V/A - Tokyo Flashback
The label dedicated to celebrating and reissuing some of the great Japanese avant-garde and psychedelic music from the 1980s, Black Editions, has issued their 2nd release: the ESSENTIAL Tokyo Flashback. Released in Japan in 1990, and as a CD only, Tokyo Flashbackserves as a fantastic primer of the experimental music scene revolving around Hideo Ikeezumi’s P.S.F. label (Psychedelic Speed Freaks). This was a scene dedicated to deep, experimental forms of expression in which dark noise and improvisation were the focus. Traditional song-structure and hooks, much less so. No garage or popsike here. The wild abandon shown by bands like Hawkwind, Les Rallizes Denudes, The Velvet Underground and the Red Krayola were more of an inspiration as bands like High-Rise, White Heaven and Fushitsusha utilized feedback, fuzz and consistently pummeling rhythms. Ghost and Keiji Haino are also featured who are representative of the abstract and drone-folk side of the Japanese underground scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s. All in all, Tokyo Flashback gives you the best pieces of true psychedelic music. Bands like Fushitsusha harness chaotic space-rock AND extreme washes of noise within the same 10-minute track. High-Rise pulverize your receiver with the constant fuzz-out on “Mainliner”, (which is likely what inspired the Japanese band of the same name) and one-offs Marble Sheep vamp on hammering sludge-noise. The even more obscure Verzerk present a grunge-like drone that coalesces into a hammering, Sabbath-like finale.
Black Editions has done wonderful work with this reissue, a true labor of love and fitting tribute to the recently deceased Ikeezumi. This is the first time Tokyo Flashback has been released as an LP and it looks beautiful. Comes in a deluxe, slip-case sleeve (with thickened spine) including glossy printed inner sleeves and 2 embossed inserts. It’s also been completely remastered and pressed on high quality vinyl by RTI.
Tokyo Flashback hits every mark and takes us back to a scene that deserves appreciation. If you’ve been on the lookout for a good snapshot of the Japanese avant-rock scene, go no further than PSF records and this perfect overview. (Dom)
Check out a track here.