Les Rallizes Denudes: The Oz Tapes
First ever official reissue of the greatest band of all time*
2LP in a craft board jacket including a 12 page liner notes book with archival photos. Notes by Yosuke Kitazawa with an intro from OZ manager Minoru Tezuka.
* Remastered from the original analog tapes by Makoto Kubota
I’m losing it right now. Les Rallizes Denudes are one of my favourite collections of freaks: headed by head freak-flag burner and flyer Takeshi Mizutani, they blazed through music as a solid edifice way back in the late 60s all the way til they slipped back into the void from whence this infernal, unspeakably beautiful music came in the late 80s. Their legacy has been recorded in scratchy bootlegs, documents of their live legendary performances but never officially released in any form. Until now.
There’s a whole slab of pertinent information below from The Last One Music, the record label formed to finally officially excavate, remaster and properly archive this music (and also ensure people get paid and recognised). The reason I love this music so much has nothing to do with the facts, the mythology (OK, the mythology maybe helps a little), but it’s a deeply personal thing about how those frequencies, that unfiltered emotive rawness, the scourge of Mizutani’s world-ending guitar and how it can clean out the inside walls of your skull, elevating your consciousness into a sort of blissful, meditative state. Rallizes’ music does that; transports, lifts through the alternating nirvanas of noise and fragility.
The ever-proliferating bootlegs of Les Rallizes Denudes contain, perhaps, at most 12 songs. These titles (The Last One, Strung Out Deeper Than The Night etc.) are burned like a wild Mizutani melting guitar solo into fans’ minds but this release promises a previously unheard, bona fide treasure trove of the band at 1973. There are contemporary recordings on Youtube that document the group as they were: in full flight a feedback, fuzz-machine that pre-dates the peak Crazy Horse noise by 5 years at their most fragile or raw a conduit for Mizutani’s pure emotive outpourings.
But I’m not listening to them, I don’t think? This trailer is the sole audio I’ve got to listen to and, look, I don’t know, this band, at this time, might just have been the world. Angels falling from heaven channelling everything humanly possible through rock instruments. There are flashes on that trailer that are simultaneously the most clear and one of the most wild music this group ever leaked out into the material realm. That’s all we have to go on at the moment, but to say we’re excited is like saying Mizutani liked paying guitar. Though maybe he didn’t, even? There are times where he sounds like he’s killing it live, over the steadfast backing of his ever-suffering rhythm section. Whatever he and they were doing completely discorporates me, erases my mind and resets my central nervous system so I’m glad he hated that bloody guitar.
I realise this isn’t the cheapest record of all time but really, it contains the whole universe across four sides of vinyl.
“Operating out of a small upstairs space just around the corner from the train station in the Kichijoji neighborhood of Tokyo, OZ was a scruffy, DIY affair that lasted not much more than a year. Between June 1972 to September 1973, the cafe and performance space became the nerve center for the city’s burgeoning underground and counterculture set.
Hadaka No Rallizes, aka Les Rallizes Dénudés, the psychedelic noisemakers originally from Kyoto, was one of the marquee names at OZ. Led by the enigmatic Takashi Mizutani, the now-legendary band was one of the earliest bookings for the venue, and would ultimately close out OZ Last Days, a raucous five-day blowout to celebrate the short but wonderful world of OZ. To commemorate the occasion, recordings made at OZ were released as OZ DAYS LIVE, a private press 2LP set featuring Miyako Ochi, Acid Seven, Masato
Minami, Taj Mahal Travellers, and four tracks by the Rallizes—which constituted just a fraction of what had been recorded at the time. For nearly 50 years, these songs remained the only official appearance of the Rallizes on vinyl—until now.
With The OZ Tapes, we are finally able to hear the missing pieces. Stored on reels of Scotch analog recording tape, these recordings had laid dormant in storage for almost half a century. The previously unheard material reveals the Rallizes at some of their most unhinged and experimental, as well as moments of delicate tenderness—the two sides of Mizutani that would come to define his band’s legacy. Taken as a whole, The OZ Tapes help to demystify the band’s murky history, yet this vibrant and seemingly relatively innocent era only hints at the explosive, uncharted worlds into which Mizutani would lead the band.”