It’s accessible that you already own some of the EM Annal annal afterwards animate it. While the characterization consistently has beautifully packaged products—around bisected of which accept been advised by Emura himself—the beheld presentation is consistently focussed added on the agreeable than the label.
“It shouldn’t be about the label,” he said. “What I do is aloof some background, authoritative assignment really. What’s best important is the music, so I don’t apperception if bodies don’t apperceive my label. Best bodies don’t anyway!”
Though EM Annal is a one-man operation, Emura does get some help—the brand of Riyo Mountains (a DJ duo with ability in Japanese folk music), Soi48 (another DJ duo that specialises in Thai gems) and Koya Abe (a artisan and the client of a specialised secondhand abundance in Tokyo alleged Noahlewis’ Records) all allotment their knowledge. But ultimately it comes bottomward to Emura’s taste.
“I aloof adulation alert to everything,” he said. “It’s been my addiction for many, abounding years. I adulation affairs annal and CDs, and I’ve been basically spending the accumulation I fabricated with affairs music on affairs added music. I don’t accept the admiration to do abundant else. As a characterization owner, you additionally charge to be acquainted of what’s out there and what the trends are. That’s a all-important assignment for my job. I accept the addiction to attending for weirder, drifter music, because I can’t get aflame with characterless being anymore.”
Emura’s antecedent action to alpha his own characterization two decades ago was business driven. “I started it about the time back almanac sales were at their peak. Everyone was affairs annal like crazy, and I was absolutely bedeviled with affairs them too,” he chuckled. The label’s aboriginal absolution was a CD copy of a 1970 anthology alleged This Is Us by the British bandage Harmony Grass. “Back then, CDs were priced hardly college than vinyl, so added flush barter were affairs CDs. Because I formed for a continued time as a almanac buyer, I already knew all the distributors. It wasn’t difficult to alpha my own business and advertise records. Unlike now, it was still actual cher to columnist CDs and book sleeve addendum in backward ’90s, so I basically had to compensate the assembly costs from the antecedent absolution to pay for the next. I had a ancillary job for the aboriginal few years, but in 2000, I absitively to apply full-time on EM Records.”
Emura’s access took a affecting about-face in 2003, back he had a near-fatal cartage blow about the time the characterization was accepting some momentum. “I did anticipate that was it,” he said. “I absent my branch and spleen—they were absolutely crushed. It’s a phenomenon that I’m still animate and am able to do what I do now. Until that point, I had a action to somehow accumulate the business and my claimed amusement separate, and I was absorption on architecture a acceptable business by putting out titles that sell, afore absolution the music I absolutely love. But afterwards my near-death experience, I realised I didn’t accept time to waste.” He laughed. “So I invested all the money I accustomed from allowance for the blow into my almanac label.”
Emura abundant on the candid moment he had in the hospital. “You apperceive how you don’t apprehend music in hospitals? Shortly afterwards the blow while I was still hospitalised, I went into the rehabilitation allowance for training, and there I heard Camille Saint-Saëns’s ‘The Swan’ playing. And afore I knew it, tears were active bottomward my cheeks. It was a actual able acquaintance I’d never had before. Music absolutely batten to me.”
He aggregate addition adventure from his time in hospital. “I had to go through assorted above surgeries, and I hallucinated from abundant anaesthesitic afore one of them. As I was pushed into the operation room, I said to my wife, ‘I apperceive there’s a huge almanac annal in the hospital. Please don’t balloon to ask the doctor area it is and booty me there later.'” He laughed again. “Isn’t it alluring what a almanac beneficiary says back he’s on the bend of his life?”
After his accretion from the blow in 2004, Emura afflicted the characterization logo and added an analogy of a animal affection about the characterization name—a comic-like delineation of beating advancing out of the heart, a attribute of life, extensive to an ear. “I ‘sampled’ this architecture from the awning of an acutely abstruse record,” he said. “I’m not gonna acknowledge what it is because that’s no fun.” Emura’s bulletin was clear: a acknowledgment of carrying music that comes beeline from the heart.
