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Tag Archives: politics

noda tsutomu is the ele-king editor who made the Japanese edition of Agit Disco happen. This playlist is first published on ele-king columns:

noda has written this ‘basic’ playlist “to explain what is agit disco to our young readers”!

01. Billie Holiday And Her Orchestra ‎– “Strange Fruit” (1939)
02. John Coltrane – “Alabam” (1963)
03. Bob Dylan – “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” (1963)
04. Nina Simone – “Mississippi. Goddamn” (1964)
05. Sam Cooke ‎– “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964)
06. Aretha Franklin – “Respect” (1967)
07. James Brown – “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” (1968)
08. The Beatles‎– “I’m so tired” (1968)
09. ジャックス – “ラブ・ジェネレーション” (1968)
10. Sly & The Family Stone ‎– “Stand!” (1969)
11. The Plastic Ono Band ‎– “Give Peace A Chance” (1969)
12. Curtis Mayfield – “Move On Up” (1970)
13. Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (1970)
14. Jimi Hendrix – “Machine Gun” (1971)
15. The Last Poets ‎– “This Is Madness” (1971)
16. Timmy Thomas ‎– “Why Can’t We Live Together ” (1972)
17. Funkadelic ‎– “America Eats Its Young” (1972)
18. 友部正人 – “乾杯” (1972)
19. Sun Ra ‎– “Space Is The Place” (1973)
20. Bob Marley & The Wailers ‎– “Rat Race” (1976)
21. Fẹla And Afrika 70 ‎– “Sorrow Tears And Blood” (1977)
22. Sex Pistols ‎– “God Save The Queen” (1977)
23. Steel Pulse ‎– Ku Klux Klan (1978)
24. The Slits ‎– “Newtown” (1979)
25. Joy Division ‎– “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
26. The Pop Group ‎– “How Much Longer” (1980)
27. The Specials – “Ghost Town” (1981)
28. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five ‎– “The Message” (1982)
29. Time Zone Featuring John Lydon & Afrika Bambaataa ‎– “World Destruction” (1984)
30. The Smiths ‎– “Meat Is Murder ” (1985)
31. Public Enemy ‎– “Rebel Without A Pause” (1987)
32. じゃがたら – “ゴーグル、それをしろ” (1987)
33. N.W.A _ “Fuck Tha Police” (1989)
34. Mute Beat – “ダブ・イン・ザ・フォグ” (1988)
35. RCサクセション – 『カバーズ』 (1988)
36. Fingers Inc. ‎– “Can You Feel It (Spoken Word: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) ” (1988)
37. Underground Resistance ‎– “Riot” (1991)
38. Sonic Youth- “Youth Against Fascism” (1992)
39. Bikini Kill ‎– “Rebel Girl” (1993)
40. Goldie ‎– “Inner City Life” (1994)
41. Autechre ‎– 「Anti EP」 (1994)
42. Radio Boy ‎– 『The Mechanics Of Destruction』 (2001)
43. Wilco – “Ashes of American Flags” (2002)
44. Outkast – “War” (2003)
45. Radiohead – “2 + 2 = 5” (2003)
46. ECD – “言うこと聴くよな奴らじゃないぞ” (2003)
47. ゆらゆら帝国 – “ソフトに死んでいる” (2005)
48. Digital Mystikz ‎– “Anti War Dub” (2006)
49. 七尾旅人 – airplane (2007)
50. Kendrick Lamar ‎–Alright (2015)
次. Beyoncé ‎– Formation (2016)

Noda writes about item 35: “RCサクセション was  like The KLF or Sex pistols or John Lennon, a little bit, that’s band leader, his name is Kiyoshiro Imawano is very famous here, and he has been anti-establishment singer in the j-pop field.
He is very important man for us.
If you [could] understand his lyrics, you’d like him.”

article mentioning Imawano here:

No 49. is ‘Nanao traveller’ a singer songwriter. ‘airplane’ is a track from a three-piece album “911 FANTASIA” which was a response to the 9/11 attacks.



This looks like a hip one. Interestingly, it includes a Cornelius Cardew composition. He was a big part of my life and is central to my latest book ‘Improvisation Rites’ . I also learnt new people, like Heiner Goebbels, and I looked up Red Krayola, and listened to them for the first time. The question marks indicate that I don’t know the track because it is in Japanese (Japanese readers can see photos of pages below)

01 ? (2007)

02. Heiner Goebbels/ Alfred 23 Harth – ‘Berlin Q-Damn’ (1981)

Evokes, for me, the horror of Kristallnacht 9-10th November 1938

03 ? (1991)

04 Cornelius Cardew and Scratch Orchestra ‘The Great Learning Paragraph 2’ (1971)

05 Charlie Mingus ‘Orignal Faubus Fables’ (1960)

06 Frederic Rzewski – 36 variations on ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’. Variation 13 (1975)

I nearly heard this in Athens in 2017 … but lost my iphone in a taxi on the way there. Earlier I had been having a meal with Federic and other members of Documenta 14 in a wonderful cafe in which he was frank in his views. Interesting to hear a US communist!

