Stunning 4x CD reissue of this legendary work by Ichiyanagi. Beautifully designed box including four discs and print-works.
Born in 1933 in Kobe, Japan, Toshi Ichiyanagi studied composition with Kishio Hirao and John Cage, and piano with Chieko Hara, Barnhard Weiser and Beveridge Webster. After attending the Julliard School of Music and the New School for Social Research in New York between 1954-60, he returned to Japan in 1961, and introduced many new musical concepts, including Cage’s idea of indeterminacy, exerting a strong influence on the direction of Japanese contemporary music.
As one of the leading composers in Japan, Ichiyanagi has composed in most genres of music: operas, orchestral, chamber and instrumental works. Among his major works are his Violin Concerto “Circulating Scenery” (1983), Piano Concerto No.2 “Winter Portrait” (1987) and Opera “Momo” (1995), based on a novel by Michael Ende. While composing these large-scale pieces, he also became known for his compositions using Japanese traditional instruments such as sho and gagaku ensemble. Many of them have been performed throughout the world, especially by the Tokyo International Music Ensemble – an organization where he serves as Artistic Director.
Ichiyanagi won the Elizabeth A. Coolidge Prize (1954) and the Serge Koussevitzky Prize (1956) during his studies in New York. He was also a member of Fluxus. Since his return to Japan, he has received numerous awards including the prestigious Nakajima Kenzo Award (1984), the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Government (1985) and Grand Prix of the Kyoto Music Award (1989). In 1990, he was awarded the Otaka Prize for the fourth time, for his unique symphony “Berlin Renshi”.
His recent works include “Coexistence” for ondes martenot and orchestra (1996), Symphony No.5 “Time Perspective”(1997), “Coexistence” for orchestra (1997) and “Mirage” for shakuhachi and piano (1998). Ichiyanagi was married to Yoko Ono from 1956 to 1963.
Review of the Vinyl version:
“one of Japan’s most in demand and ultimate great psych meets avant-garde dementia artifacts. Forget all the rest, this is IT. Without a single doubtone of the greatest mind-blowing psych and Fluxus artifacts to ever have hitthe streets. Housed in lavishly designed 2LP foldout jacket, this gorgeousdisc is one of the rarest and most sought after Japanese psychedelic, avant-garde artifacts, a real art object art, revitalizing one of Japan’s best ever psychedelic avant-garde head-on collisions. Released in 1969 on the private End Records and now one of Japan’s most sought after vinyl artifacts, ‘Opera from the Works of Tadanori Yokoo by Toshi Ichiyanagi’ is a brain ripper and an eye popper of a disc. Visually it is without a single doubt one of the most beautiful LPs ever to be released, a 2 LP picture disc decorated lavishly by Tadanori Yokoo’s Fluxus inspired psychedelic artwork. Upon folding open the disc, you get treated to a 4 paged inner booklet of 24 carefully designed postcards depicting posters done by Tadanori up until 1969 for various theatre troupes such as Terayama Shuji’s Tenjosajiki. In short it is a visual delight that will cause temporary dysfunctional catharsis on the eyes. But apart from the visual grandeur and overload you are bound to be hit senseless with, the music embedded withinthis LP set and accompanying picture discs is so overwhelming you will havea hard time trying to come to terms with it upon attempting to digest it properly. In one word: sensory nimiety on all fronts. The man responsible for it was avant-garde composer Ichiyanagi forging a diabolical pact withthe psyched-out band the Flowers (spearheaded by Uchida Yuya) and illustrator Tadanori. Together they delivered (with the help of other luminary artists coming out of various fields such as Kara Juro, Takakura Ken as the most prolific ones) an unique amalgamated mixture of lysergic demented psychedelic assault-like stunt rock, a aural whirlwind filled with acid folk ramblings, tape collages, field recording excerpts, radio commercial snippets, roaring jet engines, electronic music excursions into the vast unexcavated canyons and dungeons of your mind, squealing sound fragments of frogs mating in a nearby pond, drowned out enka escapades, kayokyoku excursions into no mans land, Takakura Ken nasal singing, spokenword fragmentation bombs by Kara Juro amongst others, traffic noises, sonic sound clusters of blistering fuzzed out psychedelic mayhem, stratospheric static electronic hissing, radio news broadcast flashes, vintage electronic tape music escapades, chirping cricket orchestras in a distant background and so much more non-adaptive and deranged sonic activity. This disc leaves no stone unturned and is probably one of the best records ever made. Upon listening to this, you hardly need anything else anymore. Highest Recommendation. Rare as hell does not even come close to describing the scarceness of this 2 LP picture disc set and then I am not even mentioning the visual splendor of the overall packaging music and museum piece qualities all folded up into one single item, the dream artifact of everyself-respecting lover of outward sounds and collective deranged discs highest rank of collectibility and musical demented splendor a killer on all fronts that no other disc can match”