Friday, December 25, 2009

Seasons Greetings from The TenGooz

Another year is coming to an end, and The TenGooz would like to wish all you, our faithful listeners around the world
a very happy and healthy new year!

Like many TenGoophiles you can add atmosphere to your holdays by playing the TenGooz song- Wish You. which some people feel is the best Christmas song to have come out of Japan.
You can hear it at:

Thomas is back with his family in England and Michael is at the family farm in Germany.
Still, Hase G and I will be up at the studio doing the final mixings for our upcoming album which will feature 10 tracks.

Merry Chrismas

Avi and THe TenGooz

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Visit to Chikusei City ( formerly Shimodate) brings back memories of our old song

Everything passe. Everything changes. In Japan , over the last few years, as a part of a general
RESTRUCTURING, many PLACE NAMES have even been changed. This is quite frustrating, as it took me a while to master the KANJI of all of the local
towns and cities, and when I finally did, they went ahead and changed them all!
Anyway, the other day I found myself in Chikusei City, which used to be Shimodate ( 下館), which was the subject of a song, of the same title, written by Tom Debor,
Ascelin Gordon, and myself ( Avi Landau), when we still Xenophonia, the ancestor of the TenGooz.

You see, Tom used to live way out in Shimodate, and this song was conceived by him during the long drive back home. Tom, in fact, wrote the lyrics and the music to the A pattern of the song, while Ascelin and I created the rest.

We recorded the song in the tatami room of my house in Konda, with Ryutaro Kawakami on the sax.

Have a listen here

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Works On Paper- Thomas` Latest Exhibition, Opened Today!

Tengoophiles are naturally familiar with (and LOVE) Thomas Mayers` work on the guitar.
For a more complete understanding of Thomas the artist and the man, you had best have a good look at his latest
paintings, now on exhibit in Ushiku ( through Oct. 11). I have written more about it all at tsukblog:

Tengooz fans (or anyone else), shouldnt miss it!

Thomas Mayers Shows His New Works

TenGooz Flashback-Interview on Radio Adelaide

after recieving glowing reviews in the local press we were invited for an interview at
Radio Adelaide. In this picture are trombonist EXTRAORDINNAIRE Sagara Kenya and guitarist ( with the Tengooz, Xenophonia, Geronimo,
The Brown Hornet etc) Ascelin Gordon. I (Avi Landau),took the picture!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Suspicious sawed-off branch found among the debris of a fallen goshawk nest in NAKANE KONDADAI

Tragedies Of Nakane Kondadai Woods and Lake Kasumigaura Bird Killing Nets Linked By WBS of Japan Involvement

The tragedy of Nakane Kondadai is just starting to get the attention it well deserves.
Despite the presence of VALUABLE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES representing various major periods of Japanese pre-history and early history,and despite the presence of nesting goshawks (a protected species),the chairman of the Nakane Kondadai
Development Association ( and one of the area major landowners) has been fighting to push approval of the project through. This means that for an American suburban style housing development, which is being heralded ( to push prices up, of course) as GREEN DEVELOPMENT,huge tracts (by Japanese standards) of forest and meadow will be
cut down and paved over.
How did the the Kamizakai landlord get around the proven presence of the protected Goshawks? He did what any developer or businessman with bird protection law troubles has would do- call the Wild Bird Society of Japans Ibaraki Prefecture Director!

For a fee he will play the role of FIXER, and make sure the project passes through- never mind what happens to the birds.
The thousands of water birds ( and a few birds of prey, as well) who starve after being ensnared by the wing or foot in Kasumigaura`s nets are a testiment to his work.

Any one who complains to the authories or organizations such as the WWF are immediately referred to the Wild Bird Society, where Mr Ikeno, our villain, is quick to answer that THERE IS NO PROBLEM BECAUSE HE IS LOOKING INTO THE ISSUE! Well, he never did release the results of any study- he just hoped that no one would raise a voice.
Fortunately for the birds- the media is now starting to take notice.
Here are two articles, one from the Japan Times and the other- Metropolis, which are helping to let people know what is really going on.

Lets keep the articles coming and let the world know what is going on!

Avi Landau

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thomas Mayers Makes Music For Dance Event

The TenGooz multi-talented guitarist is making the music for a dance event to be held in Chiyoda-Village this month.
Check out one of the rehearsals here:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Old TenGooz Video Clip URL

Oops ! I forgot to give you the URL for the clips I mentioned
below. Here it is:

Old TenGooz Video Clips!

