Matty Fresh

I spotted a woman in a plaid jacket carrying a record store bag, walking along the opposite side of the street. If I could dash ahead and catch the green light, I could possibly intercept her at the crosswalk for a photo. I locked in on the plaid jacket, rounded the corner, bustled through the malaise of people crossing, got tripped up by a couple wheeling along a pair of suitcases. Wait, where’d plaid-jacket girl go? Search around. I lost her. Poof! Vanished. Dammit.

Momentarily defeated, I leaned again the street rail to lament, when out from the shop right in front of me, comes this brightly colored western character, rawking some Air Jordan I’s, a gold chain, and head-to-to RL swag carrying the same Disk Union bag that I had just lost in the crowd moments ago. “‘S’cuse me, got a sec?” I say. “Maaaaaaybe…”, he says, looking me up and down with some suspicion, “What for…?” “I’m a cameraman and record collector too, just started a project making photos of people with records. Did you just score some records? Whad’ya score and woula’ya wanna pose for a photo?” “Right right, cool cool, yeah man, sure.” he says with an Australian accent and a friendly smile. “I’m Matty Fresh.” “Nice to meet you, Matty. I’m Brian. Show me what records you scored!” …That’s how it started.

Matty introduced me to his pal Testu, who looked equally fresh in his Jordans and premium RL tracksuit and who I’d photograph actually later in this quickly becoming storied evening. Then he busted out this obscure soundtrack by Zero Zahyo – “0座標” from the hit television detective series Daitokai – 大都会 (“The Big City”/”Metropolis”) that depicted, quite realistically I’m told, violent crimes and mafia syndicates in the late ’70s, staring the action heroes and heartthrobs of a bygone movie eras, including and Tetsuya Watari and Yujiro Ishihara. I listened to the soundtrack and it’s funky as hell – think Kung-fu/Blaxploitation genres, like Shaft or Enter the Dragon, but Japanese and different, give it a listen.

Anyway, after a nice couple of shots, we went our ways. As I was walking away, I thought to myself “Dammit, that was too short, I shoulda chatted those dudes up more… I didn’t even catch what they did… Oh, well. Note to self: Go slower, Brian. Breathe. Bring it down a notch… subconscious dialogue: “Are you even ABLE to bring it down a notch?…”

As luck would have it, while I myself was later perusing the ¥100 7-inch singles at HMV down the road, there AGAIN, were Matty and Tetsu! “HEY! Long time no see! Fellas, I was just kicking myself for not asking a few more questions. What do you do, and whereabouts you livin’? What’s the rest of the story?” “Yeah, man! We live down in Kamakura, I’m a producer, make samples and beats, buy and sell records around the world, been here about 10 years. Come up here all the time…”

We went on to have a 15-minute chat about music, about collecting, about sampling, about discogs, about Japan being the record store mecca of the world, about Rick Rubin and a quote he said recently “I can’t own all the records, which bums me out, so I choose to own none,” and about how, although Japanese collectible pressings (like of the Beatles or the Stones), don’t always but, can sound inferior to US or UK pressings, collectors around the world STILL want the Japanese pressings, because they’re almost always in perfect condition, they have the exotic “Obi”, often additional inserts, better quality packaging, Japan-only gatefolds, and more, that, again despite being pressed from copies of originals, are, on-the-whole just all-around better for collections.

The only thing to add to my second meeting of Matty and Tetsu, which was both a relief and uplifting, is that it wouldn’t be the day’s last with them… Stay tuned for more.

O座標 – 「大都会」 闘いの日々 サウンド・トラック パートII
Label: Polydor – MR 7015
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: Japan
Released: Aug 1976
Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul, Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack, Jazz-Funk, Fusion

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