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Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, hip archaeologist and one time frontman of Teardrop Explodes, follows the runaway underground success of his book 'Krautrocksampler' with 'Japrocksampler', a cult deconstruction of Japanese rock music. Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, hip archaeologist and one time frontman of Teardrop Explodes, follows the runaway underground success of his book 'Krautrocksampler' with 'Japrocksampler', a cult deconstruction of Japanese rock music.


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Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, hip archaeologist and one time frontman of Teardrop Explodes, follows the runaway underground success of his book 'Krautrocksampler' with 'Japrocksampler', a cult deconstruction of Japanese rock music. Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, hip archaeologist and one time frontman of Teardrop Explodes, follows the runaway underground success of his book 'Krautrocksampler' with 'Japrocksampler', a cult deconstruction of Japanese rock music.

30 review for Japrocksampler: How the Post-War Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock 'n' Roll

  1. 4 out of 5

    David

    The first chapter is Yoko Ono's first husband emptying their cutlery drawer into a piano and bashing out some John Cage I-Ching freak beats while she records the flushing of the toilets. Meanwhile, artists are locking out the public and releasing a single cockroach on to the gallery floor. Then there's the Eleki Boom and all the young men are trying to be The Shadows. Absolutely no one's singing. Everyone goes mental when The Ventures tour. The Beatles are invented and Japan falls in love with Gro The first chapter is Yoko Ono's first husband emptying their cutlery drawer into a piano and bashing out some John Cage I-Ching freak beats while she records the flushing of the toilets. Meanwhile, artists are locking out the public and releasing a single cockroach on to the gallery floor. Then there's the Eleki Boom and all the young men are trying to be The Shadows. Absolutely no one's singing. Everyone goes mental when The Ventures tour. The Beatles are invented and Japan falls in love with Group Sounds: young men, suits, guitars, shaking your head and going "yeah, yeah, yeah". The Spiders, The Jaguars, The Tigers, The Cougars, The Lions ... the list goes on. The Lancers have a track called "I Know You Love Nuts About Him" which is cute. Everyone makes cheesy movies. It has to be said that Julian's rather rude at this point about the Group Sounds scene in general and Kenji 'Julie' Sawada of The Tigers in particular. "The Tigers' five years at the top of the Group Sounds scene had, however, only been sustained by Sawada's ruthless dedication to the sell-out, and this was by now the only route he knew." "that fey MOR clown Julie Sawada, whose career had risen higher with every cynical step he'd taken away from his rock'n'roll routes." "unlike media whores such as the Tigers' Julie Sawada who would dress and act in any manner that their management requested," ... Gosh! And old Julie is almost the only person I'd met before. He's Osamu in the "Kyoko's House" segment of "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc4_2W... After Group Sounds? "Hair" is coming! The brighter of the Group Sounds band members try to get parts. But then there's a drug bust and the whole production is closed down. Hippies throng Tokyo and those with a harder edge and notions of being folk guerillas go to Les Rallizes Denudes gigs, where you know something's gone wrong if a tune is discernible amongst the screaming feedback. Then their bassist and his Japanese Red Army chums hijack a plane and head to North Korea. Some of them are still there, poor things, and desperate for a life in a Japanese prison. New Rock emerges: festival bands, untitled tracks lasting for over 20 minutes. Very progressive and everyone dreaming that they, too, could one day support Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Canadian tour... This is the bit Julian was most interested in, and he gives us a chapter each on the Flower Travellin' Band, Speed, Glue and Shinki, and the Taj Mahal Travellers. After this, I have to admit to fading in/out. There was something about radical theatre music, jazz ... I listened to very many of Julian's recommendations on youtube and can tell you that I am now the proud owner of a secondhand copy of Flower Travellin' Band's "Satori".

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    Julian Cope, cult-like British rocker galore who can actually put sentences together and does it well has written a great book on 60's crazy Japanese rock n' roll. Something that is actually quite close to my heart. Now, silly me, I thought for sure Cope would write on the obvious (YMO) or on Hosono, Sakamoto, and maybe even the great and uber-fantastic Jun Togawa. But no! Cope comes up with crazy bands for instance like the Flowers Travellin' Band - which sounds so insanely fantastic I am going Julian Cope, cult-like British rocker galore who can actually put sentences together and does it well has written a great book on 60's crazy Japanese rock n' roll. Something that is actually quite close to my heart. Now, silly me, I thought for sure Cope would write on the obvious (YMO) or on Hosono, Sakamoto, and maybe even the great and uber-fantastic Jun Togawa. But no! Cope comes up with crazy bands for instance like the Flowers Travellin' Band - which sounds so insanely fantastic I am going to get their album right now. What makes this such a fantastic read is that Cope is really into it - and he has a good gasp on counter-culture Japanese aesthetics. He gives a bit of (fascinating) history of the Group Sounds movement in Commerical Japanese rock - and how that foundation was layed out for some of the 'out there' bands during the early 70's, late 60's. This is the ultimate record music lovin' nerd stuff - but Cope is such a delightful presence on these pages. Sort of like a grand host who takes you by the hand and just enjoys the reader's excitement with respect to exposing one to another world. I go to Japan often and for sure will take his recommendations seriously while record hunting in Shinjuku and Shibuya.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    more music historians should write with extreme predjudice, we might read their books.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hez

