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Sadistic Mika Band - Kurofune (Black Ship) CD (album) cover


Sadistic Mika Band


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3.89 | 9 ratings

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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.

DamoXt7942 | 4/5 |


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