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MASAHIKO SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS

RIO/Avant-Prog • Japan


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Masahiko Satoh And The Soundbreakers biography
A renowned Japanese jazz pianist Masahiko SATOH was born in Tokyo on October 6th, 1941. After graduating in economics of Keio University, Masahiko had studied composition and arrangement in Berklee College of Music from 1966 to 1968. In the following year he released his debut album 'Palladium' (1969), that won The Prize of Japanese Jazz sponsored by Swing Journal Magazine, and pushed him onto the stardom in Japanese Jazz scene.

Through the music production of Expo '70 Local Government Pavilion, Masahiko formed a momentary project THE SOUNDBREAKERS and released one and only album 'Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)' in 1971 - with much collaboration from lots of gifted musicians - e.g. Kimio MIZUTANI (guitar), Hiro YANAGIDA (organ), or Masaoki TERAKAWA (bass) - featuring precious recorded voices by Shigenobu OKUMA or Adolf HITLER.

In the same year, Masahiko and Stomu YAMASH'TA, as members of Yamash'ta & The Horizon, played a gig named 'Sunrise From The West' in Yamaha Hall (Tokyo) on April 18th, 1971 ... this was later released as a live album. Another important event for him was to get Geijutsusai Yushu Prize by the album 'Yamataifu' (1972) by Toshiyuki MIYAMA & His New Herd - Masahiko participated also in this project.

Masahiko has collaborated with lots of artists, actors / actresses, producers in creating lots of songs, suites, dramas, TV jingles, established a independent label BAJ Records, via which some experimental albums have been released, and opened his seminar for learning approaches to free improvisation music - Masahiko's been an artist of great vitality.

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3.82 | 16 ratings
Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)
1971

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MASAHIKO SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku) by SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS, MASAHIKO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 16 ratings

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Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)
Masahiko Satoh And The Soundbreakers RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Although it was Pink Floyd who dipped their saucer into the psychedelic secrets first, it didn't take long for the rest of the world to jump on the tripper's bandwagon. While Germany was probably the most gung-ho for the ultimate detachments from the status quo, the next contender for farthest out trips possible must surely find Japan near the top of the list and no other than the experimental pianist MASAHIKO SATOH was one of those brave souls who had his day in the late 60s and early 70s with a slew of avant-garde freaky free jazz wild musical adventures. One of SATOH's many projects was the Japanese production of "Hair" and while that would never come to fruition, he did find his way into the studio with the legendary jazz producer Rudy Van Gelder for a one-off project titled MASAHIKO SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS which took the avant-garde, psychedelic rock and free form jazz extremes into bizarre new realities.

This project's only release AMALGAMATION ( 恍惚の昭和元禄 ) was ambitiously wild enough to rival anything emerging out of Germany's fertile Krautrock scene. This little piece of eccentricity only contained two mind-bending tracks that added some extra fermented sake to the Kraut and created a rollercoaster ride of musical expressions so weird that even Godzilla would lose his mind and head back to the sea. The pair of tracks are blandly titled "Part 1" and "Part 2" but actually are composed of smaller segments that trade off into new parts and also sort of exist independently and leap frog over each other. "Part 1" is a hangover from the 60s where all the musicians involved have one of those spontaneous trips resulting from all the drugs at the swinging parties. This is one outrageous parade of disparate parts where the band jammed along to reel-to-reel recordings.

While the recordings themselves display spoken narration in the Japanese language, the jamming on the other hand cranked out the ultimate free form expressions of 60s organ funk, acid rock guitar, brass ensembles and even Western classical interpolations. While the individual genres have time to dominate, they just as often exist side by side. While lysergic 60s organ rolls burst out into free fall frenzies, it suddenly fades into the backdrop while placid almost elevator music renditions of classical music pacify the spirit and in the process creates extreme contrast with at odds contra-juxtapositions. While the first near sixteen minute track exceeds in inducing shamanic experiences where inter dimensional beings pop out of the ethers just to say hello, the second track which exceeds the twenty-one minute mark is much more of a jazzy affair, one that sounds like Ornette Coleman on tour with Sun Ra, John Cage and a traditional Japanese folk ensemble.

"Part 2" breaks out all the heavy duty jazz accoutrements with squawky sax dialogues and pummeling percussive attacks which punctuated by staccato references of silence find trippy wordless vocals and freak fueled organ sounds emulating from the background like a bad soap opera commercial from the 1950s but the arhythmic stroll through the bonsai forests of Hokkaido bring cultural reference points with sporadic native sounds but for the most part as the percussive bombast exists in its own reality, the wind instruments decide to do things their own way with independent outbursts in full decibalage. The sax gives way to the clarinet while jazz drumming cedes to tribal beats which at times even threatens to sound "normal." But always ahead of the game, SAKO and his SOUNDBREAKERS have new tricks up their sleeves with group chants which resembling samurai prayer rituals as well as female operatic vocals with church organs and much more!

