last modified Aug 21 2010

ASTRO & SUZUKI JUNZO-Cosmic Blues Experience (plunk's plan/JPN/CD/2006)

1.Crack Star [19:48]
2.Galactic Joy [08:27]
3.Tumbling Dream [18:43]

CD-15.00 USD

Hiroshi Hasegawa:Synthesizer,Tambura Machine
Suzuki Junzo:Electric Guitar

All Tracks
Composed by Hiroshi Hasegawa/Suzuki Junzo
Recorded and Mixed at Atelier Himawari during september 2006
Produced By Iwao Yamazaki
Art Directed By Yamato Sekiguchi(OHPIA/Cosmic Dew/Astral Traveling Unity)
Cover Art-Blue Orb Hallucination

Cover Photograph:
ASTRO+Suzuki Junzo with OHPIA feat Reiko.A @ UFO CLUB JPN Aug 27 2006 shoot by Takeshi Minemoto

Release Date:October 18 2006


Legendary C.C.C.C.'s leader Hiroshi Hasegawa aka ASTRO & Tokyo Underground Scene's Trouble maker Suzuki Junzo are get together as Duo. They played 2 years long with EAMS Synthi & Electric guitar, Sometime They Play Incredibly loud with Trembling Tape Echo Sound, Sometime meditational atomosphere. Two Cores of Astral traveling unity.

Beautiful deep-space hymns to free-falling oblivion from Hiroshi Hasegawa (CCCC et al) on synthesizer and tambura machine and electric guitarist Suzuki Junko. Junko's guitar adds some particularly elegiac acid moves to this gorgeous set, with huge blooms of reverb, the sound of pulsing analog starfields reduced to tiny smudges of light, stinging acid guitar and gorgeous harmonic arcs of drone aligning it with earlier investigations of endless psychedelic madrigal like Nijiumu's Era Of Sad Wings and Makoto Kawabata's Inui project. Also features Iwao Yamazaki on percussion. The second track title, "Galactic Joy", just about sums it up with a blast of overdriven Haino-esque guitar ridden to oblivion. Comes packaged in a slim-line DVD-style case with colour artwork. The best Astro set to date and highly recommended.
(Volcanic Toungue Scotland UK)

With every other band in Japan fighting for supremacy on the psychedelic bandwagon, another act has jumped into the game. Guitarist Suzuki Junzo strikes out with two releases on his newly formed Plunk's Plan label. Each one is more psychedelic than the next.
Astro is actually synth player Hiroshi Hasegawa. Together with Suzuki Junzo, they've formed a band, logically called Astro & Suzuki Junzo. Spread over three long pieces, their sole reason for existence is a deeper exploration of the drone. These guys jump at the chance to ramble on long motifs that are as emasculating as they are calm. Great thing about the drone I find, is that no matter what volume the music is played at, the music retains a stunning and calm quality about it. On "Tumbling Dream" Hasegawa lays down a jolting synth bed, while Junzo feeds his partner healthy doses of controlled feedback. As I listen to these guys variations on the drone, I can think of only one place - the space. Much of this stuff sounds so barren and absolutely life-less, the air seems to be sucked out of your ears as the music progresses. Modulations that Hasegawa uses are particularly interesting. Throughout the longish "Crack Star" [a pun on "Dark Star" perhaps?], he tests the waters with a crystalline, trickling analysis of his synth's prowess. As rough as the sounds tend to get at certain points, the duo prefers to speak to each other in subdued tones, rather than to let things rip at maximum volumes with wild abandon. If you like most things My Cat is an Alien have done over the last several years, I'm sure you'll love this. "Cosmic Blues Experience" is another serious contender in the space-age musical game.
(Tom Sekowski/Gaz-Eta Links- http://www.gaz-eta.vivo.pl/gaz-eta/recenzje/gazeta.php?nr=54&id=s_14)


suppose you could write several books about Blues music. There are probably as many ways to approach the topic as there are authors who are willing to try. You could do a history lesson and start with Africa . You'd probably follow that line through the introduction of those two great nation nullifying forces; Slavery and Christianity. The music that resulted from this meeting was a blend of African call and response mixed in with Church music and then shaped by the dislocation of the Slave trade. From what we know of the time the music was a mixed bag of field hollers, work songs and early gospel music. From there it's just a hop, skip and secularizing jump to Blues proper and then onward to the various regional flavors and styles. So that's one approach. Another might be to examine the development of those various regional styles and what made them unique and who were the major personalities involved. I suppose another approach might be to consider the social and emotional impact Blues music had on it's generating and target culture, namely; Southern rural Black people. This approach would examine lyric content for signs of the concerns and psyche of the audience and performers. So, what does all of this mean? Does having several hundred books examining Blues music really get us any closer to the true deal? By knowing the history of a given phenomena I suppose we gain some vicarious experience and perspective but I would put forth that to truly get under the skin of the Blues you need to go deeper. I'm not going to argue Black and White issues here. I'm a white guy looking on a culture that isn't my own. So with that being said I'd still like to put forth my insight as to what gives the Blues at least a part of its vital heart. It's what I'll call "The Plaint".

The Plaint is a notion that underlies so many artistic endeavors that it can be oddly invisible at times. The plaint's more visible cousin is something that surrounds us daily; the COMPLAINT. While a complaint is mundane, the plaint is elevated. The Book of Psalms is one Plaint after another. Most forms of protest are based on a plaint one group has with some established norm or rule. The essence of a plaint is a deep longing of the heart for something or other. It could be a woman. It could be health. It could be spiritual freedom or a release from the bondage of poverty. Like the old song says, "It could be spoonful of coffee. It could be a spoonful of gold..". Whatever the plaint is about it is deeply felt and wished for. Given this small piece of the inner core of what makes the Blues the Blues, we can pull back our focus and consider other music in this light. Given that the phrase, "The Blues" is mainly concerned with people shouting out their particular lament I suppose it is fair to consider Astro and Suzuki Junzo's new CD, "Cosmic Blues Experience" as a real Blues release.

