Maki Asakawa - S/T 2xLP
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A stunning survey of the 1970s heyday of great Japanese singer and countercultural icon Maki Asakawa (1942-2010). Deep-indigo, dead-of-night enka, folk, and blues, inhaling Billie Holiday and Nina Simone down to the bone. A traditional waltz abuts Nico-style incantation; defamiliarized versions of Oscar Brown Jr. and Bessie Smith collide with big-band experiments alongside poet Shūji Terayama; a sitar-led psychedelic wig-out runs into a killer excursion in modal, spiritual jazz. Existentialism and noir, mystery and allure, hurt and hauteur. With excellent notes by Alan Cummings and the fabulous photographs of Hitoshi Jin Tamura. "Japan's answer to Scott Walker, with a visual aesthetic and a death-decadent appeal that is straight out of the Keiji Haino songbook." --Volcanic Tongue