Malin and Bastian

Vertigo! Jaws! Dolly Zoom! I just finally “got”  the “sound” of “Group Sounds!”

There was a short 3 or 4-month window of time in the spring of 2004, between the moment that Japan was whimsically put as an unexpected destination on my upcoming-that-summer sojourn to Asia… (after a travel agent who was booking my tickets to Nepal’s Himalaya asked me “How about a stop in Japan? You’ll be flying to Kathmandu via Tokyo and Bangkok?” “Japan?!” I replied, “Hmm… Why not? Sure!”) …and the moment of time when I called my parents from San Francisco Airport to say “Ok, I’m off to Asia for a while”, us both knowing in our hearts that I might never come back, which is exactly what happened, when knowing very little about Japan, knowing very few people who had been, not really having any idea what to expect, that I suddenly (and just temporarily) lost interest in the Himalaya and put all my curiosity on the Land of the Rising Sun. Yes, the Internet existed, but Google only had been around a few years, and there were no smartphones. What little information I had the bandwidth to acquire that spring (which was also the semester I graduated from the University of Colorado (about 4 years late!) was mostly gathered as anecdotes from the very few people that I knew who had been, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, and finally the microscopic Japanese vinyl section at my local record shop where, among the few copies of Japanese records I scored was a recently-released compilation titled “Japanese Groupsound” which featured the 5,6,7,8s, the only band I had heard of (from Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”) …who I would eventually go on to meet and photograph in Tokyo. 

That compilation was good but honestly not great, but what I just realized NOW, in my vertigo moment, is that the album is just a TRIBUTE to the beloved and very real and established genre of music “Group sounds” [グループ・サウンズ] the Japanese rock music from in the mid-1960s that fused “Kayōkyoku” and Western Rock that arose following the Beatles Budokan performance in ‘66. My Group Sound record was only a modern-day TRIBUTE to the real thing that Malin and Bastian, pictured here, finally helped me to realize.

Today I made the connection to the REAL Japanese “Group Sound” in this truly shredding selection offered up by these lovebirds and newlyweds on their Honeymoon to Japan from Cologne, Germany, again Malin and Bastian. Not only was their infectiously good attitude super effervescent, but they were super knowledgeable about Europe’s record-collecting culture on the whole. Also, after Malin explained that she was originally from Sweden, I told her of my “Peterson” Swedish roots – that’s when Bastian chimed in with “Peterson with an -s-o-n, that confirms your Swedish and not Danish or Norwegian,” a tidbit that I gather he’d gained from Malin. I grew up hearing this to be true but had never actually confirmed it for myself. Even though I do know my actual distant Swedish Peterson relatives, hearing the “-s-o-n theory” confirmed on the streets, somehow makes it, like my Group Sounds discovery, more real. 

Speaking of “real deals”… here is the realist thing I have mentioned yet in this post (and sorry it took me so long to get to it) – Let me finally acknowledge what we have all been thinking as soon as we laid eyes on this sharply-dressed duo; that they, possibly more than all their predecessors photographed for this series, are putting the “Style” in “Tokyo Record Style.” DESHO!?

Thanks, you two! (and Kiwi Dean too coming up on the next post)! Hope you have an amazing Honeymoon in Japan! More TRS on the way! 

ザ・ジャガーズ [The Jaguars ]– ダンシング・ロンリー ・ナイト [Dancing Lonely Night] / 若いあした [Young Tomorrow]
Label: Philips – FS-1024
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single
Country: Japan
Released:Oct 3, 1967
Genre: Rock, Pop
Style: Group Sounds, Pop Rock

The Edwards – クライ・クライ・クライ
Label: Capitol Records – CP-1018, Ultra-Vybe – 17SUV-0001
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single, Reissue
Country: Japan
Released: 2005
Genre: Rock
Style: Group Sounds

Chou A La Creme (Cream Puff)) = ザ・シュークリーム – 恋の五ヶ条 = Love Technic No. 5
Label: Columbia – P-130
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single, Stereo
Country: Japan
Released: Jun 1971
Genre: Pop
Style: Schlager

ザ・ラヴ [The Love] – イカルスの星 [Icarus No Hoshi]
Label: Express – EP-1137
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single
Country: Japan
Released: Mar 10, 1969
Genre: Rock, Pop
Style: Group Sounds, Beat

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