Crossing paths in NishiOgikubo with Tsuburai pictured here was a lucky chance. Here is a guy, no doubt, steeped in musical knowledge and whose tastes coincided with mine quite clearly but still like a Tokyo super expressway overpass interchange where there are highways are overpassing, underpassing, intersecting and outersecting with eachother. We had a nice exchange on the street where he told me that besides loving music, he also produces events, and projects, another thing we shared in common but because he had another place to be at that moment, he generously gave me what little time he had for these cool photos, rocking some nice digs, a cool Sony camera, with that full-body leather cover that I feel you only ever see in Japan reminiscent of the 70s or 80’s and that nicely matched his jacket, books, scarf, and glasses, not to mention the tightly-knit navy cardigan, bottom two fashionably unfastened buttons or the different vinyl store bags. Tsuburai told me to follow up with him via text, which he actually forthcomingly did, and rather than butcher his comprehensive yet succinct answer to my rambling stream of somewhat standard questions: “Yeah, tell me anything: What music do you love? How did you got into records? Why record and not streaming? What kind of stereo setup do you have? What you think of record store culture in Japan? What kind of events do you host?”, I’ll offer it in full (translated from Japanese) below …with a few more comments to follow it:

“During my high school years, I developed an interest in the Beat Generation, reading works by Beatniks like Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. As a teenager, I primarily listened to popular Japanese pop music. However, I also enjoyed Western music, including The Beatles, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, and Rage Against the Machine. In my student days, I began listening to YMO and, inspired by Haruomi Hosono, delved into Japanese folk and rock music from the 60s and 70s, such as Happy End, Apryl Fool, Brain Police, Kazuki Tomokawa, and Kan Mikami. Simultaneously, I developed interests in Japanese free jazz and German rock, avidly digging for records in these genres. At 20, while a student, I encountered a fateful record store in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, that specialized in psychedelic, progressive rock, free jazz, and contemporary music. After moving to Tokyo, I started attending live shows about 100 days a year and became interested in organizing live events myself. I had the opportunity to work as staff for visiting artists, including The Artaud Beats, formed by Chris Cutler, Geoff Leigh, John Greaves, and Yumi Hara, and volunteered for “you me & us” featuring Yumi Hara, Chris Cutler (Henry Cow, Art Bears), and Daevid Allen (GONG, ex.SOFT MACHINE). Meeting Daevid Allen, a key figure in Canterbury music, was a fortunate experience; he even nicknamed me “Super John.” Currently, I am planning live events, mainly focusing on free jazz, including shows by Sabu Toyozumi and Akira Sakata.”

When I read this message from Tsuburai, I almost thought I could have written myself, at least the first half with mention of Beats Kerouac, Burroughs, then the Beatles, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Rage, and even YMO, Hosono, Happy End, Apryl Fool, and on to psychedelic, progressive rock, free jazz, and contemporary music! What piqued my interest more “encounter[ing] a fateful record store in Sendai” in Tsuburai’s 20’s – that evoked a feeling I can really relate to. He also mentioned a handful of artists who I either didn’t know or only knew really by name, one being Soft Machine, the artist with whom he decided to pose with for this TRS photo. Sure, I “know” Soft Machine but I’ve never really take taken the dive, and when I went looking for this record “Triple Echo” on streaming, only to find it doesn’t exist there, I thought I would first listen to their most recent record, from 2023, and both to my delighted surprise and also to my “Hmmm, that tracks…” feeling (by the way, the slightly of grey hairs peeking from Tsuburai’s head made him all the most trustable and relatable), I freaking genuinely LOVED what I was hearing in a “Soft Machine, where you been all my life?” But it was really when I went from 2023 to 1968 and listened to their self titled debut, and their 1970 release THIRD, that I was thinking, “Soft Machine is the next album I am buying, I LOVE THIS!!” It’s like a British early Dead crossed with The Mothers, with a bit of Can sprinkled in. Killer bands that went immediately to the top of my wish list. I really owe a thank you Tsuburai, for turning me onto The Soft Machine! What a gift that will keep on giving!

Looking forward to digging into some of these other artists you mentioned, but not as much as I’m looking forward to the next time I run into you at the record store. Thanks so much for sharing your limited time and your overflowing passion for music! See you around!

More TRS on the way!

Soft Machine – Triple Echo
Label: Harvest – SHTW 800, Harvest – OC 153-99 090/1/2
Format: 3 x Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Stereo, Mono, Box Set
Country: UK
Released: Mar 1977
Genre: Jazz, Rock
Style: Jazz-Rock, Prog Rock

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One thought on “Tsuburai

  1. In Tsuburai’s own words:

    高校時代にBeat Generationに興味を持ちました。ジャック・ケルアック、バロウズといったビート二クスを読んでました。
    ex(はっぴいえんど、APRYL FOOL、頭脳警察、友川かずき、三上寛)
    Chris Cutler, Geoff Leigh, John Greaves, Yumi Haraで結成されたThe Artaud Beatsのライブツアースタッフをしました。
    you me & us(Yumi Hara,Chris Cutler(Henry Cow, Art Bears), Daevid Allen(GONG ex.SOFT MACHINE)のボランティアスタッフもしました。
    Daevid Allenはカンタベリーミュージックの重要人物で、会えたことが幸運でした。
    Daevid Allenから”スーパージョン”というニックネームで私は呼ばれています。

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