There are no 3 chord, 12 bar stompers here. You won't hear anyone talking about the crossroads, gambling, love gone wrong or booze. All of the trappings of Blues music are absent here. What fills in the void they leave is a scorching, white-hot lament for the universe. It all starts off with a longish passage of jigsaw puzzle sound pieces. They emerge, expand and float in space for a bit then succumb to the next tone. These scattered bits are a trance inducing visit to the intergalactic space port. They are beautiful in and of themselves and show surprising restraint considering what comes next. I love the length of these tracks. There are only three of them and two come close to the twenty minute mark. It takes this kind of length, I believe, to achieve the backdrop and storyline if you will, that pulls the listener along. Yeah, I know, I love Punk Rock too. I love that kind of brevity and to the point stuff but we need room for everything these days don't we? If not we run the risk of just gliding over the surface of things. So suspend your disbelief and let these sounds wash the bad karma from the folds of your brain. The overall effect of this disc is that of an enormous build. The spacey tendrils start colliding more frequently and the music takes on a propulsive and at times aggressive tone. Track two, "Galactic Joy" takes this musicy element and puts it out in front. With the addition of drums the track comes on like The Velvet Underground pumping away on the riff from the Batman show while heavily medicated at a gig in a Lower East Side alley on Mars.

So how is this "Blues" music? It's all in the margins friends. There is a tremendous longing to be heard on this disc. It's the plaint of the Earth dweller looking skyward and wishing for flight. It's the cry of the infant pulled from inner space to this cold, cold world. It's the long slow motion notes pulsing and crawling outward in search of anything or everything. This is a Cosmic Blues for the Microcosmos of your mind.
(Keith Boyd/Blog San diego Links:http://www.blogsandiego.com/astro_junzo.html)


Tokyo-based guitarist Suzuki Junzo isn't a very well-known name yet here in the U.S., but I'd hope that's on the verge of changing. Through his own Plunk's Plan label he's self-released a number of CDRs. That includes the November.10.2001 album, which I got from him earlier this year. Recorded live at Tokyo's Penguin House, it's a deep, cavernous journey through damaged blues and stark emotional territory that certainly brings to mind folks like Loren Mazzacane Connors among others. It's a man alone with his voice and his guitar, working things out in sound for himself and his audience.

Suzuki has collaborated with a wide range of other musicians and bands, including Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mother's Temple), Overhang Party, Mitsuru Tabata (Zeni Geva, Amazon Saliva), Koji Shimura (Miminokoto, Acid Mother's Temple, etc), Astral Travelling Unity, Nasca Car, and more. In March I got a copy of the amazing Astro & Suzuki Junzo Cosmic Blues Experience CD, packaged in a gorgeous DVD case with entirely psychedelic cover art. Recorded toward the end of 2006, the CD is three long tracks of utterly brain-swelling psychedelic drone and churn, fantastic stuff and highly recommended.
(Mason Jones/Ongaku Blog Links- http://www.ongakuweb.com/ongakublog/?postid=48 )


We're just back from an insane tour of Japan and we've seen and heard some amazing music. The kind that rips your eyeballs out and makes you wonder if you even know what music is. The duo of Astro and Junzo played at the storied UFO club in Tokyo and blew my mind, emotive and cathartic. I sat like an insane asylum lunatic, laughing throughout the whole set. No one could hear me because this was the loudest act of over 25 acts I saw on tour. I was laughing at the sheer balls and the incredible attack on the whole body. I couldn't tell if my heart was beating or if it was the attack from Astro's moog that was shaking my whole being. You could see that Junzo's amp was dimed and still it just barely fit into the wall of alien sounds that dropped from the house PA. I looked over at the sound man in the middle of the set and he sat with a fan, trying to blow some life into the overheating PA. This is the kind of set you come to Japan to hear music for. Everyone always asks facetiously, why is Japanese music so cool? Well, this is why. For one thing it's the volume. It's a form of meditation that can only be learned by experiencing. And, it's not polite to walk out on a show in Japan. Take the assault, let it batter you in a way you didn't feel was possible. Let the sound drive you to a place you've never been. And then, in the middle of it, float outside your body, forget where you are, explore the ether. And when you settle back into your body and realize where you've been, that you forgot about the music and the place and the time, laugh your ass off and dig the sounds that blew your corporeal body to bits and left only your mind, floating, timeless, like Japan, one thousand years old.
(Gig Review By Eric Nielsen from Maquiladora / Blog Sandiego)


サイケデリック・ノイズ・プロジェクト・ASTROの長谷川洋氏と、ソロを中心にAcid Mothers Temple・河端一氏とのDUOや、ZENI GEVA/Leningrade Blues Machine、Acid Mothers Templeなど縦横無尽にその奇才ぶりをアピールするタバタミツル氏とのアシッドロックDUO・20GUILDERS等々で知られるマインド・トリッ プ・ギタリスト、スズキジュンゾ氏によるコスミック・サイケデリック・ユニットのデビュー・アルバム。夕暮れの白昼夢。入道雲の向こう側で鳴っている雷を 聴いているといつの間にかあたりは真っ暗になってしまった。星空と銀河。夜が部屋に上がり込んできて、体の中にまで溶け込んでくる。そんな幻夢の全3ト ラック、47分のドリーミーな作品です。
(Gravity Swarm Recordings)


ASTRO http://www2.odn.ne.jp/astro/
Atelier Himawari http://www.atelierhimawari.com/
OHPIA http://www.ohpia.com/


Last Updated Aug 21 2010
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