September 13th, 2014

I KNOW! What were the odds?

Why’s It So Hard [Live]
Secret (Junior’s Luscious Single Mix)
Bedtime Story (Orbital Mix)
Fever (Hot Sweat 12″ Mix)
Human Nature (Love Is The Nature Mix)
Express Yourself (Shep’s Remix)
Friday was the first really nice day in Tokyo since the beginning of August (when it gets to the mid-90s Fahrenheit with a humidity of approximately 100000%). High 70s temperature, nice wind, survivable humidity. Just all around beautiful.

So I went for a nice three and a half hour walk, give or take.

The compulsive collector’s guide to losing weight. That’s what I call my exercise plan. If I want to go shopping for records or CDs that I have absolutely no need for, that’s great – but I gotta walk there. Before the summer heat hit I managed to lose over 50 pounds in five months, and I’m hoping that I can pick up where I left off now that the weather isn’t being an asshole anymore.

And while the main winner in this situation is my heart, you all make out too! Because I pass the records onto you.

These Madonna tracks are all CD rips, taken from a series of single that I snagged at a Disk Union. Most of these have never been posted on my site before, save for “Bedtime Story (Orbital Mix)” and the remix of “Express Yourself.” I originally posted vinyl rips of them several months/years ago, but these rips sound much better.

Additionally, the “Human Nature” remix is the first version of that song I’ve actually liked. It’s a synthgasm.

New Power Generation (N.P.G.) [Funky Weapon Remix]
New Power Generation [T.C.'s Rap]
Brother With A Purpose
Get Off
Lubricated Lady
Loveleft, Loveright
These are all from the CD single for “New Power Generation.” Remixes of “Thieves In The Temple” are also on the single, but I posted those mixes not too long ago, and I think my vinyl rips sounded fine so I’m not going to replace them tonight.

“Get Off’ is NOT “Gett Off.” Actually, it, along with “Lubricated Lady” are really two additional remixes of “New Power Generation.” They also segue together quite well. “Loveleft, Loveright” also shares some elements with the main single, but it varies it up a lot more.

Also, yes, there is a song called “Lubricated Lady.” A song title like that would easily rank as the most offensively stupid in any artist’s back catalog. But isn’t just any other artist, and with song titles like “Pussy Control,” “Scarlet Pussy” and “Soft And Wet” I don’t even know if it ranks in the top ten.

Prince is a classy motherfucker.

Fight Music For The Fight – Bare Knuckle DJ Mix by Yuzo Koshiro

September 6th, 2014

I came to Japan for a lot of reasons. I wanted to teach people and try and do something that actually can make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted to expand my comfort zone and try new and exciting things. I wanted to meet new people, make new friends and go on exciting new adventures.

All that and, y’know, buy DJ mixes of classic video game music.

The important shit.


Yuzo Koshiro
Bare Knuckle Legend Mix 
One of the first game music CDs I bought when I came to Japan for vacation last year was a copy of the Bare Knuckle II (AKA Streets of Rage II) soundtrack. It cost me nearly 50 bucks, but it was worth it, because that game’s music is, no doubt, some of the best music ever put on a cartridge. I want Yuzo Koshiro to score my life. I’m sure if he did it would be hella exciting, and feature 50% more dropkicks. And we all know dropkicks are the most dope kicks.

At least, I thought it was worth it, but that was because no one ever told me there was 4 CD VERSION WHAT THE FUCK.

Four CDs of Streets of Rage music. God. Damn. That’s my jogging soundtrack for the next month (that and the Pointer Sisters’ Break Out, did you know that’s one of the greatest albums of ll time, cuz it totally is). How do you fill up 4 CDs of music from Streets of Rage?

GOOD QUESTION allow me to answer it.

Not only does this set have the entire soundtrack to Streets Of Rage and Streets of Rage II for the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive), but it also includes, in their entirety, the complete soundtracks to the Game Gear versions of both games. That’s the kind of attention to completist overkill that I can really get behind.

