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Artist: L
Title: Holy Letters
Format: CD + 7"
Label: CCD
Country: Japan
Price: $30.00
"Holy Letters is a barely-circulated masterpiece of deeply felt self-expression. Recorded in 1989/1990 by Hiroyuki Usui, Holy Letters beautifully captures the spirit and substance of a half-dozen of the key sub-underground pillars of sound. Working with guitar, vocals, vibes, harmonium, bass, drums, cello, field recordings, digeridoo, and more, Usui-san blends delicate folk, psychedelia, and experimental sounds into a mostly subdued but undeniably glowing suite. The layered but careful instrumentation on tracks like the epic "Holy Letters" and "Troll" backs the alternately plain-spoken and crooning vocals perfectly. Odd touches like snatches of throat singing and bowed vibraphone leap out of the mix at just the right time. There are overt references to the blues (the first track is an oblique cover of "Cold Was The Ground") - but other than the occassional slide guitar touch, the connection is overwhelmingly in the timeless feeling and atmosphere. I can hardly think of anything else like "Holy Letters," but suffice to say if you like Richard Youngs, Popol Vuh, Six Organs of Admittance, Tim Buckley, acid-folk, japanese underground - anything like that - this is an essential purchase. Really, Im not doing it justice. Holy Letters was self-released by Hiro in 1993/1994 or so, primarily to be given away to friends. A handful of copies were sold via Tokyos Modern Music/PSF operation in Japan and by Forced Exposure in the US, but other than that, it disappeared completely. The copies we have are from Hiroyukis original numbered pressing. The CD is accompanied by a two song 7" and housed in a beautiful oversized color gatefold sleeve. Hiroyuki Usuis name pops up in several intriguing places in the apparently still underdocumented Japanese underground lexicon. While he now concentrates mostly on Digieridoo (and his profession of garden design), he once played drums in Fushitsusha (late 70s/early 80s), A-Musik (with the legendary vocalist Phew), Marble Sheep, and several other true-underground outfits." - Bill Kellum.
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