AKIRA BLAKE-KIKUCHI / Pan Records / Pre War Blues Laboratories

Pan Records / Pre War Blues Laboratories

February 15, 2019


Akira Blake-Kikuchi / Pan Records / Pre War Blues Laboratories
Chiba, Japan
Blues Guitarist / Blues Resercher

Is the music we listen to, a genuine sound? There are three kinds of rotations in the gramophone record. 33rpm, which means that the long-playing record rotates 33 times, 45rpm extended-playing record, and 78rpm standard-playing record. We unconditionally listened to music with these rotations. What if, these rotations were not correct? There’s an organization that works to collect and analyze from the materials of those days, restore the rotation of the record, and deliver the authentic performance and sound. It’s the “Pre-War Blues Laboratories”, lead by Akira Kikuchi. The impact of listening to the restored sound source is huge. The uncanny voice of Robert Johnson who met Satan at the crossroads makes me alive. We want to feel the true and authentic performance, because humans are creatures that feel. The dynamism of monaural recording, which collects sounds from a single carbon microphone and concentrates all the sound in the center, is impressive. A single, one-time recording, disregarding the misplay and going for the one shot. No matter how much technology evolves, it is no match for the old sound. Chasing for efficiency, isn’t music retrogressing? At any era, music points that to us. The origin of music is without a doubt, live performance. Now, let’s go on an exciting journey to feel the real “sound”.

Restore before:
Restored sound:

Pre-War Blues Laboratories Profile

A research and validation organization of American music history (record music) mainly between 1920s – 1930s. Especially aims to share the restoration work, engaged collection and validation of Blues from the era of short-playing record (78rpm). Historical interpretation of vintage guitars and string makers, research content of the speed of sound record rotation is open to public. Laboratory’s original theories such as Fret Pitch Theory, Trace Pitch Theory, Half Step Music, and Blind Blake Validation, Charley Patton Validation, Robert Johnson Validation, with the point of view that those musicians are the laboratory member musician, we analyze it with a perspective never before, making new information public. A Katakana description of an incorrect restored speed sound source “Hayamawashi” became widely known. Achievements of the laboratory have high evaluation from both in and out of the country. It is a gift to those who have interest and have the desire to know and feel the real performance in the roots of music in Jazz and Blues, and those who truly love music. (Cited from Pre-War Blues Laboratory website)

When I was admitted to hospital in 1st grade in junior high school after losing health, Anarchy’s “Not Satisfied” was playing on the radio! What can I say!? The impact of the words were astonishing.

My primary drive for music was that the music class in my elementary school was so boring (laughter). That reaction became the main factor for me when the punk music came, and knew that “that’s it!” First of all, the 10 hole harmonica (so-called blues harp) that we are taught in elementary school cannot be Bend so semitones cannot be played, it cannot Vamp so there’s no rhythm. We are taught that such boring this is music. I didn’t like that fact that we were been evaluated not being able to remember and perform that (laughter). Thinking about it now, the teachers couldn’t bend or vamp.

One of the methods to play harmonica. It’s a technique to lower the key. Draw bend, which lowers the key by inhaling, and blow bend, which lowers the key by exhaling.

One of the methods to play harmonica. It beats out the rhythm by exhaling and inhaling 2 or 3 holes.

When I was admitted to hospital in 1st grade in junior high school after losing health, Anarchy’s “Not Satisfied” was playing on the radio! What can I say!? The impact of the words were astonishing. The technique as music was low, it was easy to know that. But that power, I could feel the emotion exploding towards something. I started wondering what kind of music they were listening to, that made them start this kind of music. “It’s the punk band in England, Sex Pistols! I see! They made this music listening to this!” And next, what was The Pistols listening to? As I track back, it was rhythm & blues, and ended up at pre-war blues. It’s antichrist! I asked the English teacher. Kikuchi “Can you translate the lyric of ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ ?”Teacher “You don’t have to study such thing!”That’s what he said and didn’t translate it for me (laughter).

when I was in the 2nd grade in Junior High School I went to Anarchy’s live with my school uniform. The people I always see in the magazines are sitting right in front of me. I was so happy so I talked to them, they said “Hey! A junior high school kid is here!” and gave me their signature. I thought that they have a kind heart. Things that cannot be expressed neatly, or things that would end up in a trouble if you face it with a normal person, they just make music out of it and sing. When they got me, it was like they were shaking something deep inside of my heart. At that moment, I wanted to be part of it, I felt like I will be one if I go there, and I felt like it’s an important thing as a living creature. Since then, I became enthusiastic with music and guitar. My first guitar was the Stratocaster which was bought to me when I was in the hospital. I became obsessed with music in 7th grade, started guitar in 8th grade and was on stage after three months. I played the guitar everyday. I woke up in the morning and played it laying on the bed, went to the bathroom and played it, ate breakfast and played it, went to school and played it during lunch break, played after coming back from school, played it until I went to bed, it was like that everyday. I wanted to make a living off guitar, that was my only choice (laughter). Music is a fundamental for me.


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