07 ? (1971)

08 ? (1968)

09 ? (1973)

10 ? (1994)

11 ? (1971)

12 The Red Krayola with Art & Language – ‘Keep All Your Friends’ (1981) from Kangaroo? album

Art & Language are a leading English Conceptual Art group. The Red Krayola experimental US rock band, who remind me of the ethos of the Scratch Orchestra, were formed in 1966 by Mayo Thompson. In 1996 They/he provided the soundtrack for a short film Japan in Paris in L.A.

14 Archie Sheep – ‘Attica Blues’ (1972)

15 Happy End – ‘Turn Things Upside Down’ (1990)

Now here’s an interesting one. This is a Robert Wyatt song done by an English 20+ person left-field political band formed by Mat Fox in the area of London I was squatting in at the time (1983). Their name is taken from the title of a 1929 musical play co-written by Bertolt Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann, with music by Kurt Weill. They played over 150 benefit concerts for miners during 1984 strike. Their last concert was in 2000.

BUT it is also the name, I learn, of a highly influential Japanese band 1969 – 72. Even known as the Japanese Beatles. They are credited with bringing the use of Japanese back into Japanese pop songs (from 2000?). So ‘Happy End’ is quite evocative to Japanese people.

Any Japanese readers who could translate items 01, 03, 07 – 11 please let me know!




Heavy-Metal! A-side selection by Love Kindstrand

Statecraft’s ‘Bloodshed revolution’ (Video blocked to me) pretty hardcore death metal? Going on other Statecraft tracks…

Firstblood’s ‘Conspiracy’.

“I’ve liked these dudes since I was 13 back in 2003. Damn I was an angry teenager. Their lyrics still ring true to this day though. Especially since I’m now a combat veteran.” Youtube comment

In the first English edition of Agit Disco we didn’t engage with Death Metal genres – did the genre seem too tainted with right-wing style anger? But I do recognise that Metal goes into that war violence and madness scenario that haunts humanity. Some of this stuff is a nightmare (for me) to listen to. But for people who’ve lived through anything from domestic violence, to rape, to gang fear, to actual imperialist warfare, then maybe it’s a mild echo of those realities that we have to find ways of healing from and emerging from.

It has been said that Heavy Metal springs from the echoes of the C20th British ‘Heavy Industries’ merging with rock and roll. It is, for sure, in its roots, a blue collar music. But in its celebration of noise it also relates to bands like ‘Test Department’ and Paul Burwell and Anne Bean’s art orientated Bow Gamelan Ensemble. Finally: One of the main good job options in the area I grew up in, if you weren’t singled out for academic upward mobility, was to become a metal ‘panel beater’.

So anyway, I wonder what ‘Love Kindstrand’ has to say about it? I see ‘First Blood’ are vegan and drug-free… and of course ‘First Blood’ is the title of 1982 Rambo film.

AA-side selection by Koya Suzuki

Noodles girl band  – NO FAN  2013  J-pop?


Les Rallizes Dénudés – White Waking (Cable Hogue Soundtrack Version)

Mysterious and fascinating Japanese rock band that formed in 1962 as a musical theatre troupe then became a Velvet Underground like band, with associations with The Japanese Red Army!énudés


This has some classic Agit Disco tunes… But the Fun Boy Three’s debut single ‘The Lunatics have Taken over the Asylum’ hadn’t really come to mind before in this category – but hey, yeah!  (I’d always thought of the phrase as a sort of mental health system survivors positive call to liberation!)

Moichi pic.png

Moichi Kuwahara seems To have a pirate radio show which is sometimes has a political bent. Shows are archived on Mixcloud.


(I hope you don’t mind me using your graphic here Moichi?)


Not all of the playlists are in Roman alphabet… If any reader can help with a translation of Yasushi’s playlist I’d be grateful.

‘Captain of the Ship’ album by the prolific Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi . Nagabuchi is known as a human rights advocate.

The new Agit Disco is published in Japan by ele-king

AgitDiscobook ele-King

Out from 野田努(ele-king)
150-0031東京都渋谷区桜丘町21-2 池田ビル2F

ISBN 978-4-907276-92-8
Three copies of the Japanese translation of Agit Disco have arrived. It is a Very beautiful edition! Superb book design!
All in all much more comprehensive and complex than the British edition. I’m impressed by the footnotes they have added to each playlist which I can only imagine they make the esoteric, mostly London network, nature of it accessible to a wider audience in Japan. These notes make it a valuable cultural history of a period of the London music/art underground, as well as the more international Anglophone references of the playlist contents.
The 10 ‘bonus’ Japanese selector playlists are a great idea. They are in a section at the end of the book that is printed on cream paper. There is some English so I can read most of the tracks have been chosen. I’ve put images of these above this post. (or click on the selector’s names below)
They have used my (new) long Afterword which gives update agit disco tunes that drifted across my media screens from 2008 though 2016. Lots of links to eg ‘Music of the miners Strike’ mix by Neil Transpontine.
The book is in black and white but they used the CD graphics with the original playlists to funky effect. Fragments of these graphics are used in a collage form to create the cover design with a woodcut/screen print look. There is an orange silk place-keeping ribbon which reflects the orange splash used on the cover. All very cool.
I’m SO pleased with the result.

