Thursday, June 11, 2015


  • Year: 1977
  • Genre/Style: Psychedelic Japanese folk
  • Standout Tracks: Alhambra No Aoi Bin, Aoi Glass-Dama, Tsuuro

My mother has a habit of telling me about my grandmother’s signature perfume back in her day. Tabu a sensual, overpowering and realm-creating perfume which is rightfully titled for how olfactorily inappropriate it can be at times (Jean Carles, the creator was tasked with creating “un parfum de puta”). This parfum de puta fills every crevice with musky tendrils and turns a room into a smoke-filled club accentuated with laid back mid-tempo tunes.

Yoshiko Sai’s “Taije No Yume” (which translates to Dream of a Fetus) works similarly in this context. A garden of perfumed sound which (like a club) operate in the time between moonlight and the balmy light of dawn. Emphasis on perfumed as Yoshiko’s band employs rich eastern folk instrumentation to evoke atmospheric gardens of sensuality. Yoshiko’s voice positively croooons over the tracks like exhaled pollen carried on a breeze; musky but light. I came across this quote which sums this all up quite nicely –
“The secrets inside her mind are like flowers in a garden at nighttime, filling the darkness with perfume.”- Fumiko Enchi
Track #2 “Alhambra No Aoi Bin” which makes its presence short at 2:09, is blissfully laced with crystalline harps and tender strings. Track #7 “Aoi Glass-Dama” has a magnificent peak midway where the strings rise into the air (in a Joe Hisaishi on the Nausicaa soundtrack fashion) and merges with some absolutely virulent synths that bubble into sounds from a embryonic fetal soundscape (Dream of a Fetus anyone?). Last on my standout list is track #8 “Tsuuro” the moonlit after-the-crowd-at-the-club-leaves track that treads into lazy samba territory, as its peppered with light percussion and piano stirrings.

Aside from working on her singer/songwriter projects, Yoshiko Sai creates her own amazing artwork which doubles as her album art!

(Mikko 1976)

(Taklamakan 2008)

Taiji No Yume


  • Year: 1999
  • Genre/Style: Russian Neo-folk
  • Standouts: Ptak Łowczy, Koło Lasu, Co To Za Pora?

The first in my series of #RareGems! Kytytsi, by Svitlana Niano, A range of the pastoral and dreamlike mysticism of the Ukraine. Svitlana highlights folk arrangements with melodic and esoteric analog synths to create a picture for the pastoral fantasy genre. Settling in somewhere between the countryside affection of Vashti Bunyan’s voice and the isolated melancholy of Sibylle Baier, Svitlana’s voice lilts around with tenderness. 

Some of the later songs (like Trzęsienie Ziemi) do away with the singing-by-the-campfire folk fare, and instead take on eerie music box melodies backed by strings + electric piano. There are the occasional brassy harmonium and flute on this album as well! The livelier sounds dispel the eeriness of the above mentioned tracks and bring us back to the center of some quaint Ukrainian village.

Listening to a 16 track album can be a drag and filler tracks are a pain. However the tracks on this album all contribute to the soundscape of the land it was recorded in. A picture of the foggy European mysticism from the past that imaginably borders in on rural farm-life.