The cherry on top is the fourth CD, which includes an exclusive DJ mix of the music from the series by Koshiro himself. That is what I’m sharing tonight. He apparently mixed this live at some game music club event in 2002. That’s incredible. Are game music DJ mixes a regular thing in Tokyo? If so, then fuck I’ve been going to the wrong clubs. I want to get my groove on to a non-stop Mega Man mix.

Wait, YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE GREAT? Gradius DJ mix. No, wait, a Darius DJ Mix. On second thought, no, that would just be too damn weird. On third (fourth? I’m tired) thought, I just want someone to do a DJ mix that combines all of the greatest game music of all time. Double Dragon, Tempest 2000, Shinobi, Afterburner, Pac-Man DX, you name it. Girl Talk that shit. Mash it up. That would be epic.

And they have to end it with Vib-Ribbon. Because there’s no time hurry up everything is so fantastic.

Transcontinental Remixes and Rarities

August 26th, 2014

Summer is almost over! Yay! Summer sucks. Summer especially sucks in Tokyo, when it’s been like 32c-35c (89-95f) EVERY GODDAMN DAY since July 1st. If you could bottle all the perspiration I’ve sweated out over the past two months then you’d have solved California’s water crisis.

And with that lovely mental picture in all your heads, here is some music.

Lene Lovich
Wonderland (New York Dance Mix Radio Edit)
Wonderland (London Dance Mix)
Wonderland (London Dance Mix Radio Edit)
Don’t ask for my opinion of Lene Lovich, I don’t even know how to pronounce her name. All I know about her is that she was on Stiff Records, so I of course own some of her stuff.

Sheena & The Rokkets
You May Dream
Radio Junk
Rocket Factory
Sheena & The Rokkets were yet another in a long line of Yellow Magic Orchestra protege acts that gained some degree of notoriety in their native Japan during the late 70s and early 80s.

Of all the YMO-associates they’re probably the most different – eschewing the cold, Kraftwerk-inspired aesthetic of their label mates for a far more new wave/punk rock style reminiscent of early Blondie. If you told me they played CBGB’s I wouldn’t be surprised (oh wait, they did).

Even though the group didn’t sound a lot like YMO, the synth-pop pioneers are all over their 1979 debut album Vacuum Pack. All three members of YMO are credited keyboard players on the LP, and each of them wrote a song for the album as well, which are the three I’m sharing tonight. “You May Dream” was written Haruomi Hosono; Yukihiro Takahashi wrote the upbeat and utterly amazing “Radio Junk” (which YMO would perform live) and Sakamoto-san composed the all-keyboards album closer “Rocket Factory.” It sounds absolutely nothing like anything else on the album, and I feel hesitant to even call it a Sheena & The Rokkets track, as it’s obviously a Sakamoto joint through and through.

I may share more Sheena & The Rokkets later, I really dig these guys.

Luscious Jackson
Ladyfingers (Refrigerator Box Remix)
Ladyfingers (Guaranteed Every Time Remix)
Ladyfingers (BD’s Smooth Finger Remix)
Ladyfingers (Smackit Remix)
I’m really glad that me moving to another country hasn’t stopped me from buying completely inessential singles from bands that I wasn’t that big a fan of in the first place.

I’m fairly certain that at least one of these remixes samples “Atomic Dog” though, so there’s that.

Reality vs Remixes

August 20th, 2014

Boy, the world is just a horrible shitty place full of horrible people that do shitty things to each other for no reason other than to be horrible and shitty. Sigh.

No. FUCK THAT. Hey overwhelming anxiety and depression, go to hell. I have obscure remixes of marginally successful songs from over a decade ago – so you can just go to hell with that bullshit.

I’m actually going to be writing something over at Mostly-Retro in the next few days about all the horribleness going on in the world (specifically Missouri, which has gotten even more horrible than it usually is), and how music is failing the world at the moment.

But until then, hey! I went to a big giant huge music festival in Japan last weekend and wrote about it! Check that out!

