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Freedom To Spend

CHIKUMA, JUNE - Les Archives

"Les Archives is composed, arranged, and produced by the elusive Japanese artist June Chikuma. While Freedom To Spend’s reinvented edition bares little visual evidence of its origins in the composer’s name, title, or sleeve design, the album, a whooping gonzo of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and a mysterious string quartet, remains as vibrant now as it did when released on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label as Divertimento in 1986. In fact, the music of Les Archives now glows with a different purpose; one that revises the past while maintaining, and finally elevating, its hidden influence. A woman of multiple disciplines and identities, June Chikuma (竹間 淳, Chikuma Jun) has composed for TV, film, and video games over the past thirty plus years. Her proto-techno and drum and bass soundtracks for Nintendo’s Bomberman franchise in the 80s and 90s is an oeuvre unto itself. In more recent years her musical focus has turned toward classic Arabic and Egyptian music. Chikuma studies Arabic nay, playing and performing with Le Club Bachraf ensemble. In a melding of June’s contrasting, colorful worlds, Le Club Bachraf composed part of the original score for the 2007 video game Sonic and The Secret Rings. For Les Archives, Chikuma constructed a sonic stage to animate her imaginings as a one-person show. The primary props, a KORG SDD-3000 digital delay, an audible, overt display of unclassified drum machines and samplers, and a litany of literary references. Following the original album’s sequence, “Broadcast Profanity Delay” bursts onto Les Archives’ first scene full of buoyant energy and fluttering atmospheric pressure. The composition was conceived by Chikuma for a make-believe marimba ensemble, and in this shapeshifting form, takes on its own mutant life. “Pataphysique” is a term for the study of an imaginary realm additional to metaphysics, and the track on Les Archives most conducive to dancing (even if those movements might conjure the herkiest, jerkiest imagery). “Divertimento,” the heretofore title track of the album, brandishes a tough electro exoskeleton with a molten 18th century orchestral interlude nine minutes into the nearly thirteen minute piece. Chikuma dedicates “Divertimento” to composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Paul Hindemith for his alignment with the New Objectivity movement. By the composition’s conclusion the object’s particles have been completely obliterated and assembled again. The cacophony of Les Archives parts to reveal a clearing with “Climb-Down,” Chikuma’s tribute to Erik Satie’s Furniture music (musique d’ameublement). The Michiyo Toda String Quartet’s somber string interpretation of June’s composition offers a grace unlike the Rube Goldberg of punchy programming and found sound on the surrounding electronic machination. After this acoustic respite the electricity is switched on again. “Dual Use” repurposes the constitution of “Divertimento” as a slight samba, complete with Godzilla samples. Recorded during the original Divertimento sessions at Hugh Studio in Tokyo but excluded from the original album release, Les Archives presents two unheard pieces. “Mujo to Ifukoto” works as interspecies smalltalk between synthetic instruments and environmental samples. Lush strings interrupt synth sweeps, said sweeps giving way to a concrète concert of crickets and church bells. Countering the title’s claim of dispassionate decision-making in the midst of crisis, “Oddman Hypothesis” is deliberately restrained, aside from the shatter marking the start, and resembles the City Pop and fusion movements that defined Japan’s musical landscape in the 80s. Chiikuma’s neon-vibrant aesthetic would be at home soundtracking films like After Hours or Teknolust. However, Les Archives is the score for a movie of mistaken identity – clones redressed in a guise of the artist’s re-coding. The legitimate artifact deceives history. There is no original, but this copy is singular and complete. " - Freedom To Spend.
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  • Regular price $21.00


After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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