Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973

The best compilations peel back the curtain, offering a glimpse at obscured musical traditions, and leave the listener wanting more. No matter what kept American ears from hearing the varied music featured on Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 in the first place — distance, distribution, or general unknowing -- the new collection from Light in the Attic introduces a wide breadth of transcendent and sublime musicians. As an introduction and primer to the genres it addresses, Even a Tree leaves a listener clamoring for more from its host of artists. As a master-mixtape, it creates an aesthete and palette that lends itself to repeated listens. And as a historical document exploring a single five-year period, it elicits near-non-stop supplemental web searches, deep dives and YouTube k-holes.

What the compilation is not, is exhaustive. And it is better for it. The biographical and contextual write-ups that accompany each song provide ample information. It also delicately finds a balance between honoring and extolling the featured artists, but not so much as to infer that these were the only artists of the time, or as if they were the only ones worth hearing. The history of the period is learned not through an exhaustive essay (though Yosuke Kitazawa’s serves as an illuminative introduction to both the comp and period as a whole), but through the songs themselves, contextualized within the various scenes across Japan which the artists were reared in.

Kazuhiko Kato :: Arthur Hakase No Jinriki Hikouki

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