Franz Ferdinand
Do You Want To (Unknown Remix)
Do You Want To (Unknown Remix 2)
Mysterious remixes! Found these on a white label 12″ single that I bought for about 100 yen (a buck). Totally bootleg for sure, but definitely better than some legit remixes of Franz Ferdinand songs that I’ve heard in the past, I can tell you that much. I know nothing about these, so if anyone has any clue as to who the hell did these (probably no one of note, but you never know), please holler.

New Born (Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto Remix)
Sunburn (Timo Maas’ Sunstroke Remix)
Sunburn (Timo Maas’ Breakz Again Mix)
Whenever I hear “New Born” I think of a murderous lesbian with a concrete saw. So when I hear this dance remix by Paul Oakenfold I just think of a murderous lesbian with a concrete saw at a rave. Thanks movies, you always ruin everything.

Mythical Lands And Angry Giants

August 11th, 2014

This weekend I will be at Summer Sonic in Tokyo! I plan on seeing Babymetal, Suicidal Tendencies, Pharcyde, De La Soul, Akiko Yano, Boom Boom Satellites, and at the end of the last day MOTHERFUCKING KRAFTWERK.

So if you happen to be attending Summer Sonic and see me, come up and say hi. I’ll be easy to spot, I’m the insanely tall white dude. For reference, check out these eight YouTube videos where you can see the back of my head. 

Atlantis to Interzone (Nightmoves Remix)
Atlantis To Interzone (Digitalism’s Klix Klax R-R-Remix)
Atlantis To Interzone (Dave P and Adam Sparkles’ Festival Remix Extended Break)
This song simultaneously references the mythical city of Atlantis and the acid trip freakout works of William S. Burroughs, which must have been the Klaxons way of saying “we all have liberal arts degrees and do drugs.”

Rollins Band
Illumination (Illuminator Remix Edit)
Henry Rollins scares me. So Henry, if you’re out there and you find this post and you don’t like that I’m sharing this song, please tell me and I’ll delete them. You won’t need to fly to Tokyo and pound the living shit out of me.

I may be a big guy but I’m fragile.


Let’s Get Hopped Up On Goofballs And Listen to Trippy Music

August 4th, 2014

I did it! I updated my blog for five days a week every week for a whole month! Now I can finally go back to barely updating this thing.

Just kidding, don’t worry. Part of the reason for that exercise was for me to finally motivate my lazy ass into writing a bit about music again. I can’t believe I’ve in Japan for eight months now, and I just now am finally getting back into the groove of writing on a somewhat consistent basis. To be perfectly honest, a lot of that has less to do with me moving halfway across the world, and more to do with me having a full-time leave-my-house office job for the first time in eight years or so. That was way more a culture shock than moving to a foreign land let me tell you.

So my plan, barring another damn illness or mental breakdown, is to go back to my regular schedule of updating this site at least twice a week, and Mostly-Retro, the review site with no purpose nor readers (sob) at least once a week. Let’s see if that sticks.

Now lets get fucked up and go to a rave.

Gravity’s Rainbow (Van She Remix)
Gravity’s Rainbow (Nightmoves Remix)
Gravity’s Rainbow (To My Boy Remix)
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second through fourth greatest remixes of “Gravity’s Rainbow.” In case you were wondering, the greatest remix of this tune is the Soulwax Remix, which I am not including in tonight’s post because you can buy it on just about every digital music marketplace. And you fucking should buy it. That remix does shit that I’ve never heard any other remix do to a song. If I could frame that remix I would.

These are great too, but they’re the Gregg Allman to the Duane Allman of the Soulwax remix.

Oh, by the way, I reviewed that new Allman Brothers release over at Mostly-Retro, so go check that out.

Yes, I just segued a blog post about the Klaxons into a plug for an Allman Brothers review. I’m a great writer.

Come Together (Richard Fearless Mix)
Come Together (Two Lone Swordsmen Mix)
I remember one time seeing an album by Spiritualized forerunner Spacemen 3 entitled Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To. I feel that the sentiment of that title has continued to reverberate through all the reverb-filled music that Jason Pierce (former Spacemen 3 frontman and the man behind Spiritualized) has made ever since. The original version of “Come Together” is a fabulously trippy tune, and these remixes keep the acid freakout going, with distortion effects and random audio sample abound. Be careful with these ones, the might trigger a bad trip big time.


Suite Gradius Fantasia (It’s Sweet)

July 31st, 2014

In keeping with my “needlessly symphonic” theme… gradius Suite Gradius Fantasia
The Ancient Planet
Gradius Sonata
Return to The Planet
Perpetual Aria
Gradius Fantasia
Okay, so I’m not saying that the “Overture” to Gradius, redone with a full motherfucking symphonic orchestra (because why the hell not?) is one of the greatest pieces of music ever pressed to vinyl. I’m not saying that, okay?

But I am saying that it definitely, without question, kind of sort of holds its own to the symphonic version of the Airwolf theme – in as much as that I could totally see it as the theme song to an mid-80s sci-fi space drama. It’s certainly better than that bullshit theme music to the V series from 1984.

Anyways, I’m getting off topic, Suite Gradius Fantasia was released in 1988, near the tail-end of the big craze of game soundtracks in Japan. Now, don’t get me wrong, game soundtracks continued to be a pretty big deal over here, but in the mid-80s they were fucking huge. Countless games got full-fledged, prestige soundtrack releases, many times redone with full symphonies. And as I’ve mentioned before, many game publishers, both big and small, worked with game music label GMO to put out compilations featuring original and remade versions of themes from their most popular games.

The most well-known symphonic game scores of this time are most likely the Dragon’s Quest ones, but a lot of other games got the symphonic treatment as well- including Gradius. Although to be honest, this release really isn’t a proper symphonic album. Only two of the tracks (the Overture and the 10+ minute “Gradius Fantasia”) feature a proper full orchestra, the rest just feature a string quartet – but they’re also quite good.

I’m no maestro, I don’t know much about classical music, but I think this is a damn good album, one that can certainly hold its own against major movie soundtracks of the era. Hope you enjoy it too.

Now that I have these themes to Knight Rider and Airwolf I feel that I can do anything

July 29th, 2014

Somewhere, buried in a scrapbook, photo album or shoebox is a photo.

It is a photo of me at the (then) happiest moment of my life.

It is a photo of seven year old me in motherfucking K.I.T.T.

Goddamn that was a good day.

Man, remember when TV was awesome? TV used to be awesome. And I don’t mean bullshit critically acclaimed awesome of today’s TV. I mean talking cars, flying motorcycles, shapeshifting detectives, cyborg secret agents, electro-kinetic guitarists and Night Court.

What’s on TV now? Shitty sexist sitcoms, non-stop reality TV, and over-the-top exploitation garbage disguising itself as art.

Yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff out there I guess. TV shows with nuance, interesting, complex characters, dramatic tension, and amazing acting. But fuck that shit. When I turn on the TV, I want to escape from reality completely and without question. I want to be free of tension, depression, anxiety and sadness. I don’t want to be reminded of anything horrible, any of mankind’s ills, and of the horrible problems in the world. I want to see a man and a talking car fight crime. I want to see a helicopter take out…whoever the bad guys in Airwolf were (it’s been a while). And I want to see it without a hint of pretense, without any suggestion that the people behind the scenes are thinking for one second they are making art (which was the problem with Lost, Heroes, and just about any other “serious” sci-fi show of the past 15 years).

And I’m sure there are a lot of TV fans reading this right now thinking that I’m full of shit. Fine, maybe I am full of shit. Maybe you (and everyone else) was right and Breaking Bad was actually a great show; maybe Game of Thrones is actually a well-written fantasy that doesn’t bank on controversy and sexism to bring in the ratings; maybe the Big Bang Theory actually is funny (FUCK YOU NO IT’S NOT).

Maybe all that is true. But I’ll tell you one thing; none of those shows, not a single one, have a theme song as epic as the theme song to Airwolf.















The Japan Symphonic Orchestra/K.R. Right Project
Airwolf Theme 1
Knight Rider Theme 2
Knight Rider Theme 1
Knight Rider Theme 3
Airwolf Theme 3
Airwolf Theme 2
I fucking love Japan and stuff like this is why. An EP comprised entirely of cover versions of theme music from Knight Rider and Airwolf, two shows that had absolutely nothing in common, not even networks, aside from the fact that both had utterly amazing theme music (and completely radical vehicles as the title characters). Why release something like this? Because the Japanese know amazing music when they hear it.

