When I went to Japan to buy all the records, I wasn’t just buying for myself, I do have friends after all. One of said friends is a pretty big Shonen Knife fan, so I made it a goal to pick up an LP or two by the group while I was there.
Turns out that Shonen Knife vinyl is pretty damned hard to find in Japan. They’re not the most popular group in the country by any means, but their records are kind of like David Bowie or Pink Floyd albums are here; the people who buy them don’t sell them back.
In all my shopping across the great city of Tokyo, in all the dozens of stores I explored and all the hundreds of crates I dug through, I was only able to find one Shonen Knife LP, Super Mix. By the time I found it I was nearing the end of my trip, so I pretty much just bought it without paying attention to what it really was. I was just happy to finally find a record by them.
Turns out it’s a remix LP. That’s fine for me (I don’t know if ya’ll noticed, but I like remixes), but my friend is decidedly not an electronic dance music fan. She’s a rawker. So while I think she appreciates the sentiment, this one is more of a cool little souvenir for her than an album she’s going to spin again anytime soon. Thankfully I also found some weird Pearl Jam bootlegs when I was in Japan as well (at a Tower Records no less!) so at least she got something rad to listen to.
As for the Shonen Knife album, I hope you all enjoy it more than she does.
Much like the Lupin albums I posted earlier this month, I’m going to list this one track by track, with some information on the remixers (when available).
Shonen Knife (Remix by Keigo Oyamada)
Oyamada is better known as Cornelius, a very influential electronic musician whose career has spanned nearly 20 years now. He wrote music for the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and he done remixes for artists such as Yellow Magic Orchestra and Yoko Ono.
He also named himself after a character from Planet Of The Apes and did the same to his son, Milo. So I think it’s safe to say that he is…moderately weird. Also, if this remix is any indication, he’s also pretty great.
Parrot Polynesia (Remix by Keiichi Sokabe)
While not as crazy prolific as Cornelius, Sokabe is a dude who also gets around it would seem. He was in an influential 90s Japanese rock group called Sunny Day Service, and since then he’s released a few solo records, collaborated with other musicians and even started his own record label. You can find out more about him here. This is his only credited remix on Discogs, which is a shame. This is a great re-working of a great track, he transforms it entirely into a pretty hectic and frantic drum and bass track to surprising effect. Love this.
Cannibal Papaya (Remix by Thurston Moore)
Fucking Thurston Moore…
Okay, look, I really like Thurston Moore. How couldn’t I? Sonic Youth? Awesome. Daydream Nation? Top five album of the 80s.
All that being said, Moore is a pioneering musician in the genre of noise, experimental and no wave rock music, three genres that don’t exactly leap to my mind when I think “remix.”
Now, to his credit, I haven’t heard many remixes by Moore, the only that come to mind are this one and a remix of Blur’s “Essex Dogs” that appeared on their 2CD set Bustin’ + Dronin.’ Maybe he knows he’s a dogshit remixer and tries not to take that much remix work. Or maybe everyone else realized he was a dogshit remixer and they stopped giving him remix work. Regardless, he’s a dogshit remixer.
No doubt he was given the chance to do this mix simply because he was always a vocal proponent of Shonen Knife, and was in no small part responsible for them getting a record deal in the states. That’s awesome of him. And I’m glad he did it. But him doing this remix as a sign of respect for the group would be like you showing this blog to your friends and me thanking you by breaking your legs. Urgh.
Tortoise Brand (Remix by Shonen Knife)
If you don’t know who Shonen Knife is then I don’t know how you got this far into this blog post. This is a cute mix.
Elephant Pao Pao (Remix by Takkyu Ishino)
Takkyu Ishino is the lead singer of Denki Groove, an incredibly prolific Japanese dance/pop group who sound like the lovechild of YMO, Kraftwerk, and half the music that came out in the 1980s. I found out about them through this remix and now I really want to hear more of their music. Everything I’ve checked out on YouTube has been great. This is also a great remix, very glitch and trippy.
Insect Collector (Remix by Ryuichi Sakamoto)
If you read this blog on a semi-regular basis then you should know who Ryuichi Sakamoto is. I’ve talked about him before (several times over in fact). Not surprisingly, this is the best remix on the album. It’s very reminiscent of YMO’s more recent stuff, minimal with a hint of dance flavor behind it.
Burning Farm/Banana Leaf (Remix by Moichi Kuwahara)
I couldn’t find much on this person. Apparently he/she is in Snakeman Show, the comedy group who appear on a few YMO releases. In addition to that, Kuwahara is also credited on Discogs as a producer of a few YMO cover records, and as a remixer on a YMO remix album. After that I got nothing. Anyone who knows anything else, please fill me in.
Cool remix though, very ambient.
Twist Barbie (Remix by Roger Manning)
Roger Manning’s full name is Roger Jospeh Manning Jr., I know this because I actually own some of this dude’s music. First and foremost, he was in Jellyfish, a power-pop band from the 90s that has a crazy cult following. From there, he formed The Moog Cookbook, a covers act who played pop songs on the Moog. I have one of their records (it’s alright). Then in 2000 he teamed up with film composer Brian Reitzell to create a soundtrack to an imaginary sequel to Logan’s Run called Logan’s Sanctuary. I have that record (it’s quite weird).
Since then he’s put out three solo albums, the latest coming in 2009. Since power pop is bigger in Japan than it is in the states, I’m going to assume that his work in Jellyfish got him this remix. It’s a good mix, although he really doesn’t do much to it aside from adding some various vocal and sound effects. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it I guess.