13 May 2010

Katra Turana-Katra Turana

Katra Turana-Katra Turana
KATRA TURANA landed suddenly down on Tokyo underground rock scene as one of obscure Japanese avantgarde outfits in 1980. Their ensemble consisted of some acoustic instruments based on a violin and a piano. On stage they used various rubbishy stuffs as percussion and cooked avantgarde musical dinner with folk, chanson, jazz, and rock essence. And after all, their symbol was Atsushi HIROIKE, the vocalist and the performer disguised as a woman with powerful "feminine" voices. His early life, spent in the "antique" house of his grandparents, should influence much on his musical style and policy.

In 1982, from a Japanese indie label Telegraph Records, KATRA TURANA released the eponymous debut album - featuring as many elements as on stage - that could be approved by lots of avantgarde freaks or reviewers. What a shame they could not get away from underground, and disappeared without notice after releasing the second album "Kimera" (1986). 

Katra Turana (1982)
An amazing jack-in-the-box from Japan. 

KATRA TURANA, one of avantgarde rock outfits in Japan in the 1980s, is known neither all around the world nor only in Japan. As we Japanese know, in those days almost all of anti-establishment or anti-mainstream artists should be immersed underground, and today some of them can see the light - namely, the other cannot be discharged from the underground. KATRA TURANA is one of the outfits still underground and almost unrealized on this ground. A singer, a performer, and the frontman Atsushi HIROIKE always disguised himself as a beautiful woman, performed like a crazy lady, and sang with mischievous feminine voices on stage. Surely your first listening to his voices can deceive you into realizing him as a female singer. And yep, this album itself is exactly a theatre, and lots of instruments are the casts on stage - of course, Atsushi's beautiful and weird vocal is the heroine.

In the first track 
Yorokobashiki Ichinichi (One day with pleasure), a plaintive violin solo and "her" graceful voices can open the theatre curtain. Well the Katra Theatre gets started. AndEnsuikei Table (Conical table) is an absolutely dreamy drama! A musical chime solo is inevitably comfortable and streaming violin sounds following this are more graceful and dramatic. Atsushi's voices are mischievously cute but solemnly quiet, without any weirdness in this song. In the middle part, even warped and twisted piano and percussion cannot break the fantasia - some avantgarde spice added, though. However don't be cheated please - after this "her" aggressiveness should growl at you. All instruments including voices are avantgarde soundmakers (soundbreakers?) in Kyo No Sampo Wa Kiri Ga Nai (Today's walk is endless). "Her" voices thrown into chaos are like a part of percussion and you may not feel unnatural. At least I, cannot help feeling as though "her" voices should change "his" ones. Fuka (Hatch) is the last short song on A-side of LP - with very cute voices and a leisurely violin solo, and heavy percussion poppin' up somewhere. Exact opposite of Fuka is the B-side opening track Hontaiji Telephone Ryokitan, a dramatic and slightly sad piano solo with a tidy piccolo, a windy and spicy violin and Oriental percussion is very impressive. Ryokitan is "a bizzare tale" in English - how do you feel? Just as this atmosphere, can you feel? Atsushi's shout is exactly a cry of a goat hahaha - eerie eerie eerie he says certainly! The next Kame No Fue, Kyoryu No Fue (Pipe of tortoise, pipe of dinasour) is again a plaintive song - by flexible and take-it-easy violin sounds and pretty pipe shots, and cutie named Atsushi. From the middle the air should go weird gradually...the painful repetition of the pipe and the eerie violin scatter, with exotic percussion rubbish...they cannot get away still either. The last March is exactly the last stage of the theatre - the loudly exaggerated end of the show! There you can taste bitter-sweet left, I'm sure. 


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