The first track is an extended, very extended (eight minute!) symphonic take on the Airwolf theme. And yes, it is as unbelievably amazingly spectacularly stupendous as you think it is.

The other five tracks are primarily synthesized versions of the music from both TV shows, featuring elements from the series’ incidental music as well as the main themes.  They’re all amazing, but hey, when you lead with an eight minute symphonic version of the motherfucking Airwolf theme, other shit just seems weak in comparison.

By the way “K.K. Right Project” is actually Kenji Kawai, a Japanese composer who worked on about a billion different Patlabor projects.

I am exhausted. Here are remixes of RuPaul songs

July 28th, 2014

Sorry for another abbreviated post. It’s been a long few days (in the good way!) and I can barely keep my eyes open right now. Tomorrow’s post will be epic in both music and writing I promise you that.

A Shade Shady (Now Prance) (12″ Mix)
A Shade Shady (Now Prance) (Wild Pitch Mix)
A Shade Shady (Now Prance) (DJ Pierre Club Mix)
A Shade Shady (Now Prance) (Alternate Mix)
Back To My Roots (Secchi’s Extended Mix)
Snapshot (Eric Kupper Funkin’ Dub)
Snapshot (Eric Kupper Extended Mix)
Snapshot (Vission & Lorimer Disco-Tech)
Snapshot (Welcome’s Moody Mix)
You better work.

Yen Memorial Album

July 24th, 2014


I’ve written about Yen Records before, but in case you’re just joining us for the first time – Yen Records was a sub-label of Alfa Records, launched in the early-80s by Japanese electronic superstars Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).

The label pretty much became a clearinghouse for YMO to release music by their friends and colleagues. YMO members Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono often performed on many Yen releases, as did Ryuichi Sakamoto, albiet to a lesser extent.

In 1984, Yen Records founder Kunihiko Murai passed away, and this record is a tribute to him – featuring many exclusive tracks and remixes by a wide variety of Yen artists. It’s a great record, and an excellent summary of the Yen label. I hope you like it.

Yen Artists
God Be With Us Till We Meet Again
Platonic Stochastic
I don’t know who the “Yen Artists” are, but if the rest of this album’s tracklisting is any indication, I suspect that these tracks include all three members of YMO, Tachibana, Koji Ueno and Jun Togawa, among others. The first track is, I think, an adaptation of an old hymn, and it was written by Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono. The second is a very unusual, almost musique conrete, composition that was written by Ueno.

Yellow Magic Orchestra
Rydeen (Remix Version)
I own 27 different versions of “Rydeen,” so I’m fairly confident in saying that this remixed version is exclusive to this album. It’s not all that different than the original cut, it actually comes off more like a single edit with some really random sound effects thrown in, but goddamn if it isn’t a great piece of synthpop.

Hajime Tachibana
Rock (New Recording)
Previous Tachibana I unearthed featured him sounding like Art Of Noise. This has him sounding like Art of Noise meets 80s-electro era Herbie Hancock. Robot vocals! Sweet keyboard riffs! Sequencers! Loving every minute of this.

I bet Daft Punk have this track on vinyl.

Sandii & The Sunsetz
Sticky Music (Remix French Version)
I posted some Sandii stuff a few months back. I’ll probably be deleting those links in a day or so. So if you’re interested in them, check that post out.

Sandii is fucking great though and I love her. So expect more Sandii on Lost Turntable in the near future.

Maronie Dokuhon (Remix Version)
Guernica is Kenji Ueno and Jun Togawa. Seperately they released classical piano music, synthpop, prog rock and damn near everyting in between. Combined they sound like some bizarre fusion of opera, cabaret and YMO backing tracks. Like Klaus Nomi? You’ll probably like this.

