Japan has a huge history of psychedelic music and noise music and over time I have fallen in love with the unique sounds these band produce. So i made a list, a list that is ongoing and one that I will update with new bands and old stuff that I discover in the hope to convice some of you of the beauty that comes from these noisy bands. There is a bit of everything in here, some psych, doom, garage and experimental stuff, all from Japan. With help from friends and other sources I will make this the best list that has ever existed. Tune in and listen to the Cosmic Side of Japan.
The trio started in 2007 as a heavy psych band and has grown a lot in their sound since then. Their name comes from the the mythological giant Daidarabotchi.
The new album “Threshold” is released December 1 on Gurugurbrain!
the “NO WATER” debut EP was released in January 27, 2017.
Dhidalah released “Moon People” on April 8, 2018. A very psychedelic improvisation.
Qujaku was quite a revelation when i found their music. and i have been a big fan since then. And i have had the luck to see their crushing live show.
Not long ago the band released their first full length. The sound Qujaku makes is quite unique. They blend doom, psych and noise in their sound but still accomplish a refined softness.
Acid Mothers Temple
Most of you will have heard of these psychedelic veterans, or under one of their other bandnames like Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O, Acid Maso Temple, Acid Mothers Afrirampo, Acid Mothers Gong, AcidMothersGuruGuru, … .
Acid Mothers was formed somewhere about 1995 and has released a massive amount of music, album, and live stuff.
The frontman kawabata Makoto has a lot of side projects and others bands, some of them you will find here.
The Tokyo based psych band started out as a free street act in 2012. Slowly evolving in a full psychedelic force. in 2013 they released their first self titled album. in 2014 cam “Forest of Lost children”, 2016 brought “House in the Tall Grass”, 2017 “Stone Garden” and this year they have created the magnificent “Masana Temples”.
Immerse yourself in the psychedelic worl of Kikagaku Moyo.
From Hita City, Oita prefecture comes the Japanese band The Routes. They play garagerock like it is the end of times.
Check out their 60’s/70’s sound now.
An all girl trio from Kobe, Japan. The music is produces with the help of Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple).
This is something special, i like my music a bit weird and Squimaoto succeeds in this with brilliance. Listen carefully to the controlled choas.
This is another one of those bands where Acid Mothers Temple frontman Makoto Kawabata has his fingers in. This time joined by Emiko Ota and Julien Omeyer (AKA Emiko & KiriSute Gomen) they form the band En’Ma-O.
Listen to their peculiar sound.
Drag City reissued the album ‘Help Your Satori Mind’ by the Japanese Cosmic Invention wich is a side project from Masaki Batoh of the band Ghost. With an extralong unreleased jam session! Enjoy
Joseph of Kirezi
Joseph of Kirezi captures the psychedelic spirit in its true form. BGefore they released their first self titled LP they released a couple of live albums.
The moment the LP hit the world knew that there was another psychedelic force.
A lot of you may have heard about the wild all-gril punk band Otoboko Beaver. The band formed in 2009 is most known for their agressive, fast paced punk.
The best way to get to know them is through their latest remastered compilation album called Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver.
Boris formed in 1992 in Tokyo. Their name comes from Melvins’ 1991 album Bullhead. Since 1992 Boris have released an extensive list of albums, EPs and tracks.
The band doesn’t want to be categorized and quite frankly, it is not possible either.
Melt-Banana is a Japanese noise rock band formed by Yasuko Onuki and Agata Ichirou. Rika mm’ en Toshiaki Sudoh joined te band and together they make extremely fast noise. The album “Scratch or Stitch” was produced by Steve Albini.
The Heavy psych band formed in 2012. The bands name means Freak Out Orgasm.
Their last album was released on Riot Season Records.
Hypnotizing kraut/psych by the Tokyo based band formed in 2014.
he band members being self-professed “repetition freaks” who heavily listen to minimal techno. The band was initially picked up by Cardinal Fuzz (wich catalogue only exists of awesomeness) and later by the Gurugurubrain label.
Les Rallizes dénudés
The psychedelic/noise/folk formation Les Rallizes Dénudés (Hadaka no Rallizes) are a Japanese band formed by frontman Takashi Mizutani in the late ’60s. You can find a lot of info/rumours and speculations about Les Rallizes Dénudés on the Internet. Most of their music are bootlegs, live recordings and other low quality stuff. They have never officialy released an album. Some say Mizutani was dissatisfied with the studio sound, thus never recording something official. Listen to some youtube music from Les Rallizes Dénudés.
Sundays and Cybele
The four piece psych band formed in Hokkaido, Japan in 2004. They have recently released their fourth studio album on the Gurgurubrain label called “On The Grass”.
The experimental/psych band Ghost was formed in 1984 by Masaki Batoh. Influenced by bands like Pink Floyd and The Velvet Underground They started releasing work around 1990.
The Japanese heavy psych rock DMBQ has a history dating back to 1989. Founded by Shinji Masuko (vocals/guitar), Ryuuichi Watanabe (bass), and Yuka Yoshimura (drums).
after a long discographie the band will release their new record “Keenly”. The album will be released on November 16 via God? (run by Ty Segall).