The new Japanese selectors are:
Hiroshi Egaitsu, Kizu Tsuyoshi, Kurihara Yasushi,
Kuwahara MoichiSakamoto Mariko, Koya Suzuki with Love Kindstrand, Brady Mikako,
Masato Matsumura, Yosuke YukimatsuItaru W. Mita,

Good that writers in Japan were actively engaged as selectors! You can follow the name link to my short comments on parts of their playlist and a photograph or two of their pages.

Its a  pity that the new edition couldn’t have included:…/french-agit-disco-2014/


but they are linked to in the afterword…

The new Afterword basically a concentrated summary of the agitdisco posts I’ve done since the UK book came out… here and on Youtube!

Agit Disco Japan cover art

Conclusion: Of course there are many other questions that may or may not have been answered by these new selectors. It seems that the Hardcore Japanese punk bands in the 1980s had a level of protest – examples are SS, The Stalin and GISM. Was/is hip hop and rap absorbed into J-Pop without any of the oppositional content of global non-commercial hip hop culture? Going back further, what about those early ‘hippy’ era experimental bands like Les Rallizes Dénudés?

The post-war peace settlement seems to have had a dark shadow of USA cultural imperialism attached to it. For instance, I understand that it was only around the year 2000 that pop songs were sung in Japanese. Perhaps such subtle imperialist pressures stymie working-class musics and are the reason that Japanese people have insisted that there is ‘no Japanese protest music’.

The original English selectors were mainly my own contacts with others added who were friends of friends. So the British group of selectors probably had some cultural values in common. I have no idea how the Japanese selectors came to be assembled or who invited them to contribute; I was not involved. Anyway the point is that, whether they knew each other or not, they have a completely new approach to the idea of Agit Disco. This adds to the genre busting diversity that was one of the values of the first edition.




“Darcus Beese OBE, President, Island Records and son of prominent British Black Pantheractivists, Darcus Howe and Barbara Beese, explains why music was critical to this movement and shares a selection of tracks which reflect this.”

This is what we used to call recuperation; notice the TATE branding! Its pretty full on though and in the context of a show that many people admire as including the most political work of the time. The w word oppression is used… I guess the Tate wouldn’t see themselves as ‘oppressors’ and it will be interesting to see if reviews bring class into the analysis.


Skepta is now top of the tree and his Konnichiwa album has protest songs (so says the BBC). But how long can you sing songs about being held by cops; when you are a slick hitmaker? The glamour, the people, the money, the need for minders that surround you… the busy schedule that steals your day away …. he may have got there by a DIY route and kept control late in the day. Will he be able to keep it real when its all red carpets and feigning models. I mean Puffy Daddy has run his own businesses for many years; there comes a point when DIY ceases to mean much. It was cute that just before his album started the Time Out rolled up this house and found it used as a storage place for his business. but even then he wasn’t sticking stamps on himself like wot real DIY publishing means.

How long is he gonna rap “The feds wanna shift man / Wanna put me in a van / Wanna strip a man / I ain’t a Chippendale / Wanna strip a male / Put me in a prison cell / Got me biting on my finger nails.” with any conviction?

The analysis will have to get more political, more theoretical, more abstracted from his personal situation. And probably threatening to his own pro feet ability…

Can integrity survive success? Can a radical message survive institutionalisation or being framed on corporate media?

But for now Ok this Tottenham boy wants people to ‘shed preconceptions’ that’s not bad thing. I’m reading Mike Hales book on ‘Thinkwork’ from 1980 and he had this idea of ‘pre conceptualism’ and it set me thinking about whether cultural works can reach out into that pre-idea stage of thinking. There’s a hope music or art might be able to get past the normalisation of our thinking as it enters onto cultural or intellectual platforms… But to do that it would have use very undercapitalised platform, autonomous underground venues, collectively run shows, illegal shebeens maybe, but not a gallery. How is it done? How is it done?


for more thoughts in this vein see my now FREE ebook…

“A Nigerian singer known for singing about corrupt politicians has been found five days after he was kidnapped.”BBC 29 June 2016

This song, ‘Gyara Kayanka’, is the reason he was kidnapped and threatened. Ado is from the state of Adamawa and I think the song is in the Hausa language. Anyone have a translation of the lyrics?