Ché-SHIZU: A Journey 2LP
Black Editions present the first ever vinyl release of Ché-SHIZU's signature album A Journey, originally issued in 1994 by Tokyo's legendary P.S.F. Records. Ché-SHIZU is one of the most original and mystifying groups to ever emerge from the Tokyo underground. Founded by master improviser Chie Mukai in 1981 the group has been guided by her singular vision for nearly 40 years.
Throughout its history Ché-SHIZU has challenged traditional notions of song structure and improvisation. Mukai's signature instrument, the Chinese er-hu, is an ancient two stringed bowed instrument rarely found outside of traditional music. Even within the wildly diverse roster of artists on P.S.F. Records, Ché-SHIZU is a playful and confounding outlier.
Early on Mukai became active within the avant-garde movement flowering in Tokyo during the mid-1970s. She studied with renowned Fluxus composer and violinist Takehisa Kosugi, recalling, "that encounter was so huge for me, much more than any one technique. Even in terms of the er-hu, I only started playing it because Kosugi gave it to me." In 1975 she joined his East Bionic Symphonia, a large improvising ensemble featuring students from Tokyo's Bigakko art school. From there she contributed to improvising avant-garde groups including an early version of Marginal Consort and later the Vedda Music Workshop. Her work with Ché-SHIZU however is where her vision most clearly emerged. Ché-SHIZU released its first album I Can't Promise in 1984 on Zero Records, in time the album would become a revered classic. It would be another ten years before another full-length would be released. During that time the group performed extensively with various rotating line ups. In the summer of 1994, Mukai led the group to Studio J in Tokyo to record an album for the P.S.F. label. Released later that year, the album was titled A Journey. Fittingly, it is a sprawling excursion through ethereal dreamscapes, the group confident in its own resplendent joy.
Over the album, the group creates a spontaneous, loose form of chamber pop that weaves folk and a light psychedelia into something entirely unique. Pop songs like "Juso Station" intersect with instrumentals such as the title track to create a varied yet coherent improvisational language. Remastered; deluxe double-LP edition cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin and pressed at Pallas Germany. Includes new expansive artwork and lyric translations, housed in a spot gloss heavy gatefold jacket; Includes high resolution digital download.