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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Kamijo

By Bruce Miller
Published September 28, 2007

Martha
Shadoks

The German label Shadoks appears to be on the road to explicating the already unfathomable quagmire that is early ’70s Japanese psych and obscure pop/folk oddities. This, the first of Kamijo’s three early ’70s records, punches new holes in the singer/songwriter genre. Kamijo, who sings in English, is responsible for bucolic, naïve melodies that would have made Paul McCartney blush. Check this disc’s title track. The lead voice here is devoid of accent and husky, not unlike Dylan circa Desire (though Martha predates that album by 5 years), and on certain tracks there’s harmony accompaniment from band member Tetsuro Watabe. However, this album transcends the record collector proclivity for ogling all things Japanese, because here there’s nothing more Eastern than Western. This is simply a half hour of nearly forgotten songs, brilliant in their simplicity, whittled from the influences of the time and bound to make any music lover sigh.