This was a happy surprise for me when I came back from a meeting this afternoon. A package from Japan, I had not expect this since I only made the payment last Monday. This made my dreary week! Looks like it is going to be a great year for records. although I have decided to ease out on buying field recordings like this and open up my pallette of music again as evidenced by my resuscitating my blog on 45s: http://kid45rpm.wordpress.com/
I stumbled upon this particular record on the mail order site Tiliqua records. This is what the owner Johan has to say regarding the Ni Hon No Horogei series and this box set in particular.
NI HON NO HOROGEI 7 LP BOX: (Victor – SJX-2051~7-M) (7 LP set: all mint/ heavy textured cloth bound box: Mint/Outer Box Carton Obi: Excellent/ Detailed and Fully Illustrated 60+ paged Booklet: Near Mint) Staggering aural document spread over a seven LP set, housed in a thicker than life cloth bound heavy textured box set. This copy comes complete with the outer box OBI and the heavy detailed book. Staggering aural document spread over a seven LP set, housed in a thicker than life cloth bound heavy textured box set that also houses a 60 paged detailed booklet filled with a massive amount of archival pictures. Released in 1971. A real sub-cultural freak show is not to be found in cosmopolitan urban jungles but instead is buried deep within the hinterland of agricultural hamlets and rural corner towns where 20th century civilization has not yet deposited its poisoned all consuming Westernized germs. This aural document documents a Japan that is now almost completely extinct. The bulk of the recordings was made after the end of WWII and takes you behind closed sliding doors of farmers homes where local priest perform exorcism rites to secure a good harvest, guides you past circus freak show theatres were midgets, snake charmers, monkey jugglers, old toothless lady non-syllabic ramblings that sound like a trance inducing mantra and other depraved outcasts of society are put on display, ghost-callers who communicated with the world of the spirits through song and shamisen strummings. The box is filled with rural oddities, shamanistic induced music recordings, spoken word intersections, filed recordings and so much more. This was the real underground Japan, a sonic slab of historical recordings that you didn’t even knew existed in the first place. This box (one in a series of 6) was released in 1971 and mainly sold to libraries and other governmental institutions. It had no commercial potential whatsoever so it is not surprising that copies barely made it on the streets. Here you have a stone cold mint copy of such a set, a 7 LP box filled with voices from a distant and long gone past. Extremely rare, especially in such pristine condition and with OUTER OBI BOX intact and the booklet present. One of the best ethnological releases ever!!
Pretty intense description, so a fire was lit inside me to eventually find/ file and listen to these records. I immediately emailed him regarding the prices. Unfortunately the prices there are gastronomic for my budget and top that off with the expensive shipping and you have a recipe for unattainable and impractical purchase. So I opted for alternative means, I got into contact a few record collectors that were also forum members on where I picked up almost everything regarding field recordings. They were based in Japan or were previously in Japan to ask for help in acquiring this artifact.
One of them replied this october having found this box set in one of the second hand bookshops in Japan. We worked out the price and the shipping, then I started saving up. It was not that cheap but it was a great price for such an elaborate set.
The moment I opened up the packaging, I was surprised by the carton box cover which serves as the ‘Obi’ for this particular release.
Then the individual records in they’re own red sleeves beautifully filed inside the box together with the 50 page liner notes. And although I am not able to read the contents I can follow the recordings through the images.
Record 1- Deals with ceremonial music.
Record 2- Explores the aural world of musicians in traditional music
Record 3- Teachers and oral declamation
Record 4- Rice Field Music and Rural Musician
Record 5- Poets
Record 6- Freakshow and Street Performers
Record 7- Festivities and the performers and musicians that frequent them.
In each recording it is appended and reinforced by a narrator to explain the document. Unfortunately this are all in Japan, but this further heightens and prepares you from the transitions of the sound presented.
I am now just soaking up in all of this and I am terribly pleased. Hope to pick up the other 5 box sets in the series.