|Delinquent Girl Boss : Worthless To Confess (1971)|
I've decided to change the pace a little and put some Japanese soundtrack music up for your listening pleasure. I've recently been getting some excellent 60's- 70's, mostly Nikkatsu New Action / Pinky Violence soundtracks which vary between Japanese garage/psyche with bands like The Mops and The Spiders, but also some really funky library style soundtrack music with big brass, meandering guitars and some big beats (Sukeban Guerrilla being a great example for instance).
This one is more of a grandiose theme rather than a funky segue and has moments where it really should have ended up on a Tarantino soundtrack (in fact I think he used a Toshiaki Tsushima track in Kill Bill 1)
And yes, I suspect that M-22 is the title. It's very hard to find titles for this stuff.
Japanese record labels have been issuing Italian soundtracks and compilations for several years. But, until recently, the availability of Japanese cult soundtracks has been scant at best. Thankfully, the Hotwax Trax compilations from Ultra Vybe subsidiary Solid Records are making a serious dent in the demand for Japsloitation movie music.
With home video companies like Criterion and Panikhouse releasing DVDs of Japanese cult flicks of the '60s and '70s it only makes sense that a record label would come forward with a series of soundtrack comps. Hotwax Trax accounts for some of the most notorious yakusa crime and "pinky" sexploitation films of the era. With music ranging from early rock to jazz to lounge to folk to psychedelia and funk, these discs offer a full gamut of listening pleasure.
That's the good news.
About half of the tracks have Japanese vocals, and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing the complete lack of song title and lyric translations are likely to leave some listeners humming along but also scratching their heads. Sure the melodies are usually catchy, but wouldn't it be great to know what they're singing about? One can assume that the lyrics reflect the seedy subject matter of the films, but without the proof it's difficult to appreciate their celebration or lamentation of life in the underworld. That said, if you can listen to Bollywood songs without getting held up by the language these Japsloitation tunes shouldn't pose a problem.
For some listeners the instrumentals will be more enjoyable. Hearing the Japanese take on rock 'n' roll and crime jazz can be a giddy pleasure. Still, it would be a stretch to say that they do anything innovative with the forms. We're not talking about hybrid cars or lean manufacturing processes — areas where the Japanese are famously innovative. Clearly, when it comes to popular music forms, they're copying what they've heard in American and European films, and merely doing a competent job of it. There's novelty in it to be sure, but repeated listens may leave more descerning listeners wanting something more inventive — like Bollywood's often kaleidoscopic take on the same western genres.
Just as the listening experience is a mixed pleasure, so is the packaging. Most of the CDs come with surprisingly large, luridly colorful movie poster reproductions. And the CD inserts contain numerous provocative movie images. The problem is all of the text on these inserts is in Japanese with no translation. So, artist names, tracklists and movie info generally are a mystery. Unless one reads Japanese or knows someone who can, the only way one can learn anything about these releases is to use Google's automatic translator when visiting the Web pages associated with them. But even then, the translations are approximate at best — often laughably so. With so many European soundtrack releases having English-translated liner notes it's frustrating that Solid Records didn't consider it a priority — especially considering the vast number of Japsloitation movie fans in America and Europe.
While the Hotwax Trax CDs are exciting additions to any cult soundtrack collection, ScoreBaby can only give a cautious recommendation to non-Japanese listeners, especially in light of their import prices.
The above text was taken from the Score, Baby! website