Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chinatsu Kuzuu - St. Agnes' Eve (1986)


CHINATSU KUZUU (葛生千夏)

St. Agnes' Eve (1986)


Tracklisting:

Side A

The Eve Of St. Agnes
Elaine The Fair


Side B

Isabella
Annabel Lee
Crossing The Bar


Released: 1986
Label: Sarusuberi
Catalogue number: SAR103
Format: 7" EP

Lenght: 09:26
Bitrate: 320 kbps

As a diversion from all the dark, twisted stuff recently (ha!) posted, I'd like to offer you, my dear readers, something a bit more serene this time around. Also, I would like to try and atone for the lack of female-fronted acts posted here on Habit Of Sex thusfar. So I give you Chinatsu Kuzuu's magnificent EP "St. Agne's Eve"!

As with the Shinobu 8" flexi posted earlier, this is also something that I've only just recently managed to lay my grubby little hands on and which I cannot resist an uncontrollabel urge to share with all of you. Unlike the case of the Shinobu flexi, my first hearing of "St. Agnes' Eve" turned out to be dissapointing - not really due to the music, but rather since it turned out to be something quite different from what I'd imagined it to be.

A little bit more than a year ago I saw this floating around eBay under the guise of being a rare minimal synth record. Just the thought of what kinds of obscure, analogue bleeps and bloops that could be contained within such a package as "St. Agnes' Eve" (I mean, just look at the cover!) really got my salivary glands going. But the gods could naturally not let this kind of silly coveting go unpunished, so the auction was lost to a collector with a larger wallet than me. So imagine my delight when I managed to score a copy of my very own the other week for a measly 300 yen. And imagine my surprise when I put this record on and what my ears were greeted by. Although minimal in execution and employing synthesizers; the music on "St. Agnes' Eve" is far removed from what one thinks of when hearing the term minimal synth.

Well then, just what is on this disc exactly? All right, get ready for this - musical adaptions of poems by 19th century luminaries Keats, Tennyson and Poe. Whats that? Sounds dull? Well yeah, it should ...but it doesn't! Aside from Chinatsu Kuzuus most impressive, Nico-esque vocal performance (with an almost flawless English accent!) the tunes are steeped in a deeply evocative, ethereal atmosphere.

Reviewing individual tracks is a bit pointless since they are more or less identical in structure, feel and quality - this is a record that should be taken in as a whole. Nevertheless, were I to choose a stand-out track I'd go with opening track "The Eve Of St. Agnes" - a momentous organ-led adaptation of the first stanza from John Keats famous poem; loaded with mysticism and blissful melancholy. Elsewhere, we are treated to the hypnotic raindrop-soundscapes of "Elaine The Fair" and the strangely upbeat gothic love song "Annabel Lee". Good stuff!

Apart from this record, Chinatsu Kuzuu previously release another 7" on the Sarusuberi label ("The Lady of Shallot") in 1985. She later went on to a long and varied career as a composer and singer. Strangely enough, she seems to have been involved in Chu Ishikawas soundtrack to Tetsuo in one way or another.

Until next time; here's hoping you'll all find this disc as enjoyable as I do. For those who don't - rest assured that we'll soon be right back on track with some choice demented, acid post-punk insanity.

16 comments:

carddass said...

Speaking of female fronted acts. Any chance of posting kokushoku elegy's discography CD? I heard one track by them from a Trans label LP and I've been searching ever since for work by them. Amazon.com has an overpriced used one for $150~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9sA-7al4H0&feature=related

nattliga_toner said...

Sorry, haven't got it. From what I've understood its quite rare, although I agree that 150 bucks is a bit overpriced.

The only thing I've got by Kokushoku Elegy is their track off of the Only You Collection cassette (http://www.discogs.com/Various-Only-You-Collection/release/2072684), but unfortunately I don't have the means to rip cassettes at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic EP!! Thank you very much for sharing. More women please!! :)

Isabelle

Ikebukuro said...

Exelent!! tanks!!!! greates disc!!

blaine said...

very interesting. i recently purchased a 7" single with this band. same style and "covers" of western poetry, among others Poe's "the raven"!

nattliga_toner said...

@ blaine: Nice! Did you get the one that was up for auction on eBay just recently? I was thinking about placing a bid on that one, but decided against it since I was flat-out broke at the moment.

Blaine said...

jodå, herr nattliga toner. i got the one on ebay, listened to it yesterday and its even better than this one. the Poe-cover was fantastic!

nattliga_toner said...

So I finally managed to grab a copy of "The Lady of Shallot" for myself.

I must say that I was a bit underwhelmed by it, but the Poe tune is indeed fantastic! Perhaps a couple of more spins is required for me to warm up to the other tracks.

Anonymous said...

Kokushoku Elegy - Esoderic Mania :
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=WV4RF1YT

MadoShi said...

It's not work:( please reupload

Anonymous said...

Would appreciate a re-upload a lot. ♥

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear this!

nattliga_toner said...

Reuploaded (finally!)

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