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Sadistic Mika Band

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Sadistic Mika Band Kurofune (Black Ship) album cover
3.89 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A
1. Sumie No Kuni E (4:58)
2. Nanika Ga Umi Wo Yattekuru (4:16)
2. Time Machine Ni Onegai (4:14)
3. Kurofune (Black Ship) (Second June) (0:51)
4. Kurofune (Black Ship) (Third June) (2:57)
5. Kurofune (Black Ship) (Fourth June) (2:44)
Side B
1. Yoroshiku Dozo (0:53)
2. Dontaku (3:53)
3. Shiki Shoka (5:45)
4. Hei Made Hitottobi (Suki Suki Suki) (3:37)
5. Typhoon (4:01)
6. Sayonara (4:39)

Total Time 42:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Kazuhiko Kato / guitar, synthesizer, voices
- Masayoshi Takanaka / guitar, synthesizer, voices
- Mika Kato / voices
- Rey Ohara / bass, voices
- Yukihiro Takahashi / drums, voices

Releases information

LP Toshiba EMI (Doughnut) DTP72003 (1974)
CD EMI Music Japan CA30-1410 (1987)
CD EMI Music Japan TOCT6578 (1992)
CD EMI Music Japan TOCT10139 (1998)
CD EMI Music Japan TOCT10748 (2000)
CD EMI Music Japan TOCT25113 (2003)
CD EMI Music Japan TOCT16012 (2006)
CD EMI Music Japan TOCT11162 (2007)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
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SADISTIC MIKA BAND Kurofune (Black Ship) ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SADISTIC MIKA BAND Kurofune (Black Ship) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams
4 stars "Kurofune (Black Ship)" ... This superb album produced in 1974 (a conception of progressive rock underdeveloped in Japan yet in those days) can be suitably called as one of pioneers in Japanese progressive rock scene, except only one point described later. As you know, this album has a conception of "opening Japan for foreign (especially Western) countries", that had brought and compelled by Matthew Calbraith Perry in 1853, the end of Edo Bakufu (maybe called "a closed government" in English) Era. Kazuhiko and Sadistic Mika Band have created this album and story as a serious, problematic one for Japanese people in those days, and simultaneously, made this album itself "open the Japanese rock scene for Euro-American progressive rock kingdom". Yes, this album could be the dawn of Japanese concept album creation, and sadly, this was too progressive for Japanese music scene at this moment to be approved under commercialism.

Easily can imagine that lots of Edo people might be surprised, shocked, and upset with their sudden attack. Kazuhiko and his band have made an excellent expression about that matter, especially as an undefined fear / confusion in the first track "Sumie No Kuni E (Into A Nation Of Black Ink)" and as a coming anxiety in the second "Nanika Ga Umi Wo Yatte Kuru (Something Horrible Is Coming Across The Sea)", with weird voices and unstable melodies. Such a texture created by them (especially Kazuhiko, Takeshi Matsuyama, and Chris Thomas) sounds remarkably vivid. Not simply folksy nor catchy but experimental around pop essence. We can hear enough progressiveness for Japanese pop / rock scene in 1974 (and understand they could not be approved successfully). The last suite in Side A "Kurofune (2nd - 4th June, Kaei 6)" is the highlight of this album, where we can suggest a magnificent panic and hopelessness, giving-up around lots of Edo people, via powerful, enthusiastic heavy rock launched by deep bass sounds, complexly quaking drumming, and crying guitar shouts. On the contrary, in "Yoroshiku Dozo (Welcome Please)" natives seem to accept the cross-cultural matter (maybe could not avoid accepting under their superiority though).

Sadly, however, so far as I am aware, Kazuhiko's indulgence with his wife Mika, that he'd let her sing such a sweet rock "Time Machine" or an eccentric (for this story) cookie "Hei Made Hitottobi (Suki Suki Suki)", would lower the estimation for this album as a concept one. These pop songs, one of that later released as a hit single, are good indeed, but unsuitable catchy atmosphere in them might disturb the train of thought around this serious story I'm afraid.

This regretful point aside, this album created just in Japanese closed music scene could open widely Japan's door, and it's true. I'm sure this splendid work will be re-appreciated all over the world, after Kazuhiko's sad suicide. Highly recommended.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The second LP from Japan's Sadistic Mika Band is not only a good entry point for newcomers, but from a Prog Rock perspective is easily their creative zenith. The album succeeded in raising the band's profile outside their own country, in part by trading the perceived (but calculated?) na´vetÚ of their 1973 debut for a more confident Anglo-influenced sound, hardly an unfair exchange given the strength of the material here. A high-profile tour supporting ROXY MUSIC didn't hurt their growing reputation either.

The musicianship throughout is world-class, ranging from pinpoint fusion pyrotechnics to heavy rock power chords to dreamy Oriental psychedelia. The ethereal multi-tracked vocals in the album opener "Sumie No Kuni E" (separated into opposite channels, one voice singing and the other speaking) was a particular stroke of stylistic genius. As was the dramatic segue into the steamroller riffing of "Time Machine", enough to send any closet air-guitarist pounding his fists to the sky.

The band's native Asian culture surfaces at the start of Side Two, but the Far Eastern flavor was undermined in the tongue-in-cheek manner of early FAUST by a defiantly amateur saxophone, and by the ubiquitous funky crunch of a clavinet. Elsewhere, the album's three-part title track (a.k.a. "Black Ship", but the English song names are new to me: all the text on my imported LP is in runic Japanese) really allows the band to show its chops, shifting from manic jamming to a high-caliber Arena Rock anthem with testosterone to spare, all of it captured in the full-blooded production of ace engineer Chris Thomas, one of the premier studio gurus of the 1970s.

It's true that the original ersatz-glam spirit of the band was somewhat compromised by the move to London, where to a certain degree their foreignness was sold as a musical novelty. And the project would soon disintegrate when the husband/wife team of guitarist Kazuhiko and singer Mika Kato sailed into rocky marital waters: see the inaptly-titled "Hot! Menu" album, recorded the following year. But for the time being, as depicted in the fanciful cover photo here, the group was flying high.

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