With heavy doses of psychedelic rock, avant-prog, free from jazz and miscellaneous snippets of other disparate sounds, AMALGAMATION ( 恍惚の昭和元禄 ) is only recommended for the most adventurous who know no decency and refrain from any established boundaries or pesky orthodoxies. MASAHIKO SATO and friends accomplished the glorious Krautrock dreams, Japanese style with an unabashed album of full-on mind f.u.c.k.ery unlike anything from Japan or across the seven seas. Guaranteed to irritate seekers of melodies and delight the proponents of true musical anarchy, AMALGAMATION ( 恍惚の昭和元禄 ) is an experience that you will never forget. This is not a grower but rather one of those albums that gleefully defies expectations, belies understanding and derails comprehension. It is freedom for freedom's sake but never grows tired. Personally this one works quite well as a wickedly wild ride down the road where the musical sounds of the anything goes 70s escaped all gravitational pull of any pre-established methodologies.

 Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku) by SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS, MASAHIKO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 16 ratings

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Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)
Masahiko Satoh And The Soundbreakers RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

3 stars A thousand ideas in two tracks

A strange beast this one. Sporting the odd missile launches, Hitler speeches, gunfire, manic fusion without direction and a thousand different ideas all happening at once - Amalgamation is truly the essence of its name.

I came into this album by way of Japanese organist Hiro Yanagida who has played with a lot of big names from all over Japan - including Milk Time. Once I sunk my teeth into this mildly bizarre musical venture, it suddenly dawned on me, that he only features on the first cut. The fact that he sounds unlike anything I've heard him on before also contributed to my initial disappointment, but as you all know, sometimes these progressive records have a way of sneaking up on you like some stealthy sonic ninja.

Imagine 4 or 5 different musical motifs all fighting for the spotlight during some 15 minutes. Take a dash of explosive and wild Hammond organ fire - jettisoning itself into the unknown with all kinds of bubbly and unnecessary flourishes. Then add feminine 18th century violin segments with a mouth full of honey. Blasting fusionéros drumming with the additional swooping bass lines to go with it. Somewhere in between all of this musical mayhem, you get treated to some rather tinny sounding guitar meanderings, that for some reason work like a charm. TADAHH!! That was the first side...

Then you have the whistling black smith that starts off the second piece - only to be drowned out by an insane overwrought saxophone coming from a place of pain and suffering. Bonzo big band circus drums - and an altogether bizarre atmosphere fills the air. Beautiful ethereal chu chu train vocals steaming up in the music - accompanied by a decisively more warm and welcoming aura - now greeting the shimmering organs that fight for the right to steer the tune together with the free-jazz drumming and the mad saxophone - that by now sounds like a tortured songbird strapped to a flaming hot barbecue.

I know what most of you people must be thinking by now: Man oh man - where can I get this album, because I am soooo into tortured birds!!! Well then my friend hang on a minute, because sadly the misery of the cuckoo is, just like the rest of this album's madness, funnelled into something approachable and earthy. Whether we're talking early fusion grooves - or slow organ lead lullabies, somehow you always end up in musical territories with a wholesome foundation of rhythms that groove and female vocals that sensuously melt the butter on your eyelids(Don't ask, but it sure helps).

I had this album playing here the other day, when the doorbell suddenly rang. I forgot to turn the music down, so when my ancient grandmother stepped into the doorway - I felt the awkwardness and unbridled power of the saxophone in full force: It literally crept up my pants like a slithering Gabon viper - ending up like a huge bulk of ice cubes on my chest:

'What the hell is that racket in the back?!?!!??'

Now my grandmother doesn't normally swear, but on this occasion, my guess is that she found herself slightly bewildered and estranged by the situation, which is so unlike her and how she proposes to live life. She needs to be in control of things, and right there she didn't have the slightest clue of what was going down - neither did she quite comprehend that what indeed was emanating from the stereo was in fact music... Well it was, and as I unsuccessfully was trying my best to convey what I thought about some music that seeks the unfathomable and bizarre - and how such a thing can be utter brilliant and mind-blowing, she turned around and walked straight into the garden, kindly asking me to direct my parents out there, if I at some point encountered them during my day....

So there you have it: Don't approach this, if you're over 70 and have spend most of your life listening to music from the 40s. Elderly women watch out - this will probably not be for you, unless you are going through your second adolescence and want to irk your husband with a bunch of raunchy and confusing organ n' saxophone tunes that reek of chilli and garlic. 3.5 stars.

 Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku) by SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS, MASAHIKO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 16 ratings

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Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)
Masahiko Satoh And The Soundbreakers RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars There's nothing I like better than the sound of gunfire and missiles in music - and thats how this one kicks off? Hurrah! And unless my ears deceive me, there's some 'not allowed any more' Hitler speeches in there too. So far so good...

Unfortunately these sound effects have clearly been laid down after the original jam that lasts a whole 37 minutes.

The machine guns and cannons keep grabbing my attention, but in all honesty this is all over the place sounding like it's being played by Dr Teeth's band in the 'Muppet Show'.

A directionless get-together where sound effects can't cover up the defects which are all too plain to see. Things admittedly pick up with some of the string sections that appear after 12 minutes, but then we're thrown back into that psychedelic swirling organ noise, complete with screaming guitars and wayward drums thing again.

Side two sacks all the sound effects but is none the better for it. What we have now are wailing 'John Zorn' saxophones and loads of random drumming. It may appear that I'm in a bad mood having given three, very low ratings in a row, but gimmie a break - you try listening to this tosh!

Poor fare indeed.

 Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku) by SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS, MASAHIKO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 16 ratings

BUY
Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)
Masahiko Satoh And The Soundbreakers RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Masahiko Satoh isn't well-known (or just forgotten?) to avant-jazz fans,and it's a shame! After his graduation in Berklee School of Music from 1966 to 1968,he returned to Japan and became one of most active experimentalist on Japanese avant/jazz scene.

Only during 1969-1971 he recorded 21 (!) album as solo artist or project leader. His The Soundbreakers are one-shot project,but what a great release it is! Album contains just two compositions,quite different between each other.

Side A is excellent (really excellent!) collage of psychedelic jazz rock, kraut, neo-classical avant-garde,waltz and movies soundtracks all in one. But there is no chaos at all, all components are absolutely organically added to quite relaxed and groovy psychedelic jazz rock basis. All 15 minutes of the music of this composition run fast and the listener feels as he's watching extremely interesting action movie! Musicianship and composition are both of highest class,and as for year 1971 it sounds as one of real cornerstone of Japanese avant! Fantastic bass-line presented besides of Masahiko's keyboards - I really love that sound!

Side B is longer and contains different music - it's mostly a free-jazz this time. Psychedelic and very experimental for its time, this composition possibly doesn't sound so catchy as first one, but is a great illustration of a bit different side of Soundbreakers project's music.

In all,this album is a real gem and must have addition for any serious fan of Japanese avant prog (as well extremely interesting release for everyone interested in experimental psychedelic jazz fusion of early 70-s). Highly recommended!

 Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku) by SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS, MASAHIKO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 16 ratings

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Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)
Masahiko Satoh And The Soundbreakers RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars First of all, please let me say thanks to Greg (Logan), the suggester of MASAHIKO SATOH & THE SOUNDBREAKERS.

Everyone says that Masahiko SATOH the frontman of The SOUNDBREAKERS has been very enthusiastic for "freely improvised music", and his career tells this fact, his attitude for music. 1971 in Japan reminds me lots of three-minute pop (kayo-kyoku), folk, traditional pop ('enka' in Japanese) ones, but Masahiko, who released such a long improvised suite in those days, can be called as a terrifically eccentric epochmaking creator methinks. Listen to this "Amalgamation" album and you can realize he could keep straightly and seriously his music theory, "freely improvised" one. Magnificent and cynical soundscape is here ... from the beginning, featuring Shigenobu Okuma and Adolf Hitler's narration recorded previously, deep & heavy bass sounds (by Masaoki TERAKAWA), sharp guitar knife-edges (by Kimio MIZUTANI), and especially Hiro YAMAGATA's loud and swift keyboard storm ... absolutely suitable for being able to call as a progressive project. Of course, we cannot avoid feeling Wehnne Strings Consort's brilliant violin solo in the middle of Amalgamation Part 1 (LP Side A).

This sound structure of Part 1 is exactly similar to Krautrock, like Ash Ra Tempel (check their song "Amboss" in the eponymous album). However, I do consider, Masahiko's Amalgamation should have the different basis from Ash Ra Tempel ... both albums were released simultaneously (1971), and both of them could include the similar soundscape to each other. So to speak, Masahiko and Ash Ra Tempel both could open their native progressive rock scene I imagine?

Part 2 (LP Side B) is more tribal and more unpolished, ground-smelled. Japanese traditional percussive carnival tune with primeval shouts 'Soiya-soiya' can kick you into a Japan local festa. Kayoko ISHU's female scat in some middle parts are sometimes comfortable and sometimes painful ... Mototeru TAKAGI's saxophone solo can undoubtedly throw you into madness. Until the last passionate fruitful shouts into trance we cannot close our eyes, hold our ears down, and breathe enough. Perfectly the Japanese Avant dawn, they should be.

Thanks to Logan & DamoXt7942 for the artist addition.

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