Saturday, November 5, 2016

East Bionic Symphonia - 1976 - Recorded Live

East Bionic Symphonia 
Recorded Live

01. Part 1 (7.30 P.M. ~ 7.47 P.M.) 19:23
02. Part 2 (8.15 P.M. ~ 8.43 P.M.) 28:26

Recorded July 13, 1976 live at Bigakko in Jimbocho, Kanda, Tokyo.

Kazuo Imai – guitar, viola da gamba (upright descant viola), electronics, snake charmer
Kaoru Okabe – found object
Yasushi Ozawa – bass
Tomonao Koshikawa – piano, potentiometers
Hiroshi Shii – wand, water stick
Masami Tada – sound performance, natural materials used as thrown percussion, FX
Tatuo Hattori – FX, electonics
Kazuaki Hamada – percussion, FX
Masaharu Minegishi – whistles, sound performance
Chie Mukai – kokyu (Chinese upright fiddle)

This large ensemble was formed in March 1976 by students of Taj Mahal Travellers leader Takahisa Kosugi. Their sole LP* is number 33 in the Japrocksampler Top 50. They briefly re-formed as the superb Marginal Consort in 1997 - in many ways this new ensemble was far superior as is evidenced by their outstanding album release.

* Henk Zuurveld notes that the original album was released in 1976 by ALM Records. The LP's label number is: al-3001 and also includes an insert.

The Bigakko art school in mid-70s Tokyo yielded an interesting group of ten students. The school, regarded as a 'failure' in educational counter-culture that resulted from a political shift in Japanese culture a decade earlier, has seen an examination from many sources in the past decade as a revolution in educational formatting. The East Bionic Symphonia is, perhaps, the most recognized result of the institution; instructor Takehisa Kosugi (Taj Mahal Travellers) taught the students the theory and art behind experimental music over the course of two years. This live recording was the graduation project of the group, their learnings culminating into a spellbinding atmospheric envelopment of drone-based improvisation.
It's cathartic, and certainly comparable to Taj Mahal Travellers in many ways. A staple of the Nurse With Wound list, the East Bionic Symphonia utilizes a firm intellectual approach to sonic production. It's bashful yet bold, quietly manipulating the listener's senses into a trance guided only by the the indiscernible objects and their resulting sounds.
There's a considerable amount of focus required for the appreciation of such a record, but considering the attention gained in recent years by similar groups from the NWW list, it's guaranteed to appease the listeners yearning for an alternative take on avant-garde music history.

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