Greetings TenGoophiles where`re ye be!
I was just sent a link to a site with some VERY OLD TenGooz
video clips. They are of interest because as you watch them you realize the lyrics, which you have all grown to love so well, had not yet been set at that time
and Im just improvising most of the time. This practice session was taken at Jon`s old SOUNDPROOF room. Sure brings back memories.

for more of my recent writings check

Avi Landau

tryin to stay GROUNDED IN GROOVE

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Save Tsukuba`s and Japan`s Woods !

Hello there TenGoophiles, wherever you are!
This is Avi, hoping you are having a great summer, or to our fans and friends
in the southern hemisphere, a delicious winter.

The Tengooz are in studio now, working on TEN SONGS, seven of then new.
we hope to have then finished by the end of this month, but who knows.....

Anyone who enjoys the TenGooz music should know that my house, affectionately known as the ICE PALACE , located in the midst of the
splendid NAKANE KONDA-DAI WOODS has had a deep impact on our work, dating back to the XENOPHONIA days.
These woods are now in grave danger of being turned into a motorway and American suburban style housing development.

Please read more of what Ive written about the problem at:


and of course you can check out a related TenGooz classic- Ice Palace at:

If you are concerned about what you read- PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD about what is going on!


Avi Landau

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thank you TenGooz!

Dear TenGooz!
after only two years as a Saxphone player with the TenGooz I have to leave Japan already!
What a great time - it was truely one of the lucky encounters of my life to come across the TenGooz right after arriving in Japan. 
Thanks to all former and current TenGooz members for their unique creative contributions to our great pool of original songs. And special thanks to Avi and Hase-G for keeping the TenGooz alive through the years - to the benefit of me and many music lovers around the globe. 
I am looking forward to hearing more from the TenGooz. Keep grounded in groove. 

With Windows Live, you can organize, edit, and share your photos.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lots of recording and a big beachside for The Tengooz before Michael Frei Leaves for Germany

Its been a hectic and heavy-hearted summer for the TenGooz as we
frantically try to get as much material recorded before saxophonist
Michael heads back to Europe. We have been going up to the NIJI NO ONGAKUDO studio,and have been piecing together
EIGHT completely new TenGooz tracks in various genres, but all with that distinctive TenGooz sound.
Tomorrow night- Saturday July 17th, we will be back at one of our favorite venues- NALUS TOYBOX - an atmosperic hangout for surfers,
beach-bums, and music lovers. Starting time will be 8:30 pm.
We hope to see you there- it should be an exciting show and there could be no more comfortable place to be than by the Pacific Ocean on a July night.
Hassan should be there to percuss and there should be a big all-night drumming session after we finish our sets.


Thursday, July 02, 2009


The TenGooz have never put any video footage online, but sometimes others have uploaded little clips or used our music to accompany a short film.

An interesting work which has just come to our attention was created by a video artist in Italy.
He used our song TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

Please check it out and send comments. You can see it at:

And remember- always stay grounded in GROOVE

Avi Landau

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beach Bossa Nova- A Song On The TenGooz G-strings Album

Though we recorded Beach Bossa Nova just this year, it has been with us for a long time.
Hase G ( Nodoka Hasegawa ) had come up with and been playing the bass part, in almost its exact present form even before our second Australian tour 2 years ago. I think that the vocal melody line, too, goes way back to that time, as what G played almost instantly clicked with me.
Obviously it took a long time for everything to come together with this piece, but I think that all of us who have been living with it for the past two years or so have grown to love it.
It goes without saying that without Michael Frei`s saxual instincts and Thomas Mayers inspired guitar playing things wouldnt have worked out as well as they did.

I'm embarrassed to say it, but for two years I had always improvised lyrics during live performances. It was only when we went into studio that I set down these words inspired by memories of camping out on the beach in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

As you can imagine we DO play this song during our beachside gigs at Nalu`s Toybox

Here are the lyrics

Beach Bossa Nova

Ship shape silhouette sunrise shimmers
on a Red Sea Holiday

your eyes, the surf and sand were all light blue

Sitting on the sandy shore I tap you
as the Bossa nova Plays
pass one earphone to you

IM Taiti Lo Ratziti (If I erred, its not that I wanted to
Ze Lo Het Lishol Its not a sin to ask)

Gam raglaich (my feet and my hands are fidgetting in the sand)
gam yadaich
mistabchim bachol

Lo chashsavti (I didnt think that when I loved I would go for a fall)
az ksheahavti
sh ani yipol

histovavti hishtivavti ( I have wandered around and fooled around
Halomot la hol and all my dreams have come to dust)

Avi Landau

Neji-Bana in Tsukuba

Nejibana at Tsukuba U

You Screwy Flower!

