Youri Kun - Renoir of the Toys
Wide-reaching collection of outsider psych rock n roll from Youri Kun, the alias of one time Les Rallizes Denudes member, Hiroshi Nar. There were also stints in Brain Police, Datetenryu, Niplets, Jokers, Molls... Just... a hell of a lot of activity. The LRD connection will obviously draw most attention, and of course there's shared context and aesthetic that makes it worthwhile mentioning, while there's no ignoring that this lengthy set featured three covers of their tracks. If that grand shadow band of the Japanese underground looms (and how could it not, let's be honest), Renoir of the Toys also tells its own important story, one of a singular and astonishingly prolific rock and roll spirit that evades simple classification. If i'm counting correctly, there's 16 albums under the name Youri Kun to draw from, and such a large volume of music over such a long period of time inevitably encourages experimentation and exploration. Nar has this uncanny ability to both embrace and kick against rock convention. Guitar solos abound, but not always in the right direction. There's melody and some kind of concession to verse/chorus structure, but then there's that voice, which is insouciant and renegade. A little like Christian Henjes or David Thomas, there's a simultaneous worshipping and decon-/destruction of the central tenets of rock and roll. We love it. We hate it. Let's pull it apart so we can put it back together in our own image. And Nar's own image is a striking one, self-determining, unflinching, and in its way, kinda classic.
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