    Good if you like Japanese music/weird music. Prob unnecessary for everyone else.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Stevens

    This book serves as much more of a dry read on the history and personal stories of some very eccentric and at times righteous Japanese outsider rockers. However the color that Julian Cope brings to Head On, Repossessed, and Copendium is in somewhat shorter supply. I know he wants to treat these guys with the respect they deserve over just being his usual wacky self and honestly I wouldn't have known any of these bands without the book so I should just be quiet. This book serves as much more of a dry read on the history and personal stories of some very eccentric and at times righteous Japanese outsider rockers. However the color that Julian Cope brings to Head On, Repossessed, and Copendium is in somewhat shorter supply. I know he wants to treat these guys with the respect they deserve over just being his usual wacky self and honestly I wouldn't have known any of these bands without the book so I should just be quiet.

  6. 4 out of 5

    rob

    This is a great starting point for those curious about the now-defunct greats of the past, from Rallizes and their hikikomori frontman to Pepe and his howling stories about walking drugstores. Some have said that Cope's writing sits between tedium and masturbatory glee, and I tend to agree. Those who read Krautrocksampler will notice the many parallels Cope tries (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to make between the two alternative scenes, sometimes letting his own language trip him up. By This is a great starting point for those curious about the now-defunct greats of the past, from Rallizes and their hikikomori frontman to Pepe and his howling stories about walking drugstores. Some have said that Cope's writing sits between tedium and masturbatory glee, and I tend to agree. Those who read Krautrocksampler will notice the many parallels Cope tries (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to make between the two alternative scenes, sometimes letting his own language trip him up. By the time he said "sub-sub-sub-Cosmic Jokers" for the 4th time, I was thinking of all the drinking game rules that could be made about coping with long exposure to UV rays (staring at sun similar to reading this book) and the -ahem- "Ur-babel" of Cope's writing. It leaves nothing to be wanted on the solo, but the rhythm and factual beats are sometimes pushed back in the wall of sound that screaming about your favorite bands makes--fair enough, I guess. Something to be said of this fun, and you can see Cope's passion in his writing. Check out how you feel about these bands, then check the top 50 "mini-reviews" in the back, read one or two, and see if you'd like to dig further. Recommend the music HARDD--I just don't want to be blamed when your teardrop explodes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Postwar Japan soaked up western culture like a sponge. What it did with it after is the story of this book. We meet many Avant-Garde composers and artists (including a young, neurotic Yoko Ono before she met the famous John) as they work their butts off to get some recognition in the West, and particularly in the US. But as the music evolves, so does the realization by Japanese artists that they don't need the recognition as much as they need their own sounds. This book goes as deeply as I've ev Postwar Japan soaked up western culture like a sponge. What it did with it after is the story of this book. We meet many Avant-Garde composers and artists (including a young, neurotic Yoko Ono before she met the famous John) as they work their butts off to get some recognition in the West, and particularly in the US. But as the music evolves, so does the realization by Japanese artists that they don't need the recognition as much as they need their own sounds. This book goes as deeply as I've ever seen into how different cultures listen to music and emphasize different sounds, different energies and emotions, to create something entirely independent of the music that influenced it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Cope makes it clear that this is an idiosyncratic and personal take on a very narrow strip of music, and Japrocksampler is all the better for that. Unlike some of the music described, this is a breezy read, nothing erudite in like The Wire. It's also fairly episodic and the chapter on Experimental Japan (1961-69) is recommended for its efforts at piecing together a narrative while those chapters on Les Rallizes Denudes and Speed, Glue & Shinki are a must for the raw guffaws. Cope makes it clear that this is an idiosyncratic and personal take on a very narrow strip of music, and Japrocksampler is all the better for that. Unlike some of the music described, this is a breezy read, nothing erudite in like The Wire. It's also fairly episodic and the chapter on Experimental Japan (1961-69) is recommended for its efforts at piecing together a narrative while those chapters on Les Rallizes Denudes and Speed, Glue & Shinki are a must for the raw guffaws.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kid

