Like falling comets or aligned planetary bodies, once in a sacred while, a singer comes along who not only displays an amazing, life-changing voice--one that stops you dead in your tracks and takes hold of your soul for life; but also possesses a complex personality which is ripe with mystery, expression, and such a strong and pure natural beauty that a cosmic balance takes place where the artist's musical output becomes simultaneously intertwined with her life and the two run into one long blood flow. Please meet Jun Togawa.
Her musical career has been long and fruitful, but has mostly stayed within the context of her native home country of Japan. Even here, she is something of a cult hero. One quick browse through Youtube and one can get a glimpse of her artistic contributions to Japan's fledgling 80's music scene. Her songs musical content stayed pretty close to the norm of the times: keyboards, synthetic drum sounds here and there, bubbly bass lines, etc. Above all of this, Jun's voice rages and pushes forth with an intent that is both sweet, naive, and utterly sinister. One cannot avoid a feeling of strange currents in the air when her piercing cries set forth or her whispers, which have the power to poke tiny holes in the senses, invade the atmosphere. It would be enough to hear her angelic devils exorcising themselves through song to make me satisfied for life; but the extra golden points come from the fact that not only is she an amazing singer, but her personality is so free and riveting that I feel she deserves to be recognized as a national, NAY, universal treasure!
This is the SELF SELECT BEST & RARE 1979-2008 album and it's a a huge collection of music; three separate cd's with stuff ranging from her solo works, some jaw-droppingly intense live songs, as well as music recorded with a few of her other bands (Yapoos, Guernica, etc) and Jun's vocal range is so varied on some of these tracks. When I say "vocal range" what I feel I should be saying is "personality range" for it seems as if she takes the music, turns it into an outfit, slips it on, then oozes her own demons and vice and sweat and tears through it all to merge into one beautiful beast. Some cuts here float along with a distinctly festival-like feeling...one can picture swinging paper lanterns swaying in the breeze on a summer's night drinking party, other songs are far darker...slightly camouflaged by a subtle pop audio canvas and then to suddenly have Miss Togawa's dramatic words slash through the party with venom and bite. Still other songs presented here on this stellar collection reflect to the listener like a woman lying on a bed, surrounded by blurred photos of the same man, sticking bananas in her eyes...God I love that photo. Hell, if you haven't already started downloading at least one of these discs by now after reading this and seeing these amazing photographs I've posted...then there is no hope here for you, friend. Hell, I forgot to mention that there is a rare cover song here of Jun Togawa working through The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale"!
She has stood on her own for many years, gone through lots of personal hell (too much to really post here) and collaborated with and impressive group of colleagues (Haruomi Hosono and Otomo Yoshihide to name a few), and she has been a beacon of inspiration to a large group of artists. I'm proud to present this here and I hope you will enjoy this powerful body of work.
VIVA JUN TOGAWA!