Stream their new track “Bluebird”.
For more psych, check out Fuzzy Sun’s List.
OOIOO was founded in 1995 by legendary percussionist/guitarist/vocalist YoshimiO. Since then they have been creating the most weird and cosmic music.
The band formed somewhere in the 80’s helmed by singer/guitarist You Ishihara.
Psycho BaBa is led by sitar player Mhayow and, on this album, joined by Boredoms members Yoshimi and Hira.
Heavy japanese psych band Musica Transonic was formed in 1995 by Nanjo Asahito (bass), Makoto Kawabata (guitar) and 吉田達也 [Tatsuya Yoshida] (drums).
Japanese psych/folk band 20 Guilders is made of TABATA MITSURU and Suzuki Junzo. Tabata is known for founding Boredoms, Zeni Geva and ex member of Acid Mothers Temple.
Psychedelic rockers Psyche Bugyo led by long-term Acid Mothers Temple member Atsushi Tsuyama with Ryota NISHI (keyboards), Keizo SUHARA (bass), and Nani SATOJIMA (drums)
Formed in 86 in Osaka. Boredoms has had numerous line up changes through the years. And singer Yamantaka Eye being frontman. Boredoms is experimental noiserock or like they say, Japanoise.
Brutal Japanese noise band Zeni Geva was formed in 1987 and features singer and guitarist KK. Null and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida.
Another Heavy Psych/noiserock band. High Rise was formed in 1982 by bassist Asahito Nanjo and guitarist Munehiro Narita. Originally called Psychedelic Speed Freaks but they changed their name advised by PSF records.
someone said Space Streakings is Hyper-Disco Grindcore (sporting an industrial-sized dollop of alien hip hop, and a healthy dose of “WTF?”). I can’t really argue with that. The band was made from members Captain Insect, Karate Condor, Kame Bazooka, Screaming Stomach and Kashikari Rental Rocket. I Think.
Here is a relativly normal band in difference with space streakings. Nishinihon was made from Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple etc.) and is gorgeous heavy psych filled with trippy guitar work and excellent psychedelic vibes. Other members where Tsuyama Atsushi, Ichiraku Yoshimitsu and Okano Futoshi.
Ohkami No Jikan
Made of Fukuoka Rinji, Nishino Kouji, Yamazaki Iwao.
Sarry makes Japanese vocal noise drone. well, whatever that is. have a listen.
A very weird Japanese Fusion band that blends, jazz, noiserock, psych and other weird things.
Maybe you guessed it, maybe not because what the hell is all this, but Sax Ruins is a newer version of Ruins. Instead of the bass player on Ruins we get the alto sax player Ono Ryoko. Their only release is on Ipecac Recordings.
A Japan-US collaboration with members KK Null, Jim O’Rourke, Darin Grey and Thymme Jones. Their self titles was released 94 on Skin Graft Rcords.
The Noise Birds
The Noise Birds are combination of two bands. They are made of 水晶の舟 Suishou No Fune (Japan, Pirako & Kageo) and Numinous Eye (USA, Mason Jones & Mike Shoun) and have one release in the past and now they are back with a new one on Riot Season Records.
Going to start with my favourite new discovery which is a collaboration between Space Streakings and Mount Shasta. They released an album together called “Space Streakings Sighted Over Mount Shasta” wich is absolutely gorgeous. You can fin Saxophones, noise, and other explosive stuff on this godlike album!
Mady Gula Blue Heaven
This is a softer project wich nice hazy psychedelic elements. In th ememenbers of this band I recognize Cotton Casino from Acid Mothers Temple and other projects. Take breath and listen to Mady Blue Heaven.
Magical Power Mako
I think we all agree I am sharing music that is way beyond crazy, I have fallen deep in the pit of crazy japanese psych and noise, so why stop now? lets go deeper! Let us listen to Magical Power Mako’s album ‘Super Record’ from 1975′.
“Sooner or Later” is from 1987 on the P.S.F. label where you can find an awfull lot of these releases.
Up-Tight & Makoto Kawabata
Another obscure recording from Up-Tight with Makoto Kawabata (from Acid Mothers and like 1500 other projects).
Okay, I am having some trouble with this one. I think the band name is 88KasyoJunrei. I am not entirly sure but they make some cool punk/noise. It is also a fresh change from all these bands from the seventies. It seems these guys are young and rockin.
This list is getting so long I even have no idea if I have something featurering Keiji Haino. Well, here is something pretty alien.
let us start with this magnificent album called ‘Perfect Place to Hideaway’ that was released in 2015. This is a trip from beginning to end and was forgotting because it sounds so english. The band consist of ex-members of the band White Heaven including Michio Kurihara (Ghost, collaborations with Boris, Ai Aso) on guitar, You Ishihara on vocals and Chiyo Kamekawa on bass.
UFO OR DIE
Let us get a bit more extremer now, This next one is a boredoms ofshoot wich is pretty out of this world.
Maybe not psych or noise but this is some weird and wacko stuff! Featuring Suzuki Junzo from 20 guilders. Holy Jesus this is some crazy stuff.
