So I just got a new (second-hand) CD in the mail. Satori by Flower Travellin’ Band (released 1971), one of the most internationally acclaimed Japanese rock albums.
Flower Travellin’ Band’s 1971 masterpiece, Satori, reflects a transitional, yet momentous, period in the history of rock music…
The unique sound of Satori vividly captures the eclecticism of the ‘70s rock scene, and all of the different philosophies that were steadily evolving into fully recognized genres. Flower Travellin’ Band have taken all of the various trends that were prospering at the time, and unionized them into a collective mélange of power and atmosphere. Here we’ll find traces of early heavy metal and progressive rock, as well as nostalgic spectacles of florid psychedelia…
In fact, Satori is yet another endeavor in honing the formidable and ominous sound that would become the essence of doom metal. Indeed, Satori is a proto-doom, yet highly versatile, epic divided into five movements, each one more mystical than the last. This album is like a window into a warped and capricious state of mind, as the music flows along under its own agenda, while altering in both mood and style whenever it deems appropriate…
Guardian’s mini-review is equally enthusiastic:
The grand plan was to create something as daring, outré and dangerous as a Black Sabbath, a Led Zeppelin or a Yes, while still remaining powerfully Japanese. To those ends Satori was – and still is – a remarkable album; heavier than a bull elephant’s work boot, but still startlingly inventive, it blends edge-of-your-seat psychedelic shamanism with hair-shaking proto-metal rifferama. Ishima is a staggeringly good guitarist – Satori’s separate parts are built on his scorchingly bright lead and thunderous crunch, while Joe Yamanaka’s three-octave voice threatens – more than once – to boil the liquid on your eyeballs as it sails, somewhere beyond full-tilt, past your terrified earlobes and out into the ether.
Something I like about this album is that you can easily remember the track names (not that you’ll remember which particular track corresponds to which name).
- Satori Part I
- Satori Part II
- Satori Part III
- Satori Part IV
- Satori Part V
“Satori” means “spiritual awakening” in Zen Buddhism, and listening to this music promises to elevate you to a higher plane of consciousness.