    Not sure how Julian Cope managed to make the incredible music he categorizes dull but he does. I love his writing on Headheritage.com - you should check it out. This book is good as a reference for checking out crazy records - but as a read it's surprisingly tiresome. Not sure how Julian Cope managed to make the incredible music he categorizes dull but he does. I love his writing on Headheritage.com - you should check it out. This book is good as a reference for checking out crazy records - but as a read it's surprisingly tiresome.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hewes

    This book is dense, packed with bands and musical references that, for the first time initiate, are difficult to break into. but if you listen and read, taking time to digest each chapter and explore the discussed artists at a leisurely pace, this book is an absolute gold mine. it's part compendium part history part gonzo journalism and it's utterly brilliant. In particular Flower travelling band's "satori" has opened up a whole new vain of musical exploration for me. simultaneously revitalizing This book is dense, packed with bands and musical references that, for the first time initiate, are difficult to break into. but if you listen and read, taking time to digest each chapter and explore the discussed artists at a leisurely pace, this book is an absolute gold mine. it's part compendium part history part gonzo journalism and it's utterly brilliant. In particular Flower travelling band's "satori" has opened up a whole new vain of musical exploration for me. simultaneously revitalizing my interest in psychedelic rock and explaining how far eastern instruments like the biwa koto and shimasen link with modern rock & metal a link i've always felt but never found evidence for. Julian cope deconstructs these links though explorations of various Japanese experimental artists, theatre groups & producers to set the stage for the blooming of a particularly Japanese rock scene, mercifully weeding through the hundreds of cheap imitations and focusing on bands with high levels of originality and or execution. No doubt I'll be referring back to the book for several years to come as I slowly work my way through the musical maze of J-rock, jazz and experimental electronica.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pearce

    If you want recommendations for Japanese prog, hard rock & psychedelic records, this is a funny, idiosyncratic and generally entertaining read and you'll find yourself looking up youtube clips of the artists and albums within. If you want facts, look elsewhere - Cope has admitted that he made up a lot it up, including inventing some bands and creating fictional backstories for some of the real people involved. If you want recommendations for Japanese prog, hard rock & psychedelic records, this is a funny, idiosyncratic and generally entertaining read and you'll find yourself looking up youtube clips of the artists and albums within. If you want facts, look elsewhere - Cope has admitted that he made up a lot it up, including inventing some bands and creating fictional backstories for some of the real people involved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Corby Plumb

    Excellent reference to a scene that few knew little about until the Archdrude put in the major work as he did with Krautrocksampler. The chapters on major players like Flower Travelin Band and Les Rallizes are obviously essential but his attention to lesser known lights as J.A. Caesar, the Far East Family and Mako will lead many music listeners to search them out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Julian Cope's thoroughly researched and exhaustive history of post-war Japanese rock and roll music. Indispensable for anyone interested in finding out more about the Nipponese take on the music of the west. Julian Cope's thoroughly researched and exhaustive history of post-war Japanese rock and roll music. Indispensable for anyone interested in finding out more about the Nipponese take on the music of the west.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Recommended by a friend and I really wanted to learn about this topic. But the writing made me crazy so I put it down, intending to go back and finish. Alas, I don't actually think I will. It's time to admit it. Recommended by a friend and I really wanted to learn about this topic. But the writing made me crazy so I put it down, intending to go back and finish. Alas, I don't actually think I will. It's time to admit it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    A compulsively thorough, maniacally verbose work of extreme nerd-love... Just not MY nerd-love.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erik Carter

    found out about a bunch of cool bands, julian cope is a weird writer to be sure

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    absolutely audacious and stupid and exaggerated and fabricated and i wouldnt have it any other way group sounds forever baby

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jürgen De blonde

    Yes! That's what I think! Funny! Insightful! Clever! Rock 'n' Roll! Historical and hysterical! Full of names and bands to check out and when you done checking them out, you're life will never be the same, ever! Yes! That's what I think! Funny! Insightful! Clever! Rock 'n' Roll! Historical and hysterical! Full of names and bands to check out and when you done checking them out, you're life will never be the same, ever!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Neylan

