Sunday, April 1, 2007

V/A - Paris Tokyo Cassette (Tago Mago) 1983

Given my fondness for early 80's music from Japan & France, it was only a matter of time before I archived this excellent cassette compilation released on the Tago Mago label in 1983. Paris Tokyo, featuring French and Japanese artists was intended to be the first volume of a 'Serie Cosmopolite'. Unfortunately, I believe this was the only edition ever realized. The Tago Mago label is probably best known for two sought-after cassettes by This Heat & Can, both of which have been reissued in one form or another over the years and the only LP from Video Aventures.

The cassette was limited to 2,000 numbered copies, which must have been a fairly large edition for this sort of release given that most titles from this era were usually limited to 500 copies or less. Also included with the cassette is a 'booklet' of loose prints (double-sided). The front & rear cover images feature an interesting collage figure that looks like a character one would find at Kid Robot or Toy Tokyo.

On to the music....

Paris Side:
Richard Pinhas - Joe Chip Meets K.B. (Pt.2): Light instrumental piece w/ keys & strings.

Jacues Doyen & Jacques Berrocal - Sacre!: One of my least favorite tracks here. A lot of spoken word w/ a bit of music in the background. Perhaps understanding French would help here...

Video Aventures contributes three short tracks, one of which sounds like Lithops or Mouse on Mars - 'Glam'/'Instrumentals' era.

Fondation - Contact: What starts off as a piece fit for an Insane Music compilation develops into something a little more sophisticated instrumentation-wise. Fondation members trace their lineage back to Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV), Spacecraft & Clearlight and may or may not also be known as La Fondation (can anyone confirm??) of which there are other cassette & compilation titles. There appear to be at least three cassettes by Fondation: Sans Etiquette, Metamorphoses & Le Vaisseau Blanc.

DDAA - La Roue de Bicyclette: One of ten DDAA compilation tracks that were deemed worthy of the band to be re-released on their LP, Objet.

Satellite - Surprise: A pleasing instrumental track. They also released a cassette on Tago Mago/Camouflage with Atom Cristal (is this a pseudonym for ADN' Ckrystall??).

Tokyo Side:
Merzbow provide two excellent tracks under the moniker of 'Vacation of Merzbow Lowest Music & Arts'. As with their contribution to the Angelic Technology compilation posted a while back, these two tracks stand out considerably from what I, and most people probably associate with Masami Akita and co. The first track here, Awa Dance, is basically no wave (scratchy guitar, drum machine & live percussion) - dare I say, groovy!! The second, Hannya-Haramitta, is just as unusual featuring synth, filtered percussion, a bass line and vocals!!! Stunning, in fact after listening to these for the first time in years, I might have to revise my previous statement in the Angelic Technology post- these are now my favorite Merzbow tracks!!!

Isansozokunin - Senjo no Mura (The Village of War): Tied w/ the Berrocal track as being my least favorite in this collection. Not much going on, sounds like someone doing a drum sound-check with a bit of other instrumentation and snippets of soldiers marching. At the time of this compilation, they had released three cassettes: Ikko, Poland No Sora & Red Communication.

Haco - Kasokudo no Etude (An Accelerating Etude): Haco was the founding member of the hugely influential band After Dinner. She is still writing & performing music today and a new solo CD is set to be released April 13 - Check out her MySpace page for more info.

Kumiko Suyama - Dance: another moving piano & vocal track. She also contributed a track to the Assemblee Genrerale 5 compilation posted last week.

MLD - Dynamo: Possibly saving the best for last, MLD were Takayuki Shiraishi and Jun Sonohara. The duo also released a CD under the name Maximum Lunatic Desire and more recently as Musica Nova, contributing tracks to releases on labels NS-COM & Birds in Paradise. Shiraishi has many solo releases, some under his own name on NS-COM, BadOrb, etc... and also under others such as Planetoid on the Belgian ambient label - Apollo. It should also come as no surprise to readers of this site that there is a Vanity connection here. Shiraishi was also a member of the legendary BGM - contributing guitar, synths & vocals. The music could be considered an early prototype of breakbeat techno, sounding somewhere between Liquid Liquid and early Meat Beat Manifesto ('Strap Down'??).



samon takahashi said...

regarding La Fondation confirmation, and some more info...

1) yes, Fondation stands for La Fondation
2) Satellite has also a very nice minimal electro Ep on Tago-Mago (1985)
3) Suyama Kumiko has a 7ep 虫の時 (moon records 1984) and one LP (les chansons qui file du rêve -french title with mispelling) (zero records 1985)
4) the text that reads Jacques Doyen (Berrocal on pocket trumpet) is the poem 'Howl' by Allen Ginsberg translated in french. (everything is sacred - sacred also the sodomised unknown - as well the texas granfathers dicks - etc...). It is actually very haunting but as you said, if not understanding french it may be a little boring.
5) Tago Mago among other 80's rarities published in 1983 the beautiful tape of Pascal Comelade 'logique du sens', packaged in a black pyramid box.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the above comment is wrong. Foundation and La Fondation are two different, yet contemporary French groups. You can find the full details on La Foundation on their web site: