Archive for the ‘Logic System’ Category

Close Encounters of the Funk Kind

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Some random covers of the theme from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

Because I just somehow accumulated all of these by accident.

I know, I have weird problems.

Hideki Matsutake
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Hideki Matsutake is a genius so it’s not a surprise that his version of the theme takes the most liberties with it, using the technology available to him at the time to really expand and divert upon the original in interesting and fun ways. At times, all this version has in common with the original is the basic melody we all know, using that as a backdrop for some smooth funky jazz. If you removed it, the song would become entirely unrecognizable. Great instrumentation and sound effect choices on here as well.

Electoru Polyphonic Orchestra
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Oh boy, this thing.

So I bought this record on a whim. Mostly for the cover, but also for the tracklist, which includes some severely oddball selections like the themes to “Zero Population Growth,” “Barbarella” and the cult classic, “No Blade Of Grass.” Although that one is spelled as “No Blade of Glass” because English is hard.

Was it worth it? Eh, not really. Humor derived from the cover and poor translations aside, there isn’t much to enjoy here. The covers far too faithful to the original versions. Instead of using the electronic technology to branch out from the originals, I feel like this album goes for mimicry far too often.

There is a bit to like in this cover though, the weird wah-wah bassline at the end is groovy as fuck.

Toru Hatano
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Talked about Toru Hatano last year in my last Star Wars post, so I’m not going to repeat myself. I dig his cover of the theme, even if it’s not all that out-there when compared to some of the others. I really like the effects on the synthesizer in the last minute. Got some good space funk going on there.

Spectrum
Close Encounters
Spectrum was a late-70s/early-80s Japanese funk/disoc/soul/electronic act who released six damn albums in just three years. Most of their stuff that I’ve heard is by-the-numbers disco and funk, with a slight jazz influence. Nothing all that special.

However, their second 1979 album, In The Space, is something else. Half of the record is your standard jazzy pop-funk, but the other half is made up of funky disco covers of sci-fi movie themes. They got Star Wars on here (of course) as well as the above version of the Close Encounters theme, but there are some oddities thrown in as well. There’s the theme to War In Space, a third-rate Star Wars rip-off by Toho, and also a cover to the theme of Space Battleship Yamato. Because holy shit that thing was popular in Japan. A take on “Also Sprach Zarathustra” aka “That song from 2001” is here as well. The best of the bunch is their version of “Close Encounters” though, good disco bounce.

But that’s not the best thing about this album. No, the best thing about the album is the DOPE AS FUCK art inside the gatefold.

Squad goals.

Happy Halloween, Here are More Incredibly Strange Japanese Covers of Western Pop Music

Monday, October 31st, 2016

I hope you all had a happy Halloween weekend. I spent mine hobbled with a back injury. But don’t fret, it was not all tragedy. My boyfriend made me homemade salsa and taco salad while we watched Empire Of The Ants, the 1977 horror schlock featuring Joan Collins getting terrorized by an army of giant ants.

Also, I had prescription painkillers, so that was nice.

Ikkaku Tanabe
究極の選択 (Ultimate Decision)
This is a Japanese electro cover of Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.” But wait, it’s even weirder than it sounds.

The song is made up almost entirely of samples and other digital effects. Vocals are repeated and pitch-shifted to create melodies, while the bassline of “Frankenstein” plays behind them. Other random samples are thrown in too. I swear at about one minute and twenty-eight seconds in it samples a fraction of a second of vocals from “Heaven Is A Place On Earth.” Tell me I’m wrong I dare you.

The bizarre musical nature of the song was enough to make me fall in love with it, but I had to know if the all-Japanese lyrics were equally as batshit as the music it accompanies. Thankfully, my lovely boyfriend (who I love) went through the hassle of translating the lyrics.

And it turns out the song is as balls out crazy as it sounds. The lyrics are a continuous series of hypothetical no-win choices, many of which vulgar or disgusting in nature, hence the name “Ultimate Choice.” Read the translated lyrics below and see just what kind of decisions you’re being forced to make.

 

Wow! Which? Which? Ultimate decision!
I am Ikkaku Tanabe.
Life is a long, long thorny path.

Which? Which?
I am Ikkaku Tanabe, the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God!
Which would you eat – shit-tasted curry or curry-tasted shit?
When you brushed your teeth, which would you use – a tooth brush with shit tooth paste or…
The big reversed thrust of disgust it is!
What?! Me, darling? Disgusting!
Yeow!

Then, which will you eat, the tempura that yells at you when you try to pick it up with chopsticks or the steak that weeps when you try to cut it?

Which? Which? Well, this is surreal.
If I bumped into someone and he says, ‘Ouch! What the hell have you done to me?!’ then I might say, ‘All right then, I shall accept your challenge!’

Which? Which? I am Ikkaku Tanabe, the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God! Oh, I would like to have a bath!

Which would you do – plunge into an 80 degrees C hot bath from 10 meters or counting to 100 in a bath full of earthworms. One worm, two worms and… What? I’ve got a worm on my beard! Oh my God!

Which? Which? Ultimate decision! I am Ikkaku Tanabe.

Life is a long, long thorny path! I am Ikkaku Tanabe with a sad voice just like a melancholic violin. Which would you choose to marry – a woman who spends money like water or a woman who works you hard?

Which would you rather find out – your love is actually your father’s lover or that your mother used to be a man?

I could do nothing but sleep.

Which would you sleep on – a bed made with a pile of forks or a pee-soaked bed? Which? Hahahahaha!

If you sleep on forks for three years, you shall get used to it! Night night! Zzzzzzz! Still, forks hurt me.

Which? Which?

I am Ikkaku Tanabe, the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God!

Yup.

So who is Ikkaku Tanabe, AKA the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God?

Judging from this track, you might think he was some crazy performance artist or avant-garde musician. But actually he was a Japanese kodan performer. Kodan is a very traditional form of Japanese storytelling that dates back to the 1300s. While humor is a part of kodan, it is not stand-up comedy, which makes this, his sole foray into music, all the more bizarre.

I guess after all those years of talking about historical battles and samurais, the dude had a lot of shit humor built up in him.

Logic System
Classical Gas
Logic System is Hideki Matsutake, who worked on many of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s albums as a programmer. I really recommend his first two solo albums, Venus and Logic, they’re some of the best electronic music the early 80s had to offer. I also suggest you track down his 1979 album Digital Moon, which is entirely electronic covers of James Bond themes and it might be the greatest thing ever made.

Coming in a close second is this cover of “Classical Gas,” the 1968 instrumental by Mason Williams that you no doubt know even if you don’t know the name of it. Instead of going giving it a rather faithful electronic re-imagining, Matsutake starts out rather conventional and then goes off the fucking rails for an technopop explosion of synthesized keyboard and bass the likes of which you’ve never heard. This is so crazy it should’ve been the theme to a Darius boss battle.

The No Comments
Somebody To Love
If you ever wanted to hear a cover of “Somebody to Love” that sounds like it’s being sung by the bastard child of Nina Hagen and Kate Bush in a yodeling competition, then yo check it.

I don’t know much about this group, sadly. They released three albums in Japan only in the early 80s and then vanished. I  don’t even think their albums were even given a CD re-issue. They’re weird. Kind of funky I guess, but really more early new wave, like a polished X-Ray Spex or a rougher version of The Police.

Like I said, weird. If I can find more of their stuff or find out more about them I might share more later.