-pop” oddities first uncovered between 1978-81 by music journalist Yuzura Agi and released on his boutique label in Osaka. Yuzuru Aki coined the term “techno-pop” to describe the then emerging forms of pop by Eno-produced bands such as Talking Heads and DEVO and later Yellow Magic Orchestra, and set up his label to represent the prescient local sounds which stood out from prevailing Japanese tastes for West Coast psych rock and blues. As such Vanity Records covered some incredible, prototypical ground that paralleled actions in downtown NYC, the UK and Europe at that time, as a whole wave of artists gassed on the ideas of DIY music making were blurring the edges between punk, noise, jazz, industrial and whatever the fuck you want to call it.
Invivo’s ‘B.B.B.’ is exemplary of the label and this boxset’s strange range, from industrial jazz blurts to really haunting tape ambience, while the Kiiro Radical set of ‘Denki Noise Dance’ is raw steak for the discerning rhythmic noise minimalists, properly pre-echoing Mika Vainio and parallel to Conrad Schnitzler. Salaried Man Club meanwhile is real end-of-the-rope darkwave material with severely blunted vox and whiskey fume atmospheres set to sleazy machine pulses, with the exquisite late night Dekkard’s apartment ambience of Wireless Sight in there along with previously unheard demos zingers such as Onnyk’s robotic post-punk jag ‘Talk In The Dark’ and what sounds like Nico duetting with a rattly aircon unit in System’s killer ‘Love Song’ dirge.