Julian Cope’s JAPROCKSAMPLER top 50 albums. Author: RamonesIstKrieg. Julian Cope’s top 50 “Japrock” albums, from his totally rad book. Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, follows the runaway underground success of his book “Krautrocksampler” with “Japrocksampler”, a cult. Michel Faber tunes in to Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler.
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Or did he just develop a taste for research while working on his highly-regarded ‘stone circle’ histories The Modern Antiquarian and The Megalithic European?
Review: Japrocksampler by Julian Cope | Books | The Guardian
A pop star in the s, he has spent the subsequent decades crusading against “greedhead” values and commercial compromise. Was Cope maybe piqued into overcompensation by that smatter of niggardly experts who complained that Krautrocksampler wasn’t comprehensive or authoritative enough? As a work of scholarship, Japrocksampler is slapdash and error-strewn. Cope astutely notes that for the Japanese, japrocskampler entertainment industry was “a mythical hinterland wherein almost any opposing ideas could meet head-on”, an environment where a singer could contribute to an avantgarde freakout while maintaining a parallel career crooning Perry Como ditties in a velvet tux.
Japrockzampler human life is here, somewhat mangled in translation. He raves about the ‘fascinating and wildly eventful’ multi-generic pastiches created by theatre score composer JA Caesar mostly only released as cassettes sold at stalls in the theatresand the bizarre jazz-rock tangents spawned out ccope the Japanese cast of Hair.
Krautrocksampler sought to rekindle an interest in music that was once widely appreciated in Britain but which juliam fallen into neglect due to changing fashions and fickle journalism.
All have become prized by Western record collector fiends this past decade, especially now the Kraut Kosmiche seam has been mined beyond exhaustion. I’ve spent a fortune buying Japanese stuff because it has a great jacket’. Japrocksampler divides into two parts. Julian Copeself-styled “visionary rock musician and musicologist, hip archaeologist and one-time frontman of the Teardrop Explodes”, is one of Britain’s more colourful fi gures.
There’s also a brief addendum on must-to-avoid clunkers, Cope astutely noting how collectors gull themselves to feel better about having shelled out so much dough, starting an inflationary cycle whereby ‘deadly rare foreign albums often become classed as classics merely because no one outside an elite few has even heard [them]’.
In the introduction, the word ‘study’ crops up repeatedly, including the assertion that a ‘detailed study of this book will have you rethinking your attitudes to music, art, time Passionate, pithy, and portable, Krautrocksampler was wittily styled as a pocket-sized field guide along the lines of the Observer Book of Birds. The incident where sword-waving members of Japan’s Red Army Faction including the bass player of the Radical Music Black Gypsy Band hijack a plane “to Cuba”, eventually landing to a heroes’ welcome in North Korea, is retold as a wacky caper, but the complex griefs and tensions that led to such gestures cry out for deeper analysis.
Big in Japan
Less adventurous readers may simply enjoy the anecdotes about a host of chancers, mad idealists, Buddhist gangsters, Monkees clones “Are We Not Crazy Cats? Japrocksampler is a flawed but welcome reminder that there are musical worlds beyond our ken. There iaprocksampler moments in Japrocksampler that will make more sceptical readers wonder if that very syndrome isn’t going on in Cope’s own text.
Krautrocksampler and Japrocksampler are decidedly different, however. By contrast, the music discussed in Japrocksampler has made almost no impact outside Japan, partly owing to the barrier of an undecodably alien writing system. Cope himself is not a Japanese speaker, but his omnivorous LPcollecting and his friendship with some of Japan’s current rockers make him a credible candidate to write this book.
Japanese Independent Music, issued in by Sonore a French publisher is out of print. It quickly became a cult item and was widely credited japrodksampler kick-starting the Nineties boom of interest in Krautrock something of an over-estimation, given that groups like Stereolab had long been citing Neu!
This consumer advice is the fruit of much labour and expense, Cope reveals, the sifting process being ‘an arduously hit-and-miss affair Experimental violinist Takehisa Kosugi takes time out from the avant-garde to compose music for the children’s cartoon series Atom Boy. The Krautrocksampler equivalent would be kicking off with the Franco-Prussian War!
With a mixture of aff ection and condescension, Cope relates the attempts of Japanese wannabe “refuseniks” or even “uberrefuseniks” to ape the lifestyles of their American and British idols in a society where strict codes of honour still ruled and where the hippie musical Hair was closed down by the authorities. It’s a heavier book more than twice the page count of Krautrocksampler and heavier-going, too.
His ultra-vivid and hilariously over-the-top descriptions of a legion of German post-psychedelic records suggested that this prolific musician he’s just released his umpteenth solo album, You Gotta Problem With Me might have missed his true vocation as a Lester Bangs-style advocate.
In parallel to the way Amon Duul were involved in Germany’s commune-dwelling counterculture and allegedly had ties to Baader-Meinhof, one member of Les Rallizes Denudes participated in the Japanese Red Army’s hi-jacking of a Japrodksampler At first, Cope’s trademark hipster hyperbole seems to have been tamed by the challenge of elucidating a subject so obscure to most readers.
For that matter, Julian Cope’s Krautrocksampler is out of print too.
Either way, a certain windy ponderousness of phrase and tone creeps into the prose now and then, suggestive less of long hair and loon pants than of donnish tweed and leather-patched elbows. His lack of affinity with folk or the subtler forms of jazz causes him to ignore or sideline many of Japan’s most distinctive artists.