Majutsu no Niwa
Heavy psych band that sopped in 2008 with members over overhang party. Very awesome and trippy psych.
The Mickey Guitar Band
This is some gorgeous space rock. Very listenably and extremely trippy.
Founded in the 70’s this psych band released the gorgeous album ‘The Dreams of the Recollections’ and I need to listen to this one a lot more, this is some absolutely amazing stuff. ont the drums was Ikuro Takahashi (ex-High Rise, Fushitsusha).
LSD March is a trippy band and I am sharing their album ‘Under Milk Wood’ here but they have a lot of other released and it seems this band is a goldmine to be discovered. A very own sounds.
‘Live P.S.F (Psychedelic San Francisco)’ is an epic spacerock japanoise record that was released by Narita (founder of High Rise). Out on Cardnal Fuzz.
This band is made up by Mitsuru Tabata, Munehiro Narita, Yuro Ujiie. Ofcourse I learned of them through Munehiro Narita. Their album ‘Assommer’ was released 2012.
Psychedelic Speed Freaks
I think I might go nuts, I think i have openend a box i can’t close anymore. I keep finding all these incredible bands, it does not stop. This time it is the ban Psychedelic Speed Freaks with Munehiro Narita, Jasso, TJ. This album is really incredible, the speed, the epic guitar. It has even hints of Motorhead on more speed.
‘Get The Car’ was originally released on CD by Chaotic Noise Recordings in Kochi, Japan, in 2019. This is hazy soft psych by Mitsuru tabata that was and is in a crapload of bands like 20 Guilders, Acid Mothers Temple and a lot of its offshoots, Ahttps://www.facebook.com/tabatamitsuru01lien’s Social Dance Party, Amazon Saliva, Green Flames, Gugan, Kawabatabata, L & Friends, Leningrad Blues Machine, Mammal Machine, Monster DVD,, Plugged Ear, RQRQ and probably more too.
GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE
This is some epic progressive psychedelic rock. The album ‘Third’ by these Japanese rokcers was released in 2019.
Japanese Bassist, Vocalist and Guitarist Masamo Kawaguchi was to perform and record new music when he was going to visit Australia but this did not happen due to Covid. So we don’t have to hunger for new music he will release a 25 minute EP called ‘I Miss You’ on Kasumuen Records.
This is not 100% Japanese but it features junzo Suzuki and is going to be a marvelous pieced of music so I feel it deserves to be on this list. The album ‘Lost Bones Of The Holy Butterfly’ is out in December or January on Dronerock records.
Angel’in Heavy Syrup
This is gorgeous psychedelic rock from this Osaka band that started in 1990. They made four albums and a best of and afterwards fallen into indefinite hiatus status it seems.
Fuji are Mik Quantius, Bart De Paepe, Louise Frères, Warre Fungus and Junzo Suzuki. in November 2018, they did their first time touring around Belgium/Nederland with Junzo and legendary Mil Quantius of Embryo. this recording is the Document of their Complete Show at Barley in Brussels.
Sonic Flowers has grown out of Church of Misry around 2000. They released their self titled album in 2003 via Leaf Hound Records. The band went on hiatus somewhere in 2007 while making stuff for their second album. Now the band has returned with a vocalist and new line up. They signed to Heavy psych sounds and released their second album ‘Rides Again’ on January 29, 2021. Get yourself ready for some absolutely gorgeous heavy psych.
‘Mayoiga’ is out February 2021 and is a gorgeous piece of dreamy psych with Junzo Suzuki (20 GUILDERS
FUJI, MIENAKUNARU,…) on vocals and Guitar and Takuya Nishimura on Bass and Koji Shimura on Drums. High quality epic comsic rock! Buy it on Vinyl on bandcamp!
Daisuku Tobari has about four records out that are pretty amazing, he mixes psychedelic music with folk and uptembo beats. This is his 1999 album ‘Guitar’.
This Japanese band made dreamy and trippy tracks filled with gorgeous Japanoise guitar work. Shizuka was Seven , Kosugi Jun, Miura Maki and Shizuka. This live album called ‘Live: 伝承美学 [Traditional Aesthetics]’ was released in 2008 on P.S.F. Records.
Shinki Chen & Friends - Shinki Chen (1971) Full Album
Shinki Chen & Friends was a short-time project of Sino-Japanese Shinki Chen. Shinki Chen & Friends is: Shinki Chen – guitar, bass, drums, piano George Yanagi – bass, vocals Shinichi Nogi – drums Hiro Yanagida – keyboards “Shinki Chen was considered the Japanese Jimi Hendrix. !
Blond New Half
I was casually surfing bandcamp when I saw that the band The Grasshopper Lies Heavy bought and album by some obscure Japanese band they have played with in Kyoto, which ofcourse peaked my interest. There is almost nothing to be found out about the band but for a 20 minute live recording in Kobe, Japan. If someone else knows more, please let me know.
Now that I found out about Shinki Chen I can share you all his other bands ofcourse. Food Brain is a Japanese “all star” underground band and this album is from 1970.
75 thoughts on “The Cosmic side of Japan”