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: