PORTRAY HEADS - "PORTRAY HEADS" 2xLP
In a meeting made in the stars, fellow NY underground archivists/curators Minimal Wave and Bitter Lake Records have joined forces to release this masterwork; the entire recorded output of Japanese underground synth-pop trio Portray Heads.
Established in 1984 on the Japanese island of Shikoku, Portray Heads released two 7"s, with two different vocalists, in their two year lifespan. These two LPs collate all those recordings, alongside newly recovered demos of the band in both lineups.
Influenced by both Euro new wave and the their Japanese technopop contemporaries, the sounds of Portray Heads reflects this by veering wildly from playful synth-pop jingles to angular darkwave with ease. All the while fronted by two equally excellent female vocalists.
Portray Heads will appeal to those freaks like us obsessed with the apparently bottomless well that is the Japanese underground during this period, as well as those who enjoy the current output of artists like Nun or the equally expansive Minimal Wave catalogue.
Lulu's is also proud to be stocking in large numbers all present and future releases by both Minimal Wave and Bitter Lake Records in perpetuity. They're some of the best in the game, and we're stoked to be able to make their releases more easily accessible on this side of the globe.
MINIMAL WAVE/BITTER LAKE:
While remaining predominantly unknown except amongst die-hard collectors, Portray Heads has proven to be one of the best kept secrets of the Japanese electronic underground. Tohru Tomita (冨田徹) formed Portray Heads in 1984 in Matsuyama City, the capital of Shikoku Island, with fellow band members Ayumi Tokunaga (徳永あゆみ) and Mikiharu Doi (土居幹治), just after dissolving his solo bedroom project Onanie Bazooka. The trio entered the studio in August that same year and recorded several songs. Two songs from the recorded sessions were released as the band's debut 7" single, a flexi entitled Elaborate Dummy — a lost classic — on Kobe's now defunct Kageroh Records.
Soon after the Elaborate Dummy release, Ayumi, the band's vocalist, departed and Portray Heads worked on recruiting a replacement. They tried several vocalists until, finally, they found Yumi Ochi (越智由美) - who was a perfect fit. She joined the band and the trio went back into the studio between February and April 1986 and recorded Oratorio, their second and final release. They self-released it on cassette in October and as a 7" in December that same year.
As the band was based in a conservative and isolated city, Portray Heads rarely had the opportunity to perform live and eventually disbanded with their two releases quietly becoming collector's items. Upon making contact, band leader Tohru Tomita revealed to us two unheard demo recordings, one from each vocalist featured on their records. These recordings are not merely disposable studio experiments, but actually rival or surpass in quality the group’s released music. With this double LP, Minimal Wave Records and Bitter Lake Recordings present to you the recorded discography of one of the most overlooked and underrated minimal synth projects coming out of Japan in the 1980s.
Tracks A1-A2 from Elaborate Dummy 7" flexi, released on Kageroh Records in 1985.
Tracks A3-A5 from Oratorio CS/7", released on Label Land 4th in 1986
Tracks B1-C3 from first unreleased demo recording.
Tracks D1-D3 from second unreleased demo recording.
The release is limited to 999 copies pressed on 160 gram black double vinyl, presented in a high quality matte gatefold jackets featuring a rare photograph and the story behind the band.
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