EM Records’ abiding breeze of about bristles to seven albums a year best up aloft entering this new phase, to seven to ten albums annually. It has accelerated alike added in contempo years, with a beginning appellation basically advancing out every month. “That’s aloof out of necessity, really,” he said. “In an ideal world, I appetite to accord anniversary appellation time to breathe and the barter a breach too, because not that abounding bodies can allow to buy endless of annal all the time, like in the ’90s.” With the latest releases of advancing Japanese ambient ambassador 7FO’s additional album, Ryu No Nukegara, and a copy of Japanese blithe folk music in accord with Riyo Mountain, blue-blooded Kizaki Ondo By The Kizaki Ondo Preservation Society, the annal cardinal stands at 179.
Among the 179 annal he (re)introduced to the world, I asked Emura to aces some of the best accepted ones. He mentioned 2016’s Yumi Kagura by Shigeo Tanaka. On the EM website there are comments from Awesome Tapes From Africa and Ben UFO praising this vinyl copy of a 1990 cassette band of Japanese religious ritual chants accompanied by assorted acceptable instruments. The 2014 copy of Angkanang Kunchai With Ubon-Pattana Band’s Isan Lam Plearn from Thailand, according to Emura, is one of the best admired annal from his catalogue. “This one was decidedly accepted in Europe,” he said as he pulled out British post-punker Brenda Ray’s D’Ya Apprehend Me!: Naffi Years, 1979-83. “Count this one in too,” he added as he handed me El Secreto De Las 12 (The Secret Of 12 O’Clock), a accumulation by Spanish beginning ambient bedrock accouterments Finis Africae.
What’s apparent about EM’s contempo releases is that there’s an accretion arrangement of anew recorded aboriginal music and Japanese hidden gems. There accept been albums by Osaka acts Synth Sisters and YPY, EPs by Germany polyrhythm specialist Don’t DJ and New Zealander bang ensemble From Scratch. “There were not abounding copy labels about back I started EM, but there are so abounding of them now,” Emura noted. “It all became anticipated with reissues. It’s 100 times easier to rerelease an absolute almanac than aftermath one from scratch. So introducing absolutely new music is added arduous and befitting things absorbing for me.”
I asked Emura one aftermost question: how do you ascertain the music you release?
“I aloof accept to music all the time,” he responded. “I accept to aggregate I haven’t listened to. If the alone way to accept to a specific almanac is to acquirement the vinyl for 100,000 yen, afresh I buy it. But in agreement of the amount of the music, I amusement every artisan equally. I accord the aforementioned altitude to the artisan behindhand of their profile. I accede it important for me to accumulate my aerial as bias-free as possible. I don’t attending for annal in chase of my new product, but back you accept been affairs and alert to so abounding records, you advance a acceptable anticipation for a arresting one. I’m consistently able to appear beyond the music I’m destined to appointment at any moment, and practically, the alone way to analyze it is by listening. It’s music. You charge to listen.”
Experience the across of the EM Annal annal with this alternative by the Osaka DJ Yousuke Yukimatsu, who address out some characterization highlights.
Tracklist / Nora Guthrie – Emily’s Illness (EM1083) Haku – Hawaii’s Own (EM1136LP) The Sakai Ishinage Odori Preservation Society – Yose Daiko (EM1171LP) Jun Arasaki And Nine Sheep – Kajyadhi Fu Bushi (EM1176) Synth Sisters – I Am Here (EM1175LP) Roland P. Young – Twirling (EM1087LP) Yoshi Wada – Singing In Unison (EM1109LP) Finis Africae – Thunder Men (EM1118LP) Angkanang Kunchai – Lam Phloen Ramwong Lao (EM1157LP) Shintaro Sakamoto x VIDEOTAPEMUSIC – A Night In Bangkok (EM1158TEP) KUFUKI And Rifu Otsu – The Countryside Is Great (EM1172TEP) The Kizaki Ondo Preservation Society – Kizaki Ondo (EM1179LP) Tapes – No Broken Hearts On This Factory Floor (EM1146SP) Don’t DJ – Forest Bodies Plot (EM1161TEP) YPY – RIP 505 (EM1153DEP) Synth Sisters – Until The Apple Breaks Up (EM1175LP) 7FO – Ryu No Nukegara (EM1178LP) Syntoma – I’m The Worst Of The Worst (EM1134LP) YPY – Gazing Beat (EM1153DEP) Compuma Meets Haku – Compuma Re-edit (EM1141MLP) Finis Africae – Magical Ceremony In The Pond (EM1118MLP) Noahlewis’ Mahlon Taits – Valley Of No Return (EM1100LP)
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