Jun Arasaki / Visible Cloaks - Kajyadhi Fu Bushi
EM Records two versions of the Ryukyu minyo (Okinawa folk song) Kajyadhi Fu Bushi. On the A side is jazz musician Jun Arasaki and his group Nine Sheep's 1977 rendition for TV Broadcast. On the B, Visible Cloaks bring their celestial touch to this joyous, pentatonic music.
"On the plane from Niigata to Osaka while on tour with Visible Cloaks and Sugai Ken this past December, Ken mentioned Emura-san - aka Koki - of EM Records had invited our hive of voyagers to visit the label’s offices while in town. EM Records has remained a mysterious entity for me since discovering the label through the essential 2004 compilation release of Barton Smith’s two Folkways album. That was already four years into the label’s wildly eclectic history.
From there, it was a game of catching up on what I’d missed, and keeping up with the string of strange and singular sounds EM was pressing to CD. There was no other label crisscrossing musical movements and moods like EM. And there was no other real information about the label than what I could glean speaking with knowledgeable types at Other Music and Kim’s in New York City.
Ken introduced me to Koki at the Osaka venue hosting the RVNG showcase. In 2016, a full year before his UkabazUmorezU / 不浮不埋 release on RVNG, Ken and Koki collaborated on Goto no Yoniwa - Garden in the Night (An Electronic Re-creation) for EM Records. Ken and Koki had more recently worked on EM’s The Sakai Ishinage Odori Preservation Society – Sakai Ishinage Odori, a collection documenting Japanese folk music from summer dance festivals, known as Bon-Odori festivals, in 1982 and 2017.
I’d not heard the collection before entering EM’s offices the day following our Osaka show. Upon entering the EM offices, a divisional display wall hosted recent label releases from Lieven Martens and Alexandra Atnif alongside original copies of Through The Looking Glass and Eitetsu Hayashi’s Messenger Of The Wind. Along the entire back wall of EM’s offices were records, cassettes, and books shelved from ceiling to floor, a casual copy of Lol Coxhill and Morgan Fisher's Slow Music within fingers’ reach (another story of Japanese serendipity and depth). We’d entered the well-kept cave of Koki’s mind, and we were certain not to leave without learning so much more.
After Spencer melted said mind with his knowledge of Japanese folk music, Koki organically introduced the Sakai Ishinage Odori and an unreleased 1977 recording of Okinawan folk tune “Kajyadhi Fu Bushi” by Jun Arasaki and Nine Sheep. We sat listening attentively around a makeshift table in the back of the office, a sense of reverence prevailing the office space. This was traditional, transformative music, and music that made so much sense coming from EM’s epicenter. And it made even more sense that Ken had been involved documenting and mixing the more recent festival performances. The historical context displaced, as timeless music should behave.
Koki and Spencer discussed having Visible Cloaks’ reinterpret / remix “Kajyadhi Fu Bushi” by Jun Arasaki and Nine Sheep, which is why I’ve been prompted to recollect this moment in Osaka. I wish I’d taken a few more pictures or notes from the visit to EM, but this piece of music is an even better souvenir." - Matt Werth / RVNG Intl.