    Just look at the cover: five Japanese longhairs hurtling along on motorbikes, stark naked. Admit it, you want this album, and you want it to be good. Having refused to revise or republish Krautrocksampler, Cope has turned his attention to the even more obscure Japanese music scene of the 60s and 70s. In fact, the discussion of the Japanese art scene of the early 60s is one of the more fascinating sections (I'm dying to recreate one of High Red Center's art events outside my house). Cope writes v Just look at the cover: five Japanese longhairs hurtling along on motorbikes, stark naked. Admit it, you want this album, and you want it to be good. Having refused to revise or republish Krautrocksampler, Cope has turned his attention to the even more obscure Japanese music scene of the 60s and 70s. In fact, the discussion of the Japanese art scene of the early 60s is one of the more fascinating sections (I'm dying to recreate one of High Red Center's art events outside my house). Cope writes very well, such that it's almost possible to keep a handle on the endless procession of unfamiliar Japanese musicians, none of whose names or music will be known to most readers. Describing music in prose is hard enough; I wonder how many readers will be enlightened by comparisons to "Masma, The Cosmic Jokers … and early Amon Düül". Cope's abstract descriptions are, strictly speaking, less informative but a lot more fun. Take Les Rallizes Dénudés, a band so underground that, 40 years into their career, they have yet to record their debut album (I'm not making this up and nor, I hope, is Cope): "This band has … delivered umpteen classic songs to our door, songs that our children's children will still be hiccupping, yelping and crooning in fifty years … Play albums such as F***ed Up and Naked in the darkness of your lonely room, and you will experience yourself being sucked up into the ether with ne'er a stain left of your former presence here." Given that his readers will have so few cultural reference points, Cope has done a remarkable job creating a book that is so informative and entertaining.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex V.

    I have been wanting to read this for years and boom, nearly special ordered it from Amazon UK and boom! there it was at the goddamn library, waiting for me to pick it up. This book is by and for the deep music nerd, not mere rockers but for those that believe there is a redemptive mysticism at play when certain people put on sunglasses and pick up guitars they can barely play; their souls knife through the fabric of everyday life. Julian Cope weaves tales of everyone from Frankie Avalon wannabes I have been wanting to read this for years and boom, nearly special ordered it from Amazon UK and boom! there it was at the goddamn library, waiting for me to pick it up. This book is by and for the deep music nerd, not mere rockers but for those that believe there is a redemptive mysticism at play when certain people put on sunglasses and pick up guitars they can barely play; their souls knife through the fabric of everyday life. Julian Cope weaves tales of everyone from Frankie Avalon wannabes to plane hijacking terrorists who all mainlined the speed used to rebuild Japan after it was blown apart at the end of World War II. Like Krautrocksampler, his similarly excited kaleidoscope of German music between psychedelia and punk, Cope will send a music nerd on a hunt for these mythic bands. If illegal downloading is not yr thing anymore, and you can;t swing record buying excursions to Japan, my advice is to peck every band name into YouTube; a lot of them show up. Get ready to find a new favorite band over and over again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimmo Sinivuori

    Cope continues his quest to educate us about the truly far-out fringes of Rock 'n' Roll that he started with the magisterial Krautrocksampler. Once again this is a top job. However, I can't give it the five stars that I awarded to the Krautrocksampler. The reason for that is that his subject this time is completely alien to me whereas I was aware, though not at all a connoisseur of the German Rock scene that Cope covers in his first sampler before I read the book. It meant that I could relate to Cope continues his quest to educate us about the truly far-out fringes of Rock 'n' Roll that he started with the magisterial Krautrocksampler. Once again this is a top job. However, I can't give it the five stars that I awarded to the Krautrocksampler. The reason for that is that his subject this time is completely alien to me whereas I was aware, though not at all a connoisseur of the German Rock scene that Cope covers in his first sampler before I read the book. It meant that I could relate to the subject matter and could, at the time, get hold of many of the records Cope covers in the book. That maybe a bit unfair as this sampler is equally entertaining as the first one but I had to make the distinction. Wonder where he will Head for the third sampler?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Interesting exploration of Japanese post war political, economic, and social history as context for the cross-pollination of Japanese and Western experimental music via jazz, rock and pop. Cope's tastes take priority, naturally, and the focus is on experimental and psychedelic music, with Japanese rock and pop almost dismissed as being superficial and slavishly copyist. He's kinder about jazz, particularly in the creative collaborations between German and Japanese composers, and I'm now aware of Interesting exploration of Japanese post war political, economic, and social history as context for the cross-pollination of Japanese and Western experimental music via jazz, rock and pop. Cope's tastes take priority, naturally, and the focus is on experimental and psychedelic music, with Japanese rock and pop almost dismissed as being superficial and slavishly copyist. He's kinder about jazz, particularly in the creative collaborations between German and Japanese composers, and I'm now aware of more Japanese and German jazz musicians from the 60s and 70s than I was before. Clearly a subject Cope is passionate about, the only niggles I have are with the poor spelling/subbing and the repetition of stories that involve multiple bands in each of those bands' biographies.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caligula

