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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



Newsletter June 2015

Dear Customer and friend of the Far Side,

Time to tell you about a colourful array of new releases out this month.

For a change we’re not starting with Japan but elsewhere in Asia. As in recent months, you don’t just look at nice covers anymore, but in many cases there are videos to watch as well as tracks to listen to.

Newish stuff first. South Korea’s excellent Geomungo Factory have a new album out, and Jambinai’s long unavailable album Differance gets a re-mastered re-release.


There’s a fantastic new album by Bird Thamarat and Kook Onsurang of Thai Lukthung, done in the 70s style that’s popular at the moment.


We’ve never had that many Burmese albums in our catalogues, but this month there are four new albums, (one of them is Japanese produced, the others direct from Burma). From instrumental traditional to vocal and hip-hop mixed with traditional.


Also new are two excellent books on Malaysian music. Just for the Love It, is written entirely in English and comes with a CD. Musika delves back a bit further to the beginning of the last century, and is in both English and Malay.


And there’s another album with original LP artwork, cardboard sleeve in the 60s/70s Hong Kong/Taiwan series from singer Yang Xiao Ping.


So, onto Japan! Eika Utsumi is a singer and shamisen player who has recorded a superb album with trombone player and jazz musician Hiroshi Munekiyo and a band of both traditional and jazz musicians. Gideon Juckes was once the tuba player with British folk band Bellowhead, and has lived in Japan for several years. He’s played on many albums as a backing musician, but this time out in front as a duo with drummer Fu-Ching as Fu-Ching Gido. They describe their music as heavy rock meets heavy gypsy meets heavy multi-tasking. Both albums worth a look.


Argentine born, Spanish shakuhachi player Rodrigo Rodriguez has a new album out, also definitely worth checking out, with another great video.


Two of Haruomi Hosono’s finest albums from the mid 70s are out on Blu-Spec CD2 with extra bonus tracks.


When I first went to Japan in 1989, a really wonderful record label called Audi-Book soon came to my attention. Many of the releases came in beautiful digi-pack style book + CD and featured rare tracks from across the globe. I learnt they were all lovingly compiled by possibly Japan’s foremost music journalist and avid record collector Toyo Nakamura. The label eventually stopped releasing albums in 1997, since when many have become expensive collectors items. Toyo Nakamura died in 2011, and some of the original albums have once again surfaced in limited quantities, to mark an exhibition of Toyo’s collection at a museum in Japan. Guides to music from Puerto-Rico, South Africa, Haiti, and three usual CD compilations of various music from around the world.


No new videos on our You Tube channel since last time, but there’s plenty to watch within the new releases.

There are three Far Side Radio programmes to listen to again on Mixcloud (where you can follow us) or with links to the CDs on the Far Side web site.

A couple of guests from Okinawa arrived with a SD card they had compiled of 100 new tracks from Okinawa from all sorts of music genres.

Another show featured some of the new releases out this month

and the latest was of some amazing Indonesian music from the 1960s to 90s.

To keep up to date with news, new releases, radio, videos and anything else, best way is to Like us on Facebook

or Follow us on Twitter.

or we’ll be along with the next edition of this newsletter in about a month’s time.

Until then, hope there’s something of interest.

All the best