Voices of Human Revolution
Various Voices of Human Revolution 2LP (Min-On, 197?)
A very odd record here. By the looks of it, one would think that this is some kind of Up with People thing or the product of a hippie Christian religoid cult. And on the surface, perhaps it is close to one of those two things or maybe not. The label - Min-On - is not just a label but an organization dedicated to spreading peace through out the world through music. It is also an arm of the Buddhist sect Soka Gakkai, headed by Daisaku Ikeda. Soka is the largest Buddhist sect in Japan and one that has political ambitions. It's New Komeito Party has a presence in the Japanese Diet and has formed alliances with the recently deposed Liberal Democratic Party. Still many in the Japanese establishment consider Ikeda and his party a threat and fear that if it ever gets in power it will make its brand of Buddhism the state religion. Ikeda says such an idea is nonsense, that the party's main goal is the promotion of peace. Western press has mostly taken the "Komeito Party as threat" line, going so far as to compare the 8 million plus member Soka Gakkai to the Aum Shinrikyo "suicide cult". My knowledge of all this is what you just read, so I will save offering an opinion. I will tell you that Min-On released at least one pretty far out record.
The styles on this record are pretty diverse. They range from Japanese traditional music to Up with People pop to American soul to wild jazz blow-downs. Some of it is pretty shitty, some of it is awkwardly funny, some of it is fucking great. Only a couple cuts seem to have anything to do with Soka Gakkai and if they are message songs, they are songs only to the sect's followers. There are also a few cover songs. The groups seem to be from all across the United States and, judging from the concert photos on the inside cover, I am guessing that this record was released in conjunction with some kind of Min-On festival.
I'm going to start you off with one of the album's chucklers, a message song of sorts. Please don't stop there. Check out every track and listen for at least a minute or two. Some of these are shockingly good.