Jackamo Brown’s Youtube Channel and Two Incredible Japanese Albums

The unsung heroes of online music streaming and discovery are surely the youtube up-loaders, supplying a vast ocean of content that usually isn’t their own and they usually don’t get in much but trouble for,  kudos!

Put the mouse on the cat and click go! You’ll be treated to one of my favourite youtube-digging gems. This is Kakashi by Yasuaki Shimizu, from 1982.

The album wiggles between super weird, cozy comfy and while doing so sounds 30 years ahead of its time. Instrument solos and supple jazz musicianship meet trippy lo-fi samples, hazy voice-overs and droning sounds. Sounding distinctly Japanese at times and plain sweeeet all the time. The best moment is half way through when the music crescendoes with a dramatic melancholic sax melody, drum hits and cymbals raging, then you get hit with a grime-esque slowdown-speedup effect.

A rare treat for myself to encounter, the avant-garde 80’s Japanese music and rareity. The LP last sold for hundreds on discogs and the CD already goes for 30 dozzas, so thanks goes to Jackamo Brown (real name Ian, also 🙂 ) for the upload – a great taste in music and honest generosity have come together in a person to give us all the opportunity to experience something so scrumptious.

Jackamo has also graciously provided us with an upload of Midori Takada, Through The Looking Glass, from 1983. A contemplative and spacious album exploring tension, serenity, and oddity with the most delicate means. Bells and drums layered together change in time, twisting further and further into another space, generating confusion and edgy icy tension until we are left with a tangible sense of what is down the rabbit hole.

 

Copyright infringements and claims result in videos being pulled off youtube, accounts being closed, and hassle for the uploaders. The corporate conception is that making someone else’s content available for free is theft, piracy without the skull and crossbones and that the act is destroying creating industries. But Jackamo told me he had been contacted by a relative of Midori Takada, writing on her behalf, to thank him for posting the album to youtube and saying how happy she was that so many people were finding her album there all these years later and enjoying it so much.

In the case of such rare and obscure art, of which a streamed rip is certainly an inferior copy, Youtube provides us a way of getting content out rather than it sitting on shelves. Is this theft or assisted expression? Liberation of the art? A question of intent – as Jackamo himself says: “The aim of the channel is simply to try and get some great recordings that I come across, that are little-known, heard by more people who might appreciate them, so it is satisfying to see people discovering and enjoying those two albums in such numbers.”

These two videos are him most popular uploads, and the comment sections are abound with gratitude and personal stories of inspirational experiences. There don’t seem to be any better whole album rips around, whether on youtube or otherwise, so for most this is the only avenue to hear these pieces. Jackamo fills in the gaps he finds online from his own collection, uploading pieces that have been unduly overlooked despite their quality. Even for his less-viewed poetry uploads, “hopefully a handful of people have come to them for the first time through those uploads and been moved to explore more of the artist’s immensely rewarding work or, in the case of a few of the uploads, hopefully people have just found a really good tune”.

If you want to explore the creations of the mind in the head of the man behind the channel of the youtube, Jackamo has an album out himself you can check out here

He wrote the songs over a year living as a hermit on a mountain in Wales with no postcode and just happened to stick them on youtube where they sat for several years before being re-recorded for the album in 2012.

 

If you dig, or you’re just grateful for the uploads, Jackamo is quite responsive to online messages. Just don’t give him any money though, because he’ll burn it.

 

 

I asked him why:

Jackamo Brown: “Whether or not art should be free is not of central importance for me – as things are ordered now the independent label that put out my album would be justified, I think, in trying to make back what they spent on it and in attempting to make a profit to fund other projects (though in this case the label, Speech Development Records, was clear in being ok with not making anything from the record if that is how it went…and it was) and that does not affect the worth, if any, of the music unless the music was altered to that end. My concern is with the age-old problem of artistic integrity alongside a strong distaste for the seemingly widespread thought that almost any endeavor, in any field, should result in some sort of material reward. As such, for me, it is important that the artist stays clear of commerce in the main. Different fields of endeavor offer different rewards in and of themselves and I take the rewards of art to be, primarily, self-knowledge and therefore there is no need to mix in commercial concerns to an artistic endeavor and every danger of compromising or ruling out such non-material rewards in doing so. Amateur (lover of) ranks higher than Professional in most fields for me and in art especially. The burning of the royalties I received from the release of my album will no doubt seem strange to some, especially given the relatively small amount involved (to someone such as myself who maintains a deliberately low income it was not so small however), but, as should be clear already, for me the fact that I had received those royalties was a real problem that genuinely troubled me. Whilst I hesitate to speak too strongly of my songs as art and whilst the collection of royalties for my songs was inadvertent rather than deliberate (being joined up to PRS occurred due to uncharacteristic inattention) it was still too close to a compromise I am not comfortable with. Burning the money was the best way I could come up with of going some way to rectifying the situation. I have been asked many, many times (so many that I turned off the comments on the video – I may even delete the video as it appears vain but I felt at the time that it was important to evidence that I had actually done what I said I would) why I did not give the money to charity but giving it to charity would not have gone any way to solving the problem as far as I was concerned. Leaving aside issues I have with the notion of charity, and especially charity-businesses, donating the money would have cemented the earning from the trade of songs for money – the money would have come into my hands and have been spent on something. Destroying the money does not destroy the error but the fact that the money ultimately went nowhere seemed to me to be something like rectification. I am, of course, no longer registered with any royalty-collection organisations.”

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These 1266 words are dedicated to thanking Jackamo Brown and all online content providers and uploaders who are fulfilling the noble deed of egalitarianising the human species’ artistic and cultural heritage. For all humans, or at least, those with internet connections – we still have a ways to go.

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