The summer greenery is overpowering. Big-blossomed, brightly colored flowers abound. Summer fashions are often eye-catching (or almost get your eyes pop out of your head!) . That is why it takes a little extra effort to notice the little, sometimes wondrous, details which are often right at our very feet.
In June and July, check the patches of grass along sidewalks or bordering parking lots, office buildings, etc., and you might very well find the very small, yet enchanting NEJIBANA (screw-flower, as translated directly) which derives its name from its unique shape.

The spiral can be clock-wise or counter-clockwise- Isn't the world amazing! I took this picture just beside the police station at the TX Tsukuba Center Station.

Remember , while you're taking in the big picture, stop and check for the usually unnoticed details.

Avi Landau

The Tengooz

Friday, May 01, 2009

Revolving Door- a Song By the TenGooz

There are certainly few songs with such an impressive bass and drum intro.
This is another of our songs which generated out of Hase G`s bass creations. When I first heard him fooling around with what ended up being the opening riff to Revolving Door, I knew we had to turn this into a full song.
This way back, before michael joined us, at a practice session at the Song Cycle Studio in Tsukuba. Luckilly on that day I had my md player running so it was not lost for eternity as have been so many other magical Hase G Bassinalia.

The song took a long while to take its present shape, though the A pattern and B pattern were set pretty much at the first improv session. When michael Frei eventually joined us just after our second Australian tour, he suggested the key change into F, and with that
the shape of the song was finalized. The only trouble was my slowness in coming up with lyrics. When we used this song for the multi-media performance piece- Ki no Ballad, which we did at Capio Hall in Tsukuba, we used the instrumental version of this song as i led some kids around the stage imprivising on various sculpture instruments.
It was at this time that guitarist Thomas Mayers joined us and his special touch gave the song the full quality that it has now.

When recording the album G-Strings I finally stopped procrastinating and put down the lyrics under the influence of having read Joyce`s Finnegans Wake.

Here are the lyrics

Revolving Door

Big Bang clap roar cosmic soup pulls from the shore
Life sky land sea competition birds and bees
Riverrun shore to bend of bay earth revolves another day
Cities rise grow fall nothing new you know Ive seen it all

Its like a big revolving door
Takes you back where you were just were
To what it was like once before

Commodius vicus

Newton`s apple sudden squall
Stockcrash humpty-dumpty`s fall
Buddha Thor Prometheus Amaterasu Atman Zeus
Marzipan matzah dumpling noodles
Baked Alaska sushi strudel
Hunters gatherers city states
Theocracies and Shogunates and more

Its like that ol` revolving door
You up where you were before
And then you go through it once more

Commodius Vicus

Its like that Ol` revolving door
You know Ive seen it all before
We`re back to where we were once were

Avi Landau

Listen to Revolving Door at

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Willows and Cherry Trees Blooming in Tsukuba

Weeping Willows (Yanagi) In Japanese Culture

Greetings TenGoophiles! Lend me your ears!

The avenues and waterbanks of Chang`an, the great capital of Tang China (618-907) were often lined with willows (yanagi 柳, in Japanese), as these trees were believed to represent rejuvinative life forces and have the ability to repel evil and bad fortune. One reason for this is that their slender and elegant branches MOVE WITH THE BREEZE more actively than the branches of most other trees,thus connecting them with the bright and positive Yang (as oppossed to the dark and negative Ying). This notion was reinforced by the light color of the willows wood , its bearing leaves earlier than other trees in the spring, and the fact that it was believed to be an antidote for scorpion stings. For New Year`s, the residents of The Tang capital would hang a willow branch above their homes` entranceways to keep bad energies out. The wispy, misty green which seemed to float above the streets of the old capital in late March and early April as the willow`s leaves sprouted forth als!
o came to epitomize SPRING`S GREENERY, as exemplified by Su Tung-po`s poem-turned-adage - Naturally Willows Are Green (柳緑, in Chinese), and Flowers Are Red (花紅).

