Julian Cope’s JAPROCKSAMPLER top 50 albums. Author: RamonesIstKrieg. Julian Cope’s top 50 “Japrock” albums, from his totally rad book. Julian Cope, eccentric and visionary rock musician, follows the runaway underground success of his book “Krautrocksampler” with “Japrocksampler”, a cult. Michel Faber tunes in to Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler.

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As a music commentator, Cope is passionately opinionated, which is both his strength and his weakness. He raves about the ‘fascinating and wildly eventful’ multi-generic pastiches created by theatre score composer JA Caesar mostly only released as cassettes sold at stalls in the theatresand the bizarre jazz-rock tangents spawned out of the Japanese cast of Hair Shedding the ‘proper historian, me’ persona, his true voice breaks loose with the closing section, his all-time Top 50 Japrock LPs.

But for the most part, the book persuades you there’s reams and realms of triptastic Japanese music that deserve the wider world’s ear. Krautrocksampler and Japrocksampler are decidedly different, however. Was Cope maybe piqued into overcompensation by that smatter of niggardly experts who complained that Krautrocksampler wasn’t comprehensive or authoritative enough?

Now here comes Copey with a sort-of-sequel, this time exploring and exalting the even more esoteric world of Japanese freak rock. A young Yoko Ono attempts suicide in frustration at being upstaged by her first husband Toshi.

Big in Japan

Japrocksampler divides into two parts. Shedding the ‘proper historian, me’ persona, his true voice breaks loose with the closing section, his all-time Top 50 Japrock LPs.

In the introduction, the word ‘study’ crops up repeatedly, including the assertion that a ‘detailed study of this book will have you rethinking your attitudes to music, art, time If Cope’s exaltation of Les Rallizes Denudes seems like mystique-building covering up simple underachievement he hails the hermetic, retired Mizutani as japrocksamplrr great nihilistic spirit, this sonic executioner’elsewhere his evocations of all this authentically inauthentic music are enticing and convincing.

Indeed, his potted history of post- Tokugawa dynasty Japan strikes a formal tone not far removed from that of a Victorian essayist: Cope astutely notes that for the Japanese, the entertainment industry was “a mythical hinterland wherein almost any opposing ideas could meet head-on”, an environment where a singer could contribute to an avantgarde freakout while maintaining a ocpe career crooning Perry Como ditties in a velvet tux.


At first, Cope’s trademark hipster hyperbole seems to have been tamed by the challenge of elucidating a subject so obscure to most readers. There are moments in Japrocksampler that will make more sceptical readers wonder if that very syndrome isn’t going on in Cope’s own text. He raves about the ‘fascinating and wildly eventful’ multi-generic pastiches created by theatre score composer JA Caesar mostly only released as japocksampler sold at stalls in the theatresand the bizarre jazz-rock tangents spawned out of the Japanese cast of Hair.

Topics Music The Observer.

New Crimson Petal Stories is published by Canongate. Strangely, though, Cope doesn’t make much of the parallels between Krautrock and Japrock: No, We Are Spiders!

Cope argues that the West-to-East translation process creates ‘a peculiar copy of the original,’ a wrongness that in some instances allows the Japanese version to surpass its inspiration.

Or did he just develop a taste for research while working on jalrocksampler highly-regarded ‘stone circle’ histories The Modern Antiquarian and The Megalithic European? It quickly became a cult item and was widely credited for kick-starting the Nineties boom of cpe in Krautrock something of an over-estimation, given that groups like Stereolab had long been citing Neu!

In our megastore marketplace, the familiar is endlessly recycled, while blinkered journalists reshuffle the same Top lists ad nauseam. One larger idea he does grapple with is the Japanese talent for mimesis. What he’s looking for is “the kind of unsignposted music with neither peaks nor troughs that still sounds relevant today”, ie music that resembles Krautrock. Music books Julian Cope reviews. Cope himself is not a Japanese speaker, but his omnivorous LPcollecting and his friendship with some of Japan’s current rockers make him a credible candidate to write this book.

His ultra-vivid and hilariously over-the-top descriptions of a legion of German post-psychedelic records suggested that this jarocksampler musician he’s just released his umpteenth solo album, You Gotta Problem With Me might have missed his true vocation as a Lester Bangs-style advocate.

Review: Japrocksampler by Julian Cope | Books | The Guardian

It’s a heavier book more than twice the page count of Krautrocksampler and heavier-going, too. But in a book as over-amplifi ed as this, acoustic guitars don’t register.

Japrocksampler is a flawed but welcome reminder that there are musical worlds beyond our ken.


Inhe published Krautrocksampler, an evangelistic overview of Germany’s greatest gift to the modern world, that immensely charming genre japrocksammpler 70s music known as Krautrock. Julian Copeself-styled “visionary rock musician and musicologist, hip archaeologist and one-time frontman of the Teardrop Explodes”, is one of Britain’s more colourful fi gures. Less adventurous readers may simply enjoy the anecdotes about a host of chancers, mad idealists, Buddhist gangsters, Monkees clones “Are We Not Crazy Cats?

Krautrocksampler sought to rekindle an interest in music that was once widely appreciated in Britain but which had fallen into neglect due to changing fashions and fickle journalism. Japanese Independent Music, issued in by Sonore a French publisher is out of print.

Japrocksampler: Julian Cope: Bloomsbury Paperbacks

As a work of scholarship, Japrocksampler is slapdash and error-strewn. Central to Cope’s thesis is the notion that mind-altering music can only be made by people who ingest mind-altering drugs, and that Japan’s notoriously anti-drug culture therefore impeded the artistic development of its musical pioneers.

For that matter, Julian Cope’s Krautrocksampler is out of print too. In parallel to the way Amon Duul were involved in Germany’s commune-dwelling counterculture and allegedly had ties to Baader-Meinhof, one member of Les Rallizes Denudes participated in the Japanese Red Army’s hi-jacking of a Boeing Either way, a certain windy ponderousness of phrase and tone creeps into the prose now and japeocksampler, suggestive less of long hair and loon pants than of donnish tweed and leather-patched elbows.

Julian Cope, Japrocksampler

Although it contained lots of little-known information, the earlier book didn’t belabour the back story but focused on Cope’s rabid enthusiasm for the music. All human life is here, somewhat mangled in translation.

The first, really a prequel to the book proper, deals with the s, with chapters examining Japanese experimental music a scene hugely impacted by musique concrete, with Yoko Ono and her erstwhile composer-hubby Toshi Ichiyanagi prominent among the cast of charactersthe ‘Eleki’ craze for Shadows-style twangy instrumental rock, and the ‘Group Sounds’ movement suit-wearing Japbands modelled on the British beat boom.