    Julian Cope writes with lots of enthusiasm and there are several funny parts, but I wouldn't recommend this book unless you really plan to start listening to the records mentioned here. It can be easy to get lost among all the names of these Japanese artists, and that makes the text a bit hard to follow sometimes. However, if you want to learn about the Japanese rock scene of the 60s and 70s this is a great starting point, and there's plenty of good music recommendations to keep you busy for a wh Julian Cope writes with lots of enthusiasm and there are several funny parts, but I wouldn't recommend this book unless you really plan to start listening to the records mentioned here. It can be easy to get lost among all the names of these Japanese artists, and that makes the text a bit hard to follow sometimes. However, if you want to learn about the Japanese rock scene of the 60s and 70s this is a great starting point, and there's plenty of good music recommendations to keep you busy for a while. More a reference book than a novel or a collection of stories.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I really dig reading Julian Cope. He reminds me in a way of Anthony Bourdain--his writing is natural, darkly funny, insightful, opinionated and totally entertaining. Like you are hanging out with a real friend--a really knowledgeable exciting and free spirited friend. I am a fan of the mysterious Les Rallizes Desnudes so I was excited to hear their story. I ended up getting turned on to so much great sounding stuff and just loved every minute of it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Definitely worth reading, but it's kind of an eccentric history by an eccentric guy. Wish there were more books on this subject, but it does go a long way to helping someone uninitiated understand what makes the Japanese rock tradition so unique. It's comprehensive and often insightful if somewhat Eurocentric. It got me into Les Rallizes Denudes and it made me want to read more Julian Cope in spite of myself. Definitely worth reading, but it's kind of an eccentric history by an eccentric guy. Wish there were more books on this subject, but it does go a long way to helping someone uninitiated understand what makes the Japanese rock tradition so unique. It's comprehensive and often insightful if somewhat Eurocentric. It got me into Les Rallizes Denudes and it made me want to read more Julian Cope in spite of myself.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    A very informative, but at the same time entertaining account of the Japanese post-war music scene and its leading figures. It's opinionated, but always enthusiastic. There are a few mistakes in the transcriptions of the Japanese names, but that's the only quibble. It introduces the reader to a lot of music that would have otherwise remained undiscovered. A very informative, but at the same time entertaining account of the Japanese post-war music scene and its leading figures. It's opinionated, but always enthusiastic. There are a few mistakes in the transcriptions of the Japanese names, but that's the only quibble. It introduces the reader to a lot of music that would have otherwise remained undiscovered.

  27. 4 out of 5

    C

    An exploration into the history of Japan's post-war avant-garde, rock, and jazz scenes. Julian Cope makes you want to seek out bands like Rallizes, Flower Traveling Band, and Speed Glue and Shinki. He makes them sound like psychopomps to a cult underworld while still writing an immensely readable history of the personalities and tensions involved. An exploration into the history of Japan's post-war avant-garde, rock, and jazz scenes. Julian Cope makes you want to seek out bands like Rallizes, Flower Traveling Band, and Speed Glue and Shinki. He makes them sound like psychopomps to a cult underworld while still writing an immensely readable history of the personalities and tensions involved.

  28. 5 out of 5

    christopher

    Really great if you are into the subject. Julian Cope's writing has improved a lot since Head On and Krautrocksampler and is a lot clearer and funier now. I learned a lot about Japanese psych rock, group sounds, eleki, and modern classical music from this. Lots of great stories here. Really great if you are into the subject. Julian Cope's writing has improved a lot since Head On and Krautrocksampler and is a lot clearer and funier now. I learned a lot about Japanese psych rock, group sounds, eleki, and modern classical music from this. Lots of great stories here.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    5 Stars because there aren't that many key texts on Japanese Rock music. It is well worth a read however, and Copey is pretty genuine in his love of all such things (see also Krautrocksampler, sadly out of print however). 5 Stars because there aren't that many key texts on Japanese Rock music. It is well worth a read however, and Copey is pretty genuine in his love of all such things (see also Krautrocksampler, sadly out of print however).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    Far too detailed and intense a book for me, I got a few chapters in and had to give up as it was just not holding my interest. I hadn't heard of a lot of the musicians mentioned and so didn't connect with them. Interesting to learn that Yoko Ono was married before she met John Lennon though :) Far too detailed and intense a book for me, I got a few chapters in and had to give up as it was just not holding my interest. I hadn't heard of a lot of the musicians mentioned and so didn't connect with them. Interesting to learn that Yoko Ono was married before she met John Lennon though :)

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