Since the Japanese Imperial Family and the aristocrats of the Nara and early Heian Period courts were enamoured with just about everything Tang, it is not surprising that the streets and watersides of the then new capital of the Yamato Realm, Heian-Kyo (today`s Kyoto), which took Chang`an as its model, were also lined with imported willows. In Japan, too, the wood of the willow was used to dispel bad energies and ALSO as an antenna to attract the Gods. This is best exemplified by the special chopsticks used during the New Years Holiday(yanagibashi 柳箸), which are made of the willows lightly hued wood and are narrowed at both ends (so that the gods can enjoy New Year`s dishes with you!).The Japanese, like the Tang Chinese, also decorated their homes with a willow branch, to attract the Toshigami-Sama- The God of the New Year.

The delicate green of the willows fresh leaves, were also thought to be the perfect match for the pink cherry blossoms which adorned the old capital in April. In the kokinshu anthology of ancient poems there is the tanka by Sosei (素性) which goes- MIWATASEBA YANAGI SAKURA O KOKIMAZETE MIYAKO ZO HARU NO NISHIKI NARIKERU- Looking out over the capital, the willows leaves and cherry blossoms blend to make a veritable spring brocade. The pairing of the two trees was also logical from a Ying Yang point of view, as the Yin blossoms are balanced out by the Yang of the willows.

As willows spread throughout the Japanese Archipelago (there are about 300 varieties including 15 in Ibaraki),they were not only utilzed as roadside trees, separating the stable part of the city from the fluid lanes of traffic, but can to be used to demarcate boundaries. Not only were they planted at the entrance ways to towns and villages, at the waterline along rivers and ponds (separating the terrestrial from the aquatic), around palace and castle moats( separating the common from the great) and at the gates to the old pleasure quarters (yu-kaku), but it was also believed that willows marked the boundary between the mortal world and the realm of spirits. Japanese Ghosts are said to often appear under weeping willows (no doubt because of the way they rustle and move in the breeze which can be extremely creepy at night!).

For me, it was surprising when I first learned that weeping willows have flowers (or more precisely catkins) which bloom in late March and early April. Willows are either male or female and the catkins of each sex are slightly different. If you get up close to a willow, usually to be found by ponds or rivers these days, have a look

Avi Landau 2009

For more of Avi Article go to

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Hanami at UENO PARK

Look at the Etymology of the Word SAKURA For a Deeper Understanding of Japan$B!G(Js UNIQUE Celebration of Cherry Blossoms: O-HANAMI ($B$*2V8+(J)

Hello tenGoophiles!

If you are in Japan during early April, you will certainly hear a lot about, and most probably even be invited to, HANAMI, which is usually translated as CHERRY BLOSSOM VIEWING. , Unfortunately, this English description does absolutely no justice to the UNIQUE way in which the Japanese celebrate the full flowering of the sakura (cherry) trees. For while you might well have seen people enjoy the VIEWING of flowers or blossoms in other countries, or even watched Japanese people admiring OTHER popular flowers in Japan itself, nothing will have prepared you for the crowds, solemnity, excitement, ribaldry, and the INTENSITY OF GAZE, that you will find at so-called cherry blossom viewing parties, especially at Japan's famous HANAMI spots.

Most of this is done by revellers who are not just strolling casually by, but who have spread their sheets under the blooming trees and have brought sufficient food and drink. There is singing and maybe dancing, which more often than not is fuelled by alcohol. The blossom viewing itself is not only done from a distance, but also from way up close, as some of the small blossoms are examined and photographed carefully and individually. Hanami is NOT the mere viewing and enjoyment of beautiful flora. It can neither be said to be just a celebration of spring (though it is that as well). It is something moving and spiritual, with deep and ancient connections not only to Japanese history, as is often written about in English, but even more importantly, to folk beliefs (a point which is hardly touched upon in non-Japanese language sources).

I think that we can more fully UNDERSTAND and appreciate the experience of HANAMI, if we look at the etymology (origin) of the Japanese word SAKURA. I have found several Japanese language sources explaining that the SA of sakura derives from SA NO KAMI (田の神) or SAGAMI (田神), which is the traditional God of the Rice Fields. The KURA that makes up the rest of the word is from KURA, meaning seat, storehouse or vessel. In other words, SAKURA originally meant SEAT OF THE GOD OF THE RICE FIELDS. This is understandable, since the cherry trees, which in ancient times grew wild throughout Japan, bloom just before the farmers would begin the annual cycle of rice production. This synchronicity linked the blossoms and the onset of cultivation in the minds of the people.

