Various Artists

Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990

Light In The Attic LITA 167 LP
  • 3LP: Tip-on jackets inside slipcase, poster, liner notes, 2 bonus tracks
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Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series continues with Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990, an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyo ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.

In the 1970s, the concepts of Brian Eno’s “ambient” and Erik Satie’s “furniture music” began to take hold in the minds of artists and musicians around Tokyo. Emerging fields like soundscape design and architectural acoustics opened up new ways in which sound and music could be consumed. For artists like Yoshimura, Ojima and Ashikawa, these ideas became the foundation for their musical works, which were heard not only on records and in live performances, but also within public and private spaces where they intermingled with the sounds and environments of everyday life. The bubble economy of 1980s Japan also had a hand in the advancement of kankyo ongaku. In an attempt to cultivate an image of sophisticated lifestyle, corporations with expendable income bankrolled various art and music initiatives, which opened up new and unorthodox ways in which artists could integrate their avant-garde musical forms into everyday life: in-store music for Muji, promo LP for a Sanyo AC unit, a Seiko watch advert, among others that can be heard in this collection.

Kankyo Ongaku is expertly compiled by Spencer Doran (Visible Cloaks) who, with a series of revelatory mixtapes as well as his label Empire of Signs (Music For Nine Postcards), has been instrumental in shepherding interest in this music outside of Japan. Together with Light In The Attic’s celebrated anthologies I Am The Center and The Microcosm, Kankyo Ongaku helps to broaden our understanding of this quietly profound music, regardless of the environment in which it’s heard.

Various Artists: Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990

Still Space Satoshi Ashikawa 30''
Glass Chattering Yoshio Ojima 30''
Nemureru Yoru (Karaoke version) Hideki Matsutake 30''
Islander Joe Hisaishi 30''
Ear Dreamin Yoshiaki Ochi 30''
Variation III Masashi Kitamura + Phonogenix 30''
Park Interior 30''
Nube Yoichiro Yoshikawa 30''
Meet Me In The Sheep Meadow Yoshio Suzuki 30''
Ishiura (Abridged) Toshi Tsuchitori 30''
Tomoshibi (Abridged) Shiho Yabuki 30''
Chaconne Toshifumi Hinata 30''
Seiko 3 Yasuaki Shimizu 30''
Apple Star Inoyama Land 30''
Blink Hiroshi Yoshimura 30''
See The Light (Abridged) Fumio Miyashita 30''
Praying For Mother / Earth (part 1) Akira Ito 30''
Breathing New Life Jun Fukamachi 30''
Snow Takashi Toyoda 30''
Loom Yellow Magic Orchestra 29''
A Dream Sails Out To Sea: Scene 3 Takashi Kokubo 30''
Umi No Sunatsubu Masahiro Sugaya 30''
Original BGM Haruomi Hosono 30''

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