SEER Sound Archive

GROUP ONGAKU - Music Of Group Ongaku

"Group ONGAKU, founded mainly by students at Tokyo National University of Fine Art & Music, was the 1st collective musical improvisation group. The group began their activities in 1958, & from the naming of the group in 1960 onward continued until somewhere around 1962. They attempted to create acoustics corresponding to actual time & space by means of collective improvisation. Although methodically different, the music that they pursued incidentally shared common directions with contemporaries such as John Cage & other involved in the avant-garde artist collective of Fluxus. - Takako Okamoto, taken from original liner notes.

"Three wild & woolly scrambling tracks that melt nodes. Dished are dropped, vacuum cleaners get fried, saxes, organs & cellos howl, Group Ongaku were doing it all when the only other cosmic acolyte on the scene was Alan Watts. And these recordings-laid down a couple of years AHEAD of Big Als acid jabber- make This Is It sound like the lysergic soundtrack to Hello Dolly! by comparison. Concurrently, these primal articulations bear the distinction of sounding like the COMPLETE Nurse With Wound List playing at once.. And when you realize that said posse includes Airway, Cromagnon, Don Bradshaw Leather & Throbbing Gristle among its formidable ranks, then one must understand that what is passing between their ears is an aural Excalibur of avant/experimental freakdom that almost no one knew existed. A staggering & crucial lost piece to the ever burgeoning puzzle of the weird." - Phinneas Barbital, author, Cracks Inside Planet Brain (forthcoming, 2011).

"Those familiar w/Julian Copes seminal Japrocksampler will recognize the name Group Ongaku as the cornerstone of the 32 page entry, "Experimental Japan. Simply put, this collective was edenic as the foundation of fusing avant classical input with organic,improvisational output, thus forging a singular Minimalist sound on par w/similar, radical outre composition that was taking place in the West at the same time (Cage & Stockhausens work in particular). That members of Group Ongaku would later be instrumental in founding Japans Fluxus movement as well as form the legendary Taj Mahal Travellers seems almost elementary.And while to some these recording might sound archaic, their importance can never be understated or denied. Recorded in 1960 & 61 respectively, these 3 tracks were original 1st released on CD in a small edition in 1996. Long thought to be impossible to replicate onto vinyl due to time constraints (side 1 is practically 35 minutes in length), new technology in Japanese audio restoration has made it possible for Music Of Group Ongaku to finally see a proper LP release. And the sound is most exhilarating.  Personnel is as follows; Takehisa Kosugi (violin, sax, tape), Chieko Shiomi (piano), Mikio Tojima (cello), Yasunao Tone (sax, tape), Genichi Tsuge (guitar), Shukou Mizuno (cello, drums tape)  Japanese import, includes English language insert, edition of 300." - SEER Sound Archive.

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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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