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BBC Radio 3 Celebrates Japanese Music In New Series
The Quietus , August 5th, 2020 18:22

Nick Luscombe tells us about his new trilogy of radio shows

BBC Radio 3 is currently in the middle of a new series of programmes looking at the music of Japan.

Presented by Nick Luscombe of BBC Radio 3 show Late Junction, the first two episodes of the series explored the sounds of Japan's islands and countryside, and this Sunday (August 9), he turns his attention to the cities. You can find the programme page on the BBC website here.

"I've been visiting Japan since the late 1990s and have bought records and CDs on every trip," Luscombe told us. "From rare classical LPs, to early 2000s electronic 12" singles, '80s City Pop, various collections of avant garde music from the '60s and '70s to traditional and folk music. This new Radio 3 series provided an exciting opportunity for me to revisit my collection and also to discover releases that were brand new to me.

"I've been keen to cover as much variety as possible in each of the three programmes, so it was really a case of trying to get the musical balance right. That's been one of the many fun aspects of making these programmes, and thankfully my years of practice selecting music for my Late Junction shows came in handy!

"I have been making recordings in Japan since my first visit when I bought a mini-disc recorder and mic. I had quite a bit to draw from, including more recent field recordings from the north of the country. I also invited other musicians and field recordist friends based in Japan, including Yosi Horikawa and James Greer, to contribute so I was happy to include some of their material too.

"The tough part was cutting my discoveries into three hours of radio... lots of music that I wanted to feature couldn't fit into the final shows. My brilliant BBC producer, Felix Carey, kept me on track with this and made sure I didn't play too many '80s New Age tracks! There was a great deal of juggling and rearranging of tracks to make it work, and, as usually happens, it just seemed to work well in the end.

"I hope that by packing so much music into the programmes it will encourage people to listen more than once. There is so much music from Japan that is rarely heard beyond the country's borders, so I hope at least some of this music will be unknown to many people and that they will make some exciting new discoveries."

The third and final edition of Nick Luscombe's Sounds Of Japan airs from 11pm BST on BBC Radio 3 on August 9