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Main » 2008 » June » 27 » Les Rallizes Denudes and Yellow - 2004 - Rallizes House Session at Fussa (rec. 1975/1973)
Les Rallizes Denudes and Yellow - 2004 - Rallizes House Session at Fussa (rec. 1975/1973)

Although the ultra-mysterious and rumour-cloaked Les Rallizes Denudes/Hadaka no Rallizes existed in various forms from November 1967 to their last gig in October 1996 they are practically unknown in - let alone out of - Japan. Their recorded output is incredibly rare and highly priced and interviews or articles in the music press virtually non-existent. Tie that in with links to radical left-wing politics, extreme sensory assault at live shows and a general revolutionary aura and you have what must be the ultimate cult group.

This heavy guitar-based psychedelic band had their beginnings at Kyoto University in late 1967 with their first gig in 1968 - a song from which is featured on the 67-69 Studio et Live CD. While their recordings from this early period are still relatively controlled their live shows reputedly featured massive volume and the use of strobe lights and mirror balls to extreme levels, something that can be seen on the Les Rallizes Denudes video and heard on the 77 Live CD. Obviously this brings to mind comparisons with the Velvet Underground and their Plastic Exploding Inevitable. The ESP label and the San Francisco bands of that era have also been referenced here. It seems the volume was too much for some - a relationship with an avant-garde theatre group between 1968-69 fell apart due to the excess of Rallizes' sound.

April 1969 sees the band playing at the front lines of the Japanese student demonstrations, the Barricades A Go-Go concert at Kyoto University, organised by students occupying the university. This support for revolutionary causes ran deep with original member Wakabayashi involved in the 1970 Yodo-Go incident where members of the Japanese Red Army (Sekigun) hijacked a Japanese airliner to North Korea. Rumour has it that guitarist/group leader Mizutani Takashi was involved on some level with Sekigun and was asked to take part in the hijacking. Some years later the band are reported as putting on a concert on the grounds of a junior high school, playing through 30 metre high speaker stacks and passing out copies of texts by Hegel, Lenin, Che Guevara, Cervantes, Nietzsche and Ed Sanders to those present.

While they were active live not much was happening in the studio. Some sessions were recorded in the 1970s but were never released. Other than one side of the legendary Oz Days Live double LP document from 1973 the band only existed as a live experience. August 1991 and suddenly three CDs were released simultaneously by the band, though in limited numbers. These disappeared pretty much at once and like anything else associated with the band are highly-priced on the collector's market. Shortly afterwards the live video was released and then in 1996 the Japanese music magazine etcetera released an issue devoted to Rallizes with a 7" featuring music by Mizutani/Rallizes including a recording from February 1993. Apparently it sold out almost instantaneously. Late 1999 the half of Oz Days Live featuring Rallizes was bootlegged and made available briefly, meanwhile articles in The Wire (August 1999) and the Japanese magazine Studio Voice (March 2000) seem to have sparked lots of interest in the group especially in the Internet auction world.

Most of the interest seems to stem from the 77 Live double CD, along with early Fushitsusha recordings one of the ultimate Japanese guitar-psychedelic documents. This is a massive affair featuring long pieces of intense feedback and guitar distortion over simple repetitive rhythms cut through by Mizutani's cold vocal's dark and extreme, influenced by surrealism and avante-garde/radical texts as well as other musics. A few tracks from the 67-69 Live and Mizutani/Rallizes CDs presage this and point to Rallizes as an influence on later Japanese bands but the 77 Live CD is the ultimate Rallizes and arguably the ultimate Japanese psychedelic document. While various attempts have been made to reissue the three official CDs the band have yet to give permission. Meanwhile bootlegs of live shows and studio recordings surface and disappear abruptly, with a 2002 LP boot of 77 Live the latest. The last documented sighting of Mizutani, the key to the whole Rallizes experience, was in Tokyo, November 1997 playing guitar with US free jazz player Arthur Doyle. Various other members have shown up all over the Japanese underground but the band itself seems to be no more. (from

Yellow were a Japanese experimental rock group founded in 1971 by Taisuke Morishita. The group played their first gig at Aquirax Aida's Jiyu Kukan festival in Niigata in April 1972. Following a hitchhiking trip to California in 1974, Morshita decides to change the group's name to Be.
Members:    Hiroshi Imaizumi, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Taisuke Morishita (from Wikipedia)
Yellow had no released output while they were active. Some live recordings appeared several years later, in Dead Flower's "Underground Tracks 70’s" compilation.

This 2CD set released on Dead Flower, 2004
Rallizes tracks recorded 1 April 1975 at Rallizes House, Fussa. Yellow tracks recorded at Hitotsubashi University festival, 11 November 1973.

Category: Psyche/Garage/Folk | Views: 4394 | Added by: Opa-Loka | Rating: 0.0/0 |

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