L Holy Letters CD
L Holy Letters CD
Deluxe reissue of impossible to find all time folk/psych classic recorded in 1989/1990 by Hiroyuki Usui (Ghost, Fushitsusha, Marble Sheep, etc). Holy Letters beautifully captures the spirit and substance of a half-dozen of the key sub-underground pillars of sound.
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, I'm not doing it justice.
Holy Letters was self-released by Hiro in 1994, primarily to be given away to friends. A handful of copies were sold via Tokyo's Modern Music/PSF operation in Japan and by Forced Exposure in the US, but other than that, it disappeared completely. Hiroyuki Usui's 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 70's/early 80's), A-Musik (with the legendary vocalist Phew), Marble Sheep, and several other true-underground outfits.
The CD includes the entire CD and 7" from the original package, plus an alternate version of "Troll" from the original sessions. The reissue is in a gatefold folio with a 20 page booklet including previously unpublished photos and new liner notes by Hiroyuki Usui and Ben Chasny (included in both Japanese and English). 14 Tracks, 69 Minutes
All selections composed and arranged
by L except "Cold Was The Ground" composed by Blind Willie Johnson, arranged by L
All selections performed by L: 6 String Guitar (2, 5, 6, 8, 10), 12 String
Guitar (4, 7, 9, 11), Bottleneck
Guitar (1), Prepared Guitar (3),
Bass Guitar (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10),
Vibes (1, 2, 6, 7), Drums (2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10), Assorted Percussion (3, 9, 10, 11), Tam-tam (3, 4), Organ (5, 7, 10), Harmonium (6), Didjeridu (4, 5)
Electric Guitar on "Troll" by Taku Sugimoto, Cello on "Holy Letter" by Masaaki Motoyama