compiled by Nicholas D. Kent
email: ndkent "at" optonline.net
Last updated 04.7.1
(*) means I don't own this album and don't know much about it.
(@) means I've listened to the music, but don't own this item.
PE: notes writing on this page by Patricio Elicer Avalos
Thanks also to Ron Kane, Per Sundfeldt, Mirai, Terry Green, Byron Werner,
and Yoichiro Yoshikawa for helping me out.
The consistant factor in all of these acts is connection to vocalist/composer Jun Togawa
Koji Ueno and Yoichiro Yoshikawa each did substantial solo works without JT as well as working with her in the past.
Some works of other artists with Jun Togawa appearances are:
Apogee and Perigee - Chojiku Korodasutan Ryokoki
Susumu Hirasawa - Jiku no mizu, Science no
Yurei, error CD, Virtual Rabbit
Otomo Yoshihides New Jazz Ensemble - Dreams (tzadik cat# 7238)
Has the dragonfly on the cover. The title song is a Hosono arrangement.
Initially a cassette-only release in '84. Calligraphy on cover. Yapoos is her band project. This concert has her many voices including an angry sort of punk scream. She does her classic song Punk Mushi no Onna (translated as PupaWoman and sung to the melody of Pachabel's Cannon.) Her version on the prior album was with girl's voice and string quartet, but this time the opposite of demure. A live video of similar material (and disturbing costume changes) is called Tamahimeden.
Radarman is currently on Tokyo Barbarism , the B side AFAIK only on out of print CD compilations
Has a seashore drawing as the cover art. Translates as Far Eastern Consolation Songs. The album concludes with Yumemiru Yakusoko in a new arrangement by Hosono (he did his own singing version). That song title translates as The Dreamt Promise. CD contains 2 non LP tracks: Kachiku Kaikyo, Ningen Gokaku
Single retro style with the same as an instrumental on the B side. Written by Joe Jackson. Non album single. Available only on out of print CD compilations AFAIK.
cover: Jun closeup photo on red cover with small typewiter type. The title cut is great (arranged by Yoichiro Yoshikawa), a good amount of electronics throughout. Reasonable amount of operatics. Her opera singing is facinating. Her regular pop vocals are okay, but can't compare. The juxtaposition of cute little pop voice, opera and screaming is something to be heard. Angel Baby makes a mockery of the concept of being in tune. This is sort of a bridge between her solo albums and the Yapoos soundwise.
This is a 6 song mini album with a black and white photo of JT holding a sword. All songs are covers. The first 3 tracks are big band style by Koji Ueno. The second 3 are by Susumu Hirasawa and are a little like traditional kind of heroic folk music played on electronics. Very much retro styled. One of Hirasawa's tracks is a cover of the Isao Tomita written theme to Princess Knight (Ribon no Kishi) a 1960s animated TV series about a princess raised as a prince.
Tokyo Barbarism. She is sitting out in the country in an old fashioned outfit on the cover. This is a best of album with most of the tracks remixed by Iio. Not incredibly different, but the tracks are fuller sounding, seems like the percussion is treated differently. Radarman, from the A side of the single is included. Includes lyrics translated in English in the booklet and a different (though similar enough I didn't notice for years) live recording of Punk Mushi no Onna
Part of Alfa's large and out of print farmed out remix series. An average entry in the series
(*) 1996 Alfa 2 CD
This will only have the Alfa material so what you get is actually best of early Jun Togawa.
