Newsletter February/March 2018

Here’s the latest newsletter from the Far Side. Thanks for reading, and please subscribe.

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Newsletter November / December 2016

Dear Customer and friend of the Far Side,

Quite a lot of new releases out in November and December with more being added in the coming weeks. As usual, accompanying many of the new albums, are some great videos to watch and enthralling stuff to listen to.

Haruomi Hosono has a new DVD and Blu-ray of his concert in Chinatown Yokohama earlier this year (check out the videos on the web site) Akiko Yano has a new 3 CD best of and a limited edition 4 CD + DVD in A4 sized package. There are also quite a few Akiko Yano SHM-CD re-releases. Meanwhile, Metafive, featuring Yukihiro Takahashi among others, have a new mini-album released.

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Music composed by Tomita for animation works by Osamu Tezuka is released as a 5 Blu-Spec CD2 set. And Tomita’s album of soundtracks is also out now.
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There are three albums of traditional Japanese music worth investigating. The legend that is koto player Kimio Eto with a retrospective album including many unreleased tracks. Two of the best of the current musicians have new albums out, shakuhachi player Dozan Fujiwara with an album of Autumn tunes, while Tsugaru Shamisen player Hiromitsu Agatsuma has a new best of, with several great previously unreleased tracks.

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From Okinawa, the classic album Bloodline by Shoukichi Kina gets remastered by Makoto Kubota and is issued on vinyl as well as CD. The new album by Takashi Hirayasu, who played on the Bloodline album, is now out. Mayuko Higa a singer with one of the reincarnations of Nenes has released her first album. While a mighty posthumous album of Afrobeat and Ainu is out by Keiichi Tanaka.

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Latest in the wonderful series of vintage Indonesian music is of Latin sounds recorded in Indonesia mainly from the 1950s.
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There are seven new Far Side Radio shows since the last newsletter, broadcast live on Wednesdays on Resonance 104.4fm from12 noon London time. Listen via Mixcloud or via the Far Side web site.

The shows are of North Korean music, New Releases, Asian Slide Guitars, Japanese Spiritual Sounds, Singing in English and guest Brian Foreman of Thrashing Doves, a reaction to the US Election and 10 Classic Asian albums.







Until next time!
All the best
Paul

Newsletter September October 2016

Dear Customer and friend of the Far Side,

It’s a been a little while, but time to tell you what’s been happening over on the Far Side.

Lot’s of new releases out this month and next and lots of new stuff to listen to and watch on the Far Side web site.

Ryuichi Sakamoto has a new soundtrack album out for the film Ikari (Anger). Following his death earlier in the year, there are quite a few Tomita albums out, and a few more in the pipeline. Low price reissues of three albums, Cosmos, Pictures at an Exhibition and Firebird, plus a new compilation of his soundtracks out next month.

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Two small Japanese labels releasing Asian music that have been popular in the last year or so, have new releases out. U Tin is a Burmese slide guitar player, following on from similar Burmese releases. While carrying on with their fascinating series of vintage music, comes an album of 1950s Hawaiian music of Indonesia.

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From Okinawa, two of our favourite artists have new albums out. Takashi Hirayasu has probably sold more records outside of Japan than any other Okinawan musician, through his collaborations with the late Bob Brozman. It’s been a while but he has a new album out. We still don’t have a release date, and so you can’t actually order it yet, (keep a check on the web site) but you can listen to the album trailer. Kenji Yano of Surf Champlers and Sarabandge fame has a new album out of relaxing Hawaiian influenced versions of well known Okinawan songs. While for any sanshin players, the large booklet that comes with an album of Ryukyu classical music, includes the notation.

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Onto roots and traditional Japanese music. Aragehonzi play festival style folk music with a modern twist. There are two very albums of ancient styles. Shigeo Tanaka plays mesmerising Yumi Kagura, on an unusual one stringed bow. Kahoru Nakamura meanwhile plays gakubiwa, the biwa used in gagaku music, interpreting lost classics.

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From the experimental / avant garde scene are two 10 inch vinyl releases of interpretations of enka mood songs, and a genuinely ground breaking album from the mid 70s, featuring sax player Kazutoki Umezu recorded in New York gets a release.

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After a summer break, Far Side Radio is back on the air on Resonance 104.4fm. The last three shows have been of new releases and rare oddities, a focus on Yukihiro Takahashi and this week’s show with Korean group Jeong Ga Ak Hoe who are playing in London this weekend as part of K-Music 2016. Before the break were shows of new releases, a Japanese/European special and vinyl only show. Listen via Mixcloud or via the Far Side web site.






We will be busy soon looking after an artist we have worked with for many years, India’s slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya who is back London to pick up his Songlines Magazine award and play at the winners concert at the Barbican on October 3rd for winning the Asian category, and to play a show at the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall on October 2nd. Congratulations to Debashish.

until next time.

All the best

Paul

Newsletter June/July 2016

Dear Customer and friend of the Far Side,

Lots of new releases coming out this month and in July.

The ever excellent Gramo Club label, who mostly re-release recordings from the 1920s and 30s have three new albums out.

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I have noticed a bit of an upturn in interest in vinyl, as you might have read about in the press, and this month are two vinyl releases, both limited edition and probably won’t be around for too long. The latest album from Metafive, featuring Yukihiro Takahashi and Keigo Oyamada (Cornelius) among others, and a personal favourite by the group Fishmans

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Metafive also have a new live Blu-ray / CD, out in August but available to pre-order now.

There are two albums of loosely termed ‘traditional’ music. Kunihiro Izumi (sax player with Shibusashirazu) plays shakuhachi on an album of improvisation, folk, traditional and jazz. Late shamisen player /singer Haru Momoyama features on a recording from 1986 in a modern narrative style based on an award winning 1960s novel.

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More genuinely traditional in style are four albums of Japanese Street Entertainment.

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Veteran, much respected, folk singer from the 1960s and 70s, Osamu Okuno has just released his first album for thirteen years, and very good it is too. Two books, one chronicling the extensive collection of the late journalist, producer, collector Toyo Nakamura, another on 20th century popular music plus a DVD have been released as a limited edition box set. From Okinawa is a traditional CD by the brilliant Toru Yonaha.

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We’ve been selling (although I’m not sure for how much longer they will be available) a limited edition of Brian Eno’s latest album with a Japan only bonus track. Staying with electronic, experimental sounds, is an album by Japanophiles Christian Fennesz and Jim O’Rourke and on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Commmons label an album by Yakushimaru Experiment.

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There are seven new Far Side Radio shows to listen to again since the last newsletter, originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4fm; Guests from Okinawa were Kanako Horiuchi and Coo. London based Mina Mermoud also played Okinawan music, while London based Japanese journalist Akiko Shimizu played music from the excellent Zipangu label. Added to these were music from book/CD collections, the Asia Diaspora and 60s and 70s Ryukyu Rare Groove.

Thanks to all the messages wishing the best to our office in Japan, based in the area in Kumamoto where the earthquake hit. Things have settled down, although challenges still remain. Our benefit concert with Kanako Horiuchi went off brilliantly, while I’m dj’ing at this event in London, also for Kumamoto.

Until next time.

All the best

Paul