Thursday, November 15, 2012

How the Post-war Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock 'n' Roll: Julian Cope's Japrocksampler Top 50 Albums on Spotify

The music here is insanely great, and utterly unknown. The fact that half of the albums are now available on Spotify is a miracle in itself.

The first generation of post-WWII Japanese youth created something that was so groundbreaking and penetrating, that compares to the "normal music" of western boomers at the same time (Beatles, Beach Boys etc.), it probably can only be described as Dark Matter. Some of them make even the Velvet Underground sounds like The Ventures.

About the author and the book:

"Julian Cope, visionary rock musician and musicologist, hip archaeologist and one-time frontman of The Teardrop Explodes, brings you JAPROCKSAMPLER. Until now, the language barrier has made post-war Japanese music an enigma to the West. Julian felt duty-bound to provide the key to that unfairly locked door.

Far East Family Band
This is the history of Western music's arrival on Japanese shores after WWII, and the delicious mayhem that ensued. From chromatic instrumental pop covers of The Shadows' songs to the resurrection of Dylan-inspired Rokyoku folk storytelling, nowhere has the continual metamorphosis of rock'n'roll been more fascinating or original than in Japan.

Taj Mahal Travellers
JAPROCKSAMPLER is an exploration of the clash between traditional, conservative Japanese values and the wild rock'n'roll renegades of the 1960s and '70s. It tells the tale of key artists in Japanese post-war culture, from itinerant art-house poets to violent refusenik rock groups with a penchant for plane hijacking, and rounds up the seminal japrock albums."

Les Rallizes Denudes
About the Top 50 Albums list:

"The music contained within this Top 50 consists of hard rock, proto-metal, purely psychedelic free-rock, experimental theatre works, choral and orchestral music, experimental percussion works, improvised ambient wipe-outs, progressive rock, and unadulterated guitar mayhem. However, I have chosen to place the albums in order of personal preference because certain readers of my Krautrocksampler pointed out that this would be an easier way into the trip. That said, it's essential to read more than just these reviews so as to gain a genuine perspective. Almost every artist mentioned in these reviews receives attention somewhere in the main text, so this Top 50 is included as an at-a-glance reference section."

Get all available recordings in one Spotify playlist: Julian Cope's Japrocksampler Top 50 (161 tracks, total time: 21 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. See the book's official site for more info. For Cope's more famous Krautrocksampler, see this previous playlist.


  1. Great playlist. I've got the book and I only own a few Les Rallizes Denudes cds. Some of the other artists I've heard on spotify and grooveshark. But its great to hear some of the rest that I hadn't heard before and only read about. Highlights for me was Les Rallizes Denudes; Yonin-Bayashi, People, Karuna Khyal, JA Caesar, Far East Family Band and Taj Mahal Travellers.

  2. Wow. Thanks for posting this. Listening to these albums is truly revelatory! I had no idea the Japanese were making such great rock music.


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