Toshiaki Yokota and Genshi Kyodotai - Primitive Community. 1971 Japan


Toshiaki Yokota and Genshi Kyodotai - Primitive Community. 1971 Toshiba

CD reissue: 2011 Think (Japan mini-LP)

Packaging notes: It was only a year ago that this album was a complete unknown - only whispered about in quiet dark corners. An album that costs as much as a down payment on a house. I was fortunate enough to obtain a CD-R copy from my friend Heavyrock, and presented what I believe to be the first ever expose about the album, on the CDRWL. This was followed by more coverage on the internet including Yokota himself - and less than a year later, we have a full blown reissue - in the mini-LP format no less! Think is Disc Union's new jazz oriented label, and they really opened with a whopper! This reissue alone is validation enough for me that the CDRWL was well worth the time to do. The review below is what I wrote last year (with slight variations). Also please see my review of "Flute Adventure" first. It's worth reading, just to give some slight background on Yokota himself.

Notes: Well... here it is. An album only whispered by a few in the know. A Knights Templar secret for the ages. Yesterday, I spoke of Heavyrock's amazing collection. This isn't one he owns. He had to buy a CD-R transfer from a Japanese dealer who was keeping it closely guarded. And it wasn't cheap. And this from someone he buys a lot from! But since the original sells for a few thousand, what are you going to do? Don't believe me? Well consider that a below average condition copy of "Flute Adventure" recently went for $1600 - and that's commonplace compared to this.

The most prominent member here is Yokota's constant electric guitar companion - Kimio Mizutani. Just the mere mention of Mizutani usually has heads like me scrambling for a listen. There's also a track listing... and it's all originals save one cover - a Beatles instrumental called 'Flying' from their Magical Mystery Tour album. The Beatles, of course, were not known for their instrumentals. A full dissertation on this song can be found here. It's important to note that there are almost no covers, as Yokota had a few pay-the-bills albums like "Exciting Flute" and "Young Young Flute" that are nothing but jazz flute renditions of Bacharach, Simon and Garfunkel, Blood Sweat & Tears, ad nauseum.

So now it's time to pull back the curtain, and display the contents....

I feel like I'm in a Steve Berry novel here...

"Toshiaki Yokota and Genshi Kyodotai" is at the meeting place of jazz and rock. That exciting time at the turn of the 1970 decade, long before what is commonly referred to as fusion, when the ambition of free jazz met with rock's exciting psychedelic nature. It wasn't important to display Berklee-trained chops, but rather it was about texture, atmosphere and creativity at its most radical. But fortunately it stops short of free jazz's reckless abandon - that point where it's just noise for the sake of noise. There is meaning to every note, instrument and pattern. As well, we get a peek-through-the-bushes look at a Japanese sacrificial ritual as described by the tribal drumming, Hammond organ shards, wordless monk chanting, Yokota's flute and Mizutani's acid fuzz guitar blazing a wah wah trail all to be one with Kami. And that's before we get to the Hare Krishna chorus. An album like this becomes mythical because it is mystical. It's in the same league of sixth dimensioners like Älgarnas Trädgård's "Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden", Lula Côrtes e Zé Ramalho's "Paêbirú" or Pierrot Lunaire's "Gudrun". If Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser had heard this band, they would have been signed to the Ohr label on the spot.

This album perfectly fits my idea of a "freaky underground album". No, it's not the greatest album of all time. Or even close. But it is the kind that you want to listen to over and over. Because it's fascinating and exhilarating.

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