elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth.
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Following the events in Japan over the course of this past week has been distressing. How the situation has been handled by mainstream US media has been a complete failure. I would like to present two facts: a nuclear meltdown to the likes of Chernobyl is not eminent and not all of Japan was hit by the tsunami. Mostly the north east coastline, Sendai region, and some parts of the south eastern coastline was hit. While the companies get the nuclear situation under control, the average Japanese in those regions face loss of: heat, electricity, food, personal belongings, loved ones, and in some cases shelter. Although the entire nation was not hit, the coastlines were populated enough to raise the estimate of dead and missing individuals to 12,000 since the previous estimate of 4,000 some days ago.
Personally, the figure does not matter since I believe that the loss of life on any scale should always be mourned in some fashion. With that, I would like to extend my condolences to the survivors and anyone else affected by this disaster. After posting Enos, I was toying with the idea of at least making a mention of events overseas but what pushed me was a request Zero sent us [the other contributors] asking if we could post something from Japan. My words may not mean much right now and I am pretty broke so the best that I can do is share a great rock classic from Japan with you all today.
Shortly after getting into punk music in general, I stumbled upon the beauty that is no wave. The band that stood out most for me was Teenage Jesus and The Jerks. Their music and Lydia Lunch were equally captivating in their audacity and creativity. So I was pleased to learn that their bassist, Reck, reinvented his old band with Chico Hige once he returned to Japan after their time in New York.
Friction originally formed under the name Circle Triangle Square in 1971 then 3/3 in the mid-70's. This band is considered to be one of the pioneers of alternative rock in Japan. More information:
Originally formed in 1971 as an avant-garde music group by bassist Reck, saxophonist Chico Hige, and drummer Sakuro Watanabe in Tokyo, Japan. They changed the bands name to 3/3 in the mid 70s, and Reck and Chico later moved to the United States, where they would join the band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and later became the original founding members of James Chance and the Contortions before returning back to Japan.
Renaming 3/3 to form Friction, they recruited guitarist Tsunematsu Masatoshi, who had studied art at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music. They released a live album and single in 1979, and their first studio album, Atsureki ((軋轢, meaning 'friction' in Japanese) in 1980, produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Today I will be focusing on their 1980 release, Atsureki. This album is amazingly complex. It has a very classic punk feel to it that strongly reminds me of Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols and X. But then you get certain intervals in songs that are distinctly more inharmonious than the already very dirty rock being played. The track “Big-S” is a great example of this. All throught this song is a crazy guitar riff that sounds like someone sliding an object along the strings. About 1:35 minutes into it, the misanthropic guitar riff gets it's own solo with stable rock beats being played on the drums and some very audible bass in the background. Which brings me to how audible the bass is in the entire album as is the saxophone. The former I appreciate and the latter I appreciate only in this album (I normally can not stand saxophones). The saxophone is excellently presented in the most sleazy fashion in “Cycle Dance” and “Out.” By the way, this is a very addictive album. You have been warned.
Year of Release: 1980 Label: Vivid Sound Genre: Punk/Noise Rock Media: CD Format: MP3 Bitrate: 320 kbps
Track List: 1. A-Gas 2. Automatic-Fru 3. I Can Tell 4. 1000 Years 5. Crazy Dream 6. Cycle Dance 7. Cool Fool 8. No Thrill 9. Big-S 10. Out