Record Review: Dr. Jan Guru – “Planet Japan” Limited CD-R [pt. 2]

Jansongs | HK | CD-R | 2021 | MRC K1014

[…continued from last post]

The almost instrumental “Psychedelic Geisha” as aptly named as the trippy, yet deliriously happy nugget of technopop featured only spoken words from guest vocalist Mia Dambron in addition to the tapes and effects from Hoppy Kamiyama. The rest is down to the busy hands of Mr. Linton on guitars and eBow, synths, drum machine, samples and answering machine. The net effect sees this track rubbing shoulders with classic Bill Nelson instros like “May Your Dream of Perfect Beauty Come True,” or “Another Happy Thought [Carved Forever In Your Cortex].” Fortunately, it’s longer than either of those.

One of the most arresting songs here was “Revelation.” Which in another universe would have been an early 70s Soul ballad. The watery organ patches on the keys screamed 1971, and the [subtle] wah wah guitar hailed from not much later as Linton sang the tender, emotional ballad. But he made the radical creative decision to merge this vibe with a driving, motorik rhythm track that sounded like a relentless, martial beat on Simmons pads patched with some pink noise. In other words, imagine William DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got” …as remixed by Front 424! Don’t believe me? Sample below! I want more creative thought like this in my musical world.

It was followed by another ballad given a massive dose of paradox in “Raining Tomorrow [parts 1 + 2].” The first half of the song was a melancholy ballad with a shuffle beat. Nothing radical, but a downshift of energy in the arc of the album. Then the instrumental part two moved the number into darker, more complex territory that sounded like it could have been a deep cut on King Crimson’s “Starless + Bible Black!” And the Frippy tone of the closing guitar solo in the coda nailed it to the wall.

The closing song here was atypical for this program as “Lose Yourself With Me” was the track here that really sounded like a band playing together instead of being a studio construct. Masami Tsuchiya led on guitar and eBow with Linton sticking to atmospheric keys and synths. Minol [who also drummed on “Psychotic Tokyo”] played them here and guest star John Taylor of Duran fame played the basses very distinctly. But at the end of the day this was Tsuchiya’s show as he wove a captivating spell with guitar and eBow.

I was very glad that Linton made the effort to license this album for modern ears. To hear him tackle a fusion of Rock and Pop with the Electronica of the era is to realize that this album would sit very comfortably with efforts like Apollo 440’s “Electro Glide in Blue” or Bowie’s “Earthling.” The bait for me was his cover of “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” but all of it except the “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” cover works like a charm for me since at the end of the day, a Beatles song is still a Beatles song; no matter how radical its new threads. Linton’s own songs were well served by his arrangements which made some radical juxtapositions of the kind that would excited me me 18 years ago yet still excite me now.

If this sounds like its in your wheelhouse as well, then make haste to Linton’s Bandcamp page and grab one of the remaining CD-Rs of the full album which are only $14.50 to get the full album. There’s also a four track DL EP of the two covers and “Revelation” and “Lose Yourself With Me” for the budget constrained that’s only $4.00… but really, you should outlay for the full album. Only 30 copies were licensed and ten are accounted for on the Bandcamp page. The shipping from Hong Kong was not a deal breaker. DJ hit that button.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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