There is also a newer The Very Best of Jun Togawa (Toshiba EMI) and then a Twin Very Best album (Techiku). While it looks like she did a fair amount of stuff, she didn't do such a huge amount that her labels need piles of best ofs, My advice is to get Tokyo No Yaban as a Best Of if you have to have one since she worked on it and you get some extra tweaking on the tracks and english lyric translations.
funky accordion mix - this seems to be a track on a Coba album
00.9.25 God Ocean/Consipio COGO 0102
Its so nice to hear Jun Togawa work after a 5 or so year absence. This is a 6 song mini album produced by Hoppy Kamiyama. The concept seems to be a collection of 20th Century songs to bid farewell to the century. There seem to be 4 different ensembles playing from song to song, each includes Hoppy and are in different musical styles -- classical chamber, rock, noise, etc.. It lacks the amazing vocal stunts of her earlier work but the voice she has is still impressive and is used to good effect, well worth the effort to hear what she has to sing now. (thanks to Phil Keys for transliteration of some track names)
Yoshihide Otomo's New Jazz Ensemble
(*) U.S. released on John Zorn's Tzadik label
Jun Togawa and Phew are guest vocalists.
New Kamiyama produced album Togawa Fiction slated for fall 2004 release.
A pop/rock group project
Factory and band on the cover. More synth rock, less vintage period music than her solo albums. Catchy melodies. Keikaku = plan
The band: Jun Togawa, Toshiro Sensui, Nobuo Nakahara, Takao Higae, Yoichiro Yoshikawa, Mitsuru Kotaki
Interesting notes: Rumor has it that the female punk band Lolita #18 got their name from the song Lolita #108. This still has strong technopop ties. It seems half the tracks on this one are about sex robots ;-)
(@)87.12.16 7"? Badis 07BA-1
The A side opens the album, the B seems to be single only. Both tracks on the v.a. compilation Lovely Singing Circuit (P-Vine PCD-1494)
Like an Arch Angel. This one has Jun with halo and wings on the cover. Similar sound, same band lineup
Dial Y wo mawase!1991 EMI Toshiba cd: TOCT-6153
Out of print. Has an collage of old photos on the cover. Guitar on 2 tracks by Susumu Hirasawa. Nice stuff, not incredibly memorable. The final track is solid technopop but a lot of the others are more slightly eclectic rock-like
The band: Jun Togawa, Toshiro Sensui, Nobuo Nakahara, Yoichiro Yoshikawa
Dadada ism1992 Planet Earth/Toshiba EMI TOCT-6716
Hirasawa produces 2 tracks which use his big P-Model sound. A quite interesting and varried album, while not unrelenting, there are a few french cafe touches, it has a distinct cyber sound to it. Much closer to P-MODEL than YEN. The final track was covered in a softer more rocking version by Sunny Day Service in the late 90s, Jun's own version here is pretty punky.
the band: Jun Togawa, Nobuo Nakahara, Lion Merry, Yuichi Couno
from a 93.12.13 live radio brodcast. I think it means something like "Suspicious Activities of the Yapoos". Extremely tight sound, way above average
for live recordings. Seems to be a Botticelli's Birth of Venus refrence
on the cover art - I mention this since the name isn't in English). I've recently seen what looks like a different cover of a forest.
Kohzoh Niida is in the live band and joins on the next album.
HYS(teria) The Yapoos seem to have broken up after this album. Rock sound with synthesizer work a bit like P-Model though it does not dominate the sound.(Lion Merry plays, also plays in Phenonpenh Model, which originated as a sendup of P-MODEL but has since made original music), Of course Jun Togawa's distinct vocals. All lyrics are translated into english inside the booklet.
4.CHARLOTTE SEXAROID'S BLUES
8.GO! GO! LOLITA IN IMMINENT DANGER
9.I'LL SOON BE NO GOOD
10.UNDER THE RED FLOWERS IN BLOOM
the band: Jun Togawa, Nobuo Nakahara, Lion Merry, Yuichi Couno, Kohzoh Niida
(*) Yapoos Best (on Badais)
note that they weren't on Teichiku/Badais that long. I see one non-album B side, I don't know if there is anything else special here
The Yapoos reformed in early 1999. A new line up, notably Seji Toda who used to be in bands like Shi Shonen and Fairchild.
There is apparently a new Yappos indie disc. At first it was quite rare but it's since been reissued and is relatively easier to find.
