Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — 70's West Japanese Rock Scene
(Belle Antique 9461, 1979/1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01

70's West Japanese Rock Scene Cover art

Apart from the Tokyo scene in the 70s, there were many progressive bands operating in the Kansai region, outside of Tokyo and in the west of Japan, in places like Osaka, Kyoto, and elsewhere. 70's West Japanese Rock Scene is a compilation that documents some of the music of that scene by bands who never got their break. This compilation pre-dates the Tokyo compilation by a few years – these recordings span the years 1976 through 1979, and to be fair, many of the musicians here did eventually meet with some level of success, but many of the names and faces had changed by that time. Six different bands are represented here, for a total of seven cuts.

Schéhérezade kicks the program off with "Namidanonakae" and closes it as well with the eleven minute "Boyhood - The Cliff." This band features some famous names – Teru Hirayama, who would go on to Novela, and eventually Teru's Symphonia, plays guitars, and keyboardist Toshio Egawa, who would later play in both Novela and Gerard. In fact most of the Schéhérezade lineup went on to form Novela (one might suspect some influence from the band Renaissance, with band names like Scheherezade and Novela, but that connection is not so easily made). Tenchisozo, an early formation of Ain Soph, is here with "Dr.Macoy," a track which will remind some of early Soft Machine. Maria was a band that was active from '72 until around '78. Their offering, "Serenade" from 1976, represents the oldest recording on this disc, but with its Spanish flavor and heavy use of symphonics, it's also one of the best.

Rumble was a band led by guitarist Ikkou Nakajima, who later with Hiroko Nagai would be one of the main movers in Pageant. Also featured in the lineup is keyboardist Toshio Egawa (Gerard). Their contribution, "Kagerouno Maki," is a powerful rocker with driving vocals and tight guitar-keyboard interplay. Charisma offers "Red and Black," an ambitious rock-fusion piece with spirited guitar work from Mitsuhiko Izumi (later of Dada and Kennedy) and drumming by Kouzou Suganuma (later of Black Page). Lastly, there is Round House with "Jinzo-Ningen" from '78 (and the title cut from their posthumous CD released in 1991). Overall, a lot of good music here. Sound quality is slightly substandard, but still very listenable... the price we pay for a piece of history.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 9, 1994 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Ain Soph, Round House, Various Artists, Pageant, Schéhérazade, Charisma

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Roots of Consciousness - Roots of Consciousness – On first listen I wasn't sure what to make of this debut release from Atlanta's Roots of Consciousness, a four piece of guitars, keys, bass and drums, with vocals by all. After a few listens those...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues