Back Ground Music by BGM

BGM, which I assume stands for Back Ground Music is the work of Japanese electronic producer Takayuki Shiraishi. He takes his influences from the worlds of post-punk, new wave and krautrock. Back Ground Music is one of the most sought after LPs in Japan. Fortunately this reissue will make it significantly easier to find.

Staff note from Jamie:
Making it slightly difficult to review this record, somewhat unfortunately, is the fact that (for the time being, at least) there are scant sound-clips available of this record. However, 'Back Ground Music', attributed to the artist BGM, is the work of Japanese electronic producer Takayuki Shiraishi. He's something of a living legend in his home country is Takayuki and I'm beginning to understand why (as well as the reason the original pressing of this LP is one of the most sought-after pieces of vinyl in Japan). Takayuki here successfully blended his loves of post-punk, new wave and Kraut-rock; the results are as wide-ranging as you might be expecting, with a BPM spectrum to match. Some high energy numbers here mix with some skulking plodders by way of contrast, often with a range of electronic sounds to complement, ramping up the bezerk-ometer immensely. Huge fun, and nowhere near as expensive as those OG copies floating about on good-ol Discogs! :-)

Vinyl LP £29.49 STUDIOMULE24

Reissue LP on Studio Mule. Remastered from original tapes Kuniyuki Takahashi.

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Back Ground Music by BGM
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7/10 Fred MG 17 October 2019

The reissue of BGM’s Back Ground Music represents something of a coup for the ever-impressive Studio Mule. This 1980 LP was the first step on the journey of acclaimed Japanese experimentalist Takayuki Shiraishi. Though the label recently put out Missing Link, a compilation on Shiraishi’s unreleased work from later in the 80s, Back Ground Music is the real mouthwaterer - put out on a limited run on first released, the record’s reputation has grown in subsequent years to a point where copies now regularly fetch megabucks on the second-hand market.

In the vein of many contemporaneous post-punk records, Back Ground Music is a terse album that resists easy classification. Curious loops spool out on tracks like ‘And’, with Shiraishi often drenching the background sound in warehouse-grade reverb. The industrial style being espoused at the time can certainly be heard here - the spirit of Throbbing Gristle is strong - and a line can be drawn between Back Ground Music between NYC's no-wave explosion and Hospital Productions sound that would emerge a few years later. The most direct cuts on the record (‘In Put’, ‘Neo Dancer’) also have something of Guerilla Welfare's groove-punk fervour about them.

There’s a lot of wilful obfuscation to Back Ground Music, something that could become waring over the course of nine lengthy tracks. However, the basslines remain winning throughout, and even at its most obtuse this is a fine example of post-punk boundary-breaking.


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