Tag Archives: Light in the Attic

Album of the Day: Kankyō Ongaku, “Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980​-​1990”

Corporate big bucks and avant-garde music aren’t the most obvious bedfellows—but throw user experience into the mix, and you’ve got a viable cultural phenomenon: kankyō ongaku. In 1980s Japan, as the country continued to enjoy an unprecedented post-war boom, it became the world’s second-largest economy; companies like Sanyo and Muji pumped cash into the arts to enhance the experiences for its consumers.

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Lee Hazlewood’s “13” Is A Wonderful Soul Album That Almost Didn’t Happen

Lee Hazlewood

Photos courtesy of Mark Pickerel and Suzi Jane Hok0m

13 is one of Lee Hazlewood’s strongest albums. It’s also, technically speaking, not really a Lee Hazlewood album. 13 originated as a vehicle for Larry Marks, a studio employee for Hazlewood’s LHI Records. “He took my voice off … and put his voice on the album,” Marks recalls. “Now, don’t forget, these [songs] were in my keys, it was my charts, it was my everything. Lee Hazlewood was not even remotely going to be considered as an artist for this album, and that’s the way he wanted it.” As the LHI funding well slowly ran dry, Hazlewood disbanded the California wing of the label, taking off to Sweden with the master tapes for Marks’ supposed release, along with plenty of other music—both his and other releases lined up for LHI. In Sweden, Hazlewood found minor celebrity and a market eager to devour his LHI work.

While a label executive bolting across the pond with master tapes makes for a good story, the reality of the situation isn’t nearly so dramatic. Hazlewood’s not necessarily innocent, but LHI was always meant to be a means of artistic cultivation for Hazlewood. Before terms like “branding” and “content” became commonplace, Hazlewood was peddling his musical pedigree across various genres, hiring musicians and songwriters of dazzling talent to help him keep his output constant and consistent. Once 13 was stripped of its origins, it became a Hazlewood record, Marks’ fingerprints ably erased by the mustachioed master’s indelible sound.

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