Miharu Koshi
Petit Paradis (English Version)
One of the many idol-type singers who Haruomi collaborated with during the Yen years. I don’t know how popular she was during her peak, but she’s continued to be incredibly prolific, sometimes going through periods of releasing albums on a near annual basis. This is a cute song, very typical of the kind of stuff that Hosono was releasing with other artists at the time.

Inoyama Land
Pokala (Remix Version)
Inoyama Land were a duo comprised of Makoto Inoue and Yasushi Yamashita. In 1983 they put out their first album, Danzindan-Pojidon, on Yen Records. It’s a pretty great collection of ambient electronica, and if you dig Tangerine Dream, Diskjokke or The Orb, I think you might like it. It’s never been released on CD outside of the super-pricey Yen Box though, so it’s probably a bit hard to find. I’ll probably put it up here someday.

The group also has two other releases, both coming out years later in the late 90s. I think at least one is a compilation of unreleased material. Outside of Inoyama Land both Yamashita and Inoue were members of a group called Hikashu, one of the only Japanese synth-pop acts from the era who don’t seem to have any YMO connections.

Keiichi Ohta
Seean No Kodomoichiba (Remix Version)
This man only released one album, the utterly strange collaborative effort with no English title that is based on an obscure Japanese novel. This track is a remix of a song from that album, and features operatic vocals by Makito Hayashi, who never released anything on her own. The track was written by Keiichi, but was produced by Hosono and Takahashi, and features keys by Koji Ueno, practically making this a YMO track.

Koji Ueno
Adagietto (Remix Version)
Ueno is on so many tracks on this record that it’s nearly an Ueno LP. All this Ueno has left me wanting to know more about him, so I went digging on Discogs. Apparently this man is (or at least was) a goto studio player in Japan, and has appeared on dozens of albums, including many from YMO members and associates. From what I can gather, he’s an accomplished pianist, violinist and bass player – but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s an accomplished marimba, saxophone and flutist as well. Dude seems like the type.

This is a very mellow piece, unlike just about anything else on the album – classical almost. Very relaxing.

Yukihiro Takahashi
It’s Gonna Work Out (Remix Version)
This is a remixed version of a track that appears in its original version on Takahashi’s 1982 album What, Me Worry? Like pretty much all things Takahashi-related from the 80s, it’s pure gold. The more of Takahashi’s solo stuff I hear, the more I think he was the most talented pop musician in YMO. Sure Hosono and Sakamoto may be more technically gifted and diverse than Takahashi, but I’ve never heard pop music by either that’s as good as some of the stuff on Takahashi’s solo records. The man is incredible.

Super Eccentric Theater
Beat The Rap (Remix Version)
Super Eccentric Theater (Or S.E.T.) was a comedy troupe that was on Yen Records. I think I can hear Yukihiro on this track in the chorus.

This is their send-up of rap music.

It’s not funny.

Modern Living (Remix Version)
Testpattern released one album, 1982’s Apres-Midi, which I snagged a while back. I love it, even if they do sound a bit like YMO also-rans with a more mellow, easy-listening sound. This is a remixed version of a track from that album, and it’s better than the album version thanks to some nice added synths.

Jun Togawa
Do Not Renai (New Recording)
The singer of Guernica strikes again, this time with a nice synthpop ballad. This sounds like early Kate Bush. So those with a low tolerance for squeaky vocals may want to proceed with caution.

Hawks (Remix Version)
Interior put out a couple of records in the early 80s. I have one, and to be honest it’s nothing to write home about. Their instrumental tracks were okay, but whenever they tried to add vocals to the mix they just sounded bland and boring. This is an okay song, but nothing really memorable either.

Tamao Koeike
Kagami No Naka No Jugatsu (Remix Version)
The name may read Tamao Koeike in the LINER notes, but this is a YMO track. They wrote it, and they perform all the instrumentation on it. Koeike is just the singer. And she apparently didn’t really impress anyone at Yen Records, as the single for this track was the only thing she ever released. A shame, as it’s not a bad tune and she has a nice voice.

Haruomi Hosono
Yunemiru Yakusoko (Original Version)
Typical Hosono stuff from the 80s – meaning that it’s really damn good.