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Faithways International

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This reissue of The Sounds of Japanese Doomsday Cults marks the first bona fide public availability in the West of Lord Deaths Counting Song" and "Sonshis March," performed by Shoko Asahara, leader of Japanese religious cult Aum Shinri Kyo and convicted murderer of twenty-five people, including eleven who died in the sarin nerve-gas attack in the Tokyo subway system in March of 1995-a terrifying incident that put more than five thousand people in the hospital and shocked the world with its televised images of choking \r\nand vomiting rush-hour riders staggering out of subway exits. Originally released by Australian label Mighty I AM Presence in the late 90s in three editions of 25 copies each (on polyurethane lathe-cut 8-inch records), these early, outrageously expensive copies caused their share of controversy and were unofficially banned in Japan. Several traditionally fearless Japanese collectors returned the records unplayed (for fear that its mere presence in their houses could get them in trouble). One collectors wife reportedly left him and filed for divorce, no questions asked, after finding a copy on his shelves. With the terror of the tragic gas attack fresh in the Japanese publics minds, packages containing Aum music mailed from Banjawarn Station in Western Australia-where the cult had previously acquired mining-exploration licenses so they could conduct legal searches for uranium deposits-were enough for one Japanese importer to contact the police, which resulted in a visit to the Mighty I AM Presence offices by a delegation comprised of local Australian constabulary, customs officials, and two Japanese newspaper reporters, all of whom made it clear not to send any more copies of the record to Japan. When examined and compared to commercially available recordings, the musical aspirations of mass murderers and cult leaders (see, for example, Charles Manson and David Koresh, respectively) often seem first and foremost wildly out of step with the times, but also naive, simplistic and eerily innocent. "Lord Deaths Counting Song" and "Sonshis March" follow this model; they are reminiscent of some wispy, New-Age karaoke, maybe with a nod to the music bed for a nightmarishly feel-good airline commercial. The pretty, easy-to-grasp jingles that edu-tainers such as Mr. Rogers deploy on pre-school children sound like a Wagner opera in comparison. Anyone who is not appalled by this music outright will find its creepiness mysteriously compelling. Music by Shoko Asahara, leader of Aum Shinri Kyo." - Faithways International.\r\n"unbelievable... its too dangerous to release it here in Japan even at this 2002. not joke stuff..." - hitomi (beast 666).

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