Koji Ueno was in this new wave band in the early 80s. Other members were Kenzo Saekij, Takao Higae, Tomohiro Ishihara, Toshiro Sensui
Jun Togawa and future Pizzicato 5's Maki Nomiya both were guest vocalists on several separate tracks. The earliest material I know by either them. (thanks to Sunao Inami for a listen and Buggle for album info)
I believe Jun has covered a fair Halmens material later on, Its a little disconcerting to hear the lead (male) singer in Halmans sing tunes I had been listening to for a few years on J.T. albums.
Before they were named Halmens they went by the name Shonen Homeruns and some memebers went on to become the Pearl Bros.
1980 out of print.
Interesting somewhat eclectic new wave. They rely heavily on lyrics so non-japanese speakers may feel a little left out relatively speaking to less heavily lyric-based music
1981 out of print.
The concept sounds pretty similar to the prior one. These are definitely of historic interest.
Guernica is Jun Togawa singing, Koji Ueno composing and Keiichi Ohta writing lyrics. The name presumably refers to the Spanish town bombed by the Fascists and then imortalized by Picasso in his famous anti-war painting. The music is original and evokes sophisticated night club/classical hybrid of Europe and cosmopolitan Japan of the late 20s and early 30s. To me the music evokes a sense of urgency and maybe nervousness with a foot in decadence, militarism in th ewind and reaching out toward progress.
Every once and a while someone translates the name back from Japanese because the albums often had the name in kana characters so it wind up with some kind of phonetic spelling like Gernika.
This is the one with the building and flag on the cover. Yen-Raku translates the title as Energy for Remodeling. This first album was "Directed by " Hosono and executive produced by HH and Yukihiro Takahashi (as most of the YEN albums were). This album unlike the other two uses a fair amount of synths. I think it is brilliant, though I find I can't play it under some circumstances because it is very strong and neither beat oriented or relaxing. Some people I know find them a very difficult listen. Out of print.
(@) 82.12.5 YEN 7" YLR-702
this single was included when the CD came out
This is the one with the ship on the cover. Translates as Canal Into the New Century. This and the next album are mostly an acoustic orchestra. This leads more authenticity. Nothing sounds quite like it (except other work by the creators!) Probably out of print.
official translation- Regard de l'Ionosphere. This one has the sepia photo of the 'lovers' on the cover. It has a Japanese title. French translations are in the interior.
Similar in style to the second one. They may have been recorded at the same sessions? But I'm only guessing.
Unlike Yapoos and her solo work, Jun Togawa uses a consistant professional but not over the top vocal style on Guernica. So for better or worse you won't hear any schizophrenic punks, little girls or divas here. Probably out of print.
(*) DVD VPBQ-19019
A recent DVD release of performances between 1982-89
02.12.4 Baidis 3CD: TECN-42858-60
Three CD set with many bonus tracks + Quicktime.
This fairly rare album relates in style to Guernica. Yen-Raku translates the title as Great Mystyrious Land. Ohta wrote the lyrics for Guernica. Here Ueno writes the music and Togawa only guests. Also a children's choir and Hosono appear. Out of print.
This was the last original album to be released before YEN shut down and just recently re-re-released in a different label reissue with other Ueno releases
Ueno creates new soundtracks for famous avant garde silent movies by the Dadaists and Surrealists. These range from Guernica-like to difficult to listen to avant garde and each has a unique set of timbres. His score for Entr'acte, a film originally scored by Satie, features arrangements of several satie compositions. Reissued (maybe twice?) fairly recently but it may be out of print.
Some of this music accompanies newly made old looking films on the YEN Graduation
(*) 93.10.25 Wave cd: WWCP-7113/4 (2 CD SET)
its been reissued I think - said to be chamber classical sounding
Resonances of GADGET
Quasisymphonic Movements and Noise Montages
-- this is music from a CD ROM he scored. The ROM was U.S. released but not the album. The title pretty much sums it up, it old style music evoking big powerful sounds of train travel.
a short and not full priced soundtrack of Okinawa style material. The soundtrack doesn't have much variety from track to track but remains interesting.
