Shinki Chen – Chen Shinki & His Friends (1971) review
Shinki Chen was considered the Japanese Jimi Hendrix. Chen is one of the most renown members in the japanese psych scene, Playing in such bands as the japanese psych supergroup “Food Brain” featuring members of The Golden Cups and the great Apryl Fool. They released sadly only one album “Social Gathering” Which is total psych/prog madness. Let’s not forget the equally classic “Speed, Glue and Shinki” who’s name comes from certain members favorite drug of choice, Now to the album at hand. “Shinki Chen & His Friends” was released in 1971 and to my ears stands out as one of the heaviest forgotten psych masterworks!
Within the first few seconds of the opening track “The Dark Sea Dream” you feel like you are in just that, A dark sea dream indeed. Filled with atmospheric backwards piano and backwards guitar that brings to mind a room filled with spirits from the 4th dimension. Have I mentioned this is heavy stuff? Once you have awoken from the dark sea dream you are hit with the fuzzed out bass of Requiem Of Confusion, It should be stated that this is one of the most psychedelic albums to be heard. The tripped out production techniques are at an all time HIGH on this album. Chen’s cryptic vocals fed through a leslie speaker set the tone for the rest of the album. Gloomy Reflections lives up to it’s title, Shinki is bringing you DOWN and you can feel it. The solo at the end of the song will give you an idea why he is thought of as the Hendrix of Japan. Once you are soaked in the phase that is “It Was
Only Yesterday” which to me sounds like it wouldn’t be too out of place on Electric Ladyland while we’re on the subject of Hendrix. The only thing that truly bugs me about the album is the terrible mix of the drums. Most of the time they sound like a cardboard box being hit from 100 miles away. Still that alone cannot take away the true genius of this album. One of the most psychedelic heavy albums of the early 70’s and sadly one of the most over-looked. If your ready for the trip, well dive right in brother!
Review made by Chris Oliver / 2012
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