Japan, 1976, psychedelic folk

Osamu KitajimaBenzaiten

This is a dear favorite of mine. Its groovy, funky beginning grabs me every time. The groove quickly incorporates traditional Japanese flute playing to evoke the unique summer festival feeling. Benzaiten is the god of music and water, and his influence is typified in this music, an album almost seemingly made in praise of the tiny mountain waterfall in the midst of a clear, secluded stream, or perhaps the thundering of the waves crashing against the shore after a sea storm. Both are equally the sounds of water on the island country of Japan. From the initial festival feeling of this audio document, the music moves into territory more familiar to the Western ear: psychedelic rock/folk, though it still maintains something of the traditional instrumentation without making it the focus. In time, however, emerge to the patient listener stronger interludes of traditional music with flutes, drums, and even the voice of a man who sounds like a mikoshi master. This is very pagan music. At the end of the document, it descends into a rather Zen feeling as Kitajima explores (or at least it seems to me) the concept of negative space, employing silence as a counterpoint to sound in the sporadic percussion.

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