(@) 1999 COCD-9228
With male singing. Rather like old avant garde music. A bit jarring at times
Koji Ueno Ensemble
(*) 2004 VPCC-81480
Seems to be a retro jazzy classical hybrid. There is a cool music video from it online right now (click above the link that says 32MB 3'45min)
Other albums by Ueno (*):
YEN MANIFOLD VOL.1 (this album shared by 3 acts is rather rare , only released on CD within the rare YEN Box 1)
mugen ryukyu: turuhenry (SUPCD-1201) O.S.T.
KOJI UENO TRIO / IONOSPHERIC (SUPCD-1202)
There were quite a few releases on Synergy (denoted by the SYDA prefix) but they closed shop around 1998. Many seem to have been reissued since then.
former Yapoos member & keyboardist, soundtrack composer.
has reissued the Sankai Juku albums and a Miracle Planet CD and offers online CD sales in English.
NK: I'd consider these releases New Music in that they are sort of avant garde touching into classical, ambient and new age in various ways. (available from the above io-factory link) On each album Yoichiro Yoshikawa and either Yas-Kaz or Takashi Kako compose original music often alternating composer from track to track. I'd call the style New Music. It can at times be avant garde, classical, "ethnic" or new age. What it definitely isn't is traditional old style classical or any sort of club or pop. There is little of these sorts of styles here so I think this might bear a bit on Patricio's opinions (being that a "regular" sort of film soundtrack is very reliant on old style classical techniques). What these albums do offer are some interesting and challenging soundscapes.
JOMONSHO - (*) this score is from 1982 and is composed by Yas-Kaz. Included here so as to mention all of the Sankai Juku CDs. CD available from io-factory
Patricio Elicer writes: Composed along with Yas-Kaz for the Japanese dance group Sankai Juku. Consists of 6 tracks for 51:39 total time, 3 by Yoshikawa, 2 by Yas-Kaz and 1 shared. In fact, one of the tracks by Yas-Kaz is an extended version of the other. Music based exclusively on keyboards, some percussion, with lots of sound effects and repetitive tunes. As music intended for a dance stage perfomance, is hard for listening alone. Deluxe booklet with writings in Japanese, French and English. CD available from io-factory
PE: Another Yoshikawa/Yas-Kaz work for Sankai Juku. This time Yoshikawa plays a major role as composer/performer of 5 of the 6 tracks, while the Yas-Kaz composition is just a wind-like sound effect. 52:19 total running time. CD available from io-factory
1991 WSP WWCP 7109, reissued CD available from io-factory
1993 WSP WWCP 7115, reissued CD available from io-factory
1995 WSP WWCP-7117 (NKCD-1286), reissued CD available from io-factory
1998 N-Two Co. N2R-0001 (NKCD-3100), reissued CD available from io-factory
Yoichiro Yoshikawa / Takashi Kako
KAGEMI - Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors
2001 cd: iopp-0107
CD available from io-factory
1. The Series
The Miracle Planet is a 12-chapter TV series about our home planet, produced in the mid 80s by NHK Japan. Its an instructive series intended for the lay person, which explains some of the fenomena that led the Earth to be the planet we inhabit today. How the Earth itself came to be?, how the oxygen we breath appeared?, how the oceans were formed?, how the vegetation appeared?, why the dinosours all died?, why are there deserts on the Earth?, how the natural resources came to be?, what are the glaciations?, how the mountain ranges were formed?, are the continents moving with respect to one another?, etc., are some of the questions examined in detail in the series.
Three elements mix in perfect balance: exotic views of the Earth, a poetic narrative (here Im refering to the Spanish version by TV Española), and the background music.
