Jesse Jarnow

excerpt from “osorezan” – geinoh yamashirogumi

“Osorezan” (excerpt) – Geinoh Yamashirogumi (download)
from Osorezan/Do No Kenbai (1976)

(file expires March 29th)

Searching for Jim O’Rourke’s Osorezan (soon to be “re”-released by Drag City, even though it was only issued in 2006 and only in Japan), I came across Osorezan by Geinoh Yamashirogumi. Labeled “1970s Japanese psych” or something, and translated as “ghost mountain,” I naturally stole it. The band, according to Wikipedia, “[consisted] of hundreds of people from all walks of life: journalists, doctors, engineers, students, businessmen,” which is tantalizing, but completely confusing. Likewise, the page’s description of the band’s “faithful re-creations of folk music from around the world” bears little or no resemblance to the music itself. At least as I hear it.

I downloaded it as two complete album sides, so I’m not sure where the song breaks are supposed to go, but these seven-and-a-half minutes slice out easily: a bassline, a building guitar solo, and chanting. The choir in the first minute portends something, and it’s not the fairly run-of-the-mill soloing that follows. Clearly, there is something lurking. As such, I like the way all the other elements slide back in, including — eventually — that choir. It’s these last two minute of chaos (give or take the cutsey/jambandy bassline) that are the payoff: a musical place unworldly just as much on its own terms as it is for the fact that it’s ’70s Japanese psych.

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