Rating: 3 stars
Japrocksampler was an informative introduction to the development of popular music in post war Japan. Cope has produced an interesting exploration of Japanese post war political, economic, and social history as context for the cross-pollination of Japanese and Western experimental music via jazz, rock and pop. Cope’s tastes take priority, naturally, and the focus is on experimental and psychedelic music, with Japanese rock and pop almost dismissed as being superficial and slavishly copyist. He’s kinder about jazz, particularly in the creative collaborations between German and Japanese composers, and I’m now aware of more Japanese and German jazz musicians from the 60s and 70s than I was before.
Cope is passionate about the subject and, for the most part, writes well. His style is very engaging but sometimes he presumes the reader has as much in depth knowledge of the subject as he does and other times he repeats stories as though the reader won’t remember them from a dozen or so pages back. The book is also in need of some serious editing to remove typos and mis-transliterations of Japanese words.