The following are the 12 episodes (unofficial titles taken from the Spanish version):
Episode 1 "At the Beginning, The Third Planet"
Episode 2 "The Cooling of The Earth"
Episode 3 "The Origin of Oxygen"
Episode 4 "The Apparition of Life"
Episode 5 "The Formation of The Continents"
Episode 6 "The Forests"
Episode 7 "The Extinction of The Dinasours"
Episode 8 "The Glaciers"
Episode 9 "The Deserts"
Episode 10 "The Natural Resources"
Episode 11 "The Atmosphere, our Protective Shield"
Episode 12 "The Earth Complains"
2. The Soundtrack
The Soundtrack was composed by Yoichiro Yoshikawa, and played by Yoshikawa and the London Philarmonic Orchestra. It was released in 1987 in 3 CDs, entitled: "The Miracle Planet", "A Dream Of Aku-Aku", and "Cyprus". The main element, present in almost the whole soundtrack, is melody. It is full of exotic but simple melodies, superb compositions. Although the melodies are simple, they are rich and complex in arrangements and sounds. Most of the tracks have a great content of orchestral sounds, especially violins and other strings. Not much percusion is included. There are also a few purely electronic tracks. Most of track titles are related to the places on Earth that are seen in the series in the moment they are played, or the subject being treated.
Unfortunatly many short incidental, but good, pieces of the soundtrack were left out of these 3 CDs
NK adds: the below 3 CDs are out of print but a nice compilation of them has been reissued. This series was, as far as I know, one of if not the most widely seen documentary series in the woirld
THE MIRACLE PLANET
(@)1987 Toshiba-EMI CA32-1414
A DREAM OF AKU-AKU
(@)1987 Toshiba-EMI CT32-5002
(@)1987 Toshiba-EMI CT32-5159
PE writes: Many thanks to Nobuhisa Shimazu for providing me this material.
89.6.4 Toshiba-EMI CT32-5218, reissued jointly with io-factory
NK writes: This is a compilation of the above 3 albums with a few edit versions and a remix.
91.1.23 TOSHIBA EMI TOCT-5977
NK: Seems to be a documentary series soundtrack and is out of print. Has a variety of interesting styles from opera to lounge to big orchestral to synth. Definitely of interest to Miracle Planet music fans.
PE: 16-track Japanese animation sountrack, plenty of remixes, for 54:45 total time. Most compositions aren't good for listening, although 2 of them are notable. The main theme is a 10:37-minute really remarkable composition, one of Yoshikawa best inspirations, lots of strings, that appears in 4 other different remixes. out of print
PE: 6-track Japanese animation soundtrack, 41:37 total time. Mostly instrumental music based on keyboards, percussion and short appearances of acoustic guitar. The opening theme is a beautiful melody which is repeated at the end with vocals added. Some tracks strongly resemble the Jarre style.
NEW DOMINION TANK POLICE(*) 1993 Victor Entertainment, Inc., JVC/JNA Animation (U.S.) JNA-1505-2
PE: Perhaps this animation soundtrack should be labeled a various artists album, although Yoshikawa takes the greatest part, 18 tracks out of 24. Yoshio Nomura and Nobuhiko Kashihara are in the remaining 6. Similar short compositions as those of IRIA; this time more jazzy tunes are included. 49:50 total time.
NK: I've not confirmed whats going on but the U.S. VHS edition of the video credits music to someone else, so maybe the distributer stuck some other music in. I've not actually seen the U.S. video so my info is just based on the box credits. The U.S. CD is confirmed to be by YY
PE: 22 music tracks plus 4 dialogue tracks, most of them less than 2 minutes long, for 56:24 total time. Track 26 composed and arranged by Takao Yasube. Interesting musical compositions ranging from hard rock with strong electric guitars, to smooth symphonic rock, electronic music and easy listening vocal songs. Good for listening although one would expect the pieces to be longer.
NK: The short length probably means these were the original music cues
rather than album arranged suites. Out of print.
2000 cd: Pink Panda Records/ io-factory IOPP-0001
CimaCima is a charming singer and songwriter being produced and arranged by Yoichiro Yoshikawa. On this debut album she tries a variety of styles sung in Japanese, english and french. She does mostly technopop style songs but many incorporate other elements like cabaret, rock and a sort of chinese ballad sound. Some live strings too. Some tracks are a tiny bit rough sounding in their performances and recording but many are excellent in all aspects. Its well worth checking out. She's now working on her own in Paris.
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