Japrocksampler: How the Post-War Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock ‘N’ Roll | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 1st, 2020  

Julian Cope

Japrocksampler: How the Post-War Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock ‘N’ Roll

Published by Bloomsbury UK

Nov 01, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

Julian Cope, Britain’s self-adorned “visionary rock musician and musicologist, hip archaeologist and one-time frontman of the Teardrop Explodes,” doesn’t write books for the laid-back music fan. In 1996, he published Krautrocksampler, a painstaking study of Germany’s largest musical gift to the modern world—1970s Krautrock. On Japrocksampler, Cope silences the critics that doused him with criticisms of being a hyperbolic hipster or not being historically thorough. The latter is certainly overcompensated by this 305-page text’s attention to historical context.

The juicy second half of the book follows the struggle between Japan’s oligarchic/anti-drug structures and the druggy music landscapes trawled by the “refuseniks.” Cope is an ardent music pundit and unlocks the language barrier as only an outsider can—through his turntable. To make any sense of this fascinating book, it is best to listen to some of Cope’s Top 50 Japanese Albums. Flower Travellin’ Band receives top honors.  

Cope’s descriptions of Japan’s rock music are delectably adroit and avoid most of the collector posturing or bookish scholarship that stalled his Krautrock musings. It’s sad that his Krautrocksampler is out of print, though. The Web 2.0 marketplace seems to not be interested in unusual “foreign” sounds anymore. Let’s hope that allegation is wrong.  (www.japrocksampler.com/japrocksampler)

Author rating: 8/10

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