Japanese Boy

I originally discovered these tracks a few years ago at the – now, sadly, no longer updated – Cartilage Consortium blog, and much of what you’re about to read has been cribbed from there. Apologies, but information on this incredibly odd and obscure album is otherwise impossible to come by.

Taken from the self-released CD Kyô Kawanishi Volume One, as the cover states what you are about to hear is ‘the first work song in the language of the universe’. Kyô Kawanishi is, according to Cartilage Consortium, a Japanese gentleman ‘whose lyrics are for some reasons often historically obsessed by the situation of Korean people’ and who credited himself with having composed ‘more than 1000 songs written between 1988 and 2007’. Kyô Kawanishi was the name of the character played by Kyû Sakamoto in the 1962 film Ue o Muite Arukô, so it’s highly likely that the man hiding behind the hockey mask is using a pseudonym - possibly to protect his family from his horrible music.

This is nuts: his voice is all over the place, the primitive keyboard backing at times sounds like the soundtrack to the Clangers, and the whole thing sounds like it was recorded in a karaoke bar. It’s all very amateur – and, in a way, quite charming. Apparently our Kyô Kawanishi is known to have played several gigs. But then again, so did Eilert Pilarm…

Back to Cartilage Consortium: ‘It would be hard to render the unique syntax by translating song titles such as "Spaceship of the Maruberu Break". Directly connected to the universe, he's also a bashful perfectionist, who couldn't help apologising in his booklet for the recording quality.’

If this is only Volume One you have to wonder how many others are out there, just waiting to be discovered.

Anyway, here are a couple of songs from the album, Andromeda Maruberu Seijin (roughly Maraberu Alien from Andromeda) and Maruberu Pause no Uchuusen (the aforementioned Spaceship of the Maruberu Break). Make of them what you will.

Enjoy!

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