For the farmers, who believed that after the rice harvest in autumn the God Of the Rice Fields would retreat to the mountains only to return once again in spring, the blossoms of the cherry trees were a physical manifestation of the God. When full bloom was reached the farmers would entertain the God with feasting, singing, dancing, revelry, and drinking (even in contemporary Shinto, the Gods are often entertained by music and dances and offered food and drink. Lewd dancing is also an accepted way of enertaining the Gods, as the Sun Goddess herself, Amaterasu, was drawn out of hiding by such entertainment- see The Kojiki). Being that the blossoms were believed to be divine , the energies emitted by the blossoms at the full-bloom point were also considered to be an elixir.

The farmers would also DIVINE (predict) the result of the next harvest by carefully and closely examining the sakura blossoms` petals. This is STILL done in some areas. When the blossoms had fallen completely it was a signal for the farmers that it was time to get to work.

In these ancient practices we can find all the components of contemporary HANAMI: the (sometimes raucous) partying under the blossoming trees, the careful examination of the blossoms, and the sense of reverence. We can now also understand why, in a culture which has been so strongly connected by the agricultural cycle, the SAKURA trees would have a special place among all other flowers and trees.

English language sources often suggest that because certain Japanese Emperors, especially the Emperor Saga, held elaborate and memorable HANAMI events that such a custom eventually became established among the people. Well, the Japanese folk certainly do have a tendency to try and emulate the culture of the aristocracy and the ruling class. However, this explanation fails to explain why the Emperors would have held these huge hanami gatherings. For me it seems natural me that the Emperors of Japan, who are also the HEAD PRIESTS OF THE NATION whose role it is to pray for abundant harvests, were merely doing what Japanese rice farmers had done since time immemorial- they entertained the god which was manifest in the cherry blossom. i think in the case of HANAMI it was the Emperors taking on the customs of the common folk.

Some foreign language sources also attribute Chinese origins to HANAMI.It is often explained how in the Nara Period, when Japan was indiscriminantly adapting any aspect of Chinese culture, the Imperial Palace highlighted plum (ume) tree, the most prestigious blossoms of the Chinese Court. The oldest collection of Japanese poems (The Manyoshu), also had many more poems about plum blossoms than sakura. This was of course was due to Chinese influence. However, one point that is never mentioned in regard to this is that though the Chinese appreciate the beauty of nature, they never celebrated any of their favorite flowers the way the Japanese did the sakura. And though due to their prestige in China, plum blossoms were highly regarded as a ornament for the palace and a subject of poetry, they were never treated with the Hanami rituals.

These same sources explain how, later in the Heian Period, when the Japanese were more confident to assert their own roots, the sakura became the most respected tree at The Court because many cherry trees bloomed in the mountains around the new capital at Heian-Kyo (kyoto). I think that what really happened was, that for a period, when Chinese influence was at its strongest, in the Nara Period at the Heijo-kyo capital, the Japanese elite considered the sakura, which had always been and still was the tree closest to hearts of the people, was considered provincial and unsophisticated. Later, when the capital was moved and the Japanese began to gain more confidence in their own traditions, the sakura was returned to its place of prestige even at the Palace and in the poetry books.

I do not mean to assert here that The Japanese today are conscious the spiritual roots of Hanami which I have descibed above. I do believe though, that all the ancient forms, and an unspecified sense of spiritual significance have been passed down through the centuries and live on today.

It is also important to note that in Japan today, the cherry blossoms still signify new beginnings — the new school year, fiscal year, etc. — just as for the majority of the population throughout Japanese history, the cherry blossoms signaled the start of the work year, the work of producing rice.

Ueno Park- April 5, 2009

If you have a chance to do Hanami while you are in Japan- DO NOT HESITATE- it is a UNIQUE JAPANESE EXPERIENCE!

Take it all in!

For another article related to this season see-

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Miracle- One of The TenGooz New Tracks

Many listeners have said that out of all the tracks on our new album, G-Strings, they liked the second track- MIRACLE - best.
Let me tell you a little bit about how it came to fruition.
Sometime last summer, a few weeks before our first beachside gig of the season, we toyed with the idea of creating a SURFING SONG for the occassion.
The next time we got together for practice Hase G (Nodoka Hasegawa)presented us with the song`s bass-line, in its entirety, almost exactly as we recorded it.

He said that he was inspired by U2 , of all things, and in fact, for a long while, we referred to this number as the U2 song. As usual with the TenGooz, when we find something that clicks, very quickly Michael (sax) thomas (guitars), A-Chan (drums) and I (vocals and lyricist)came up with what we eventually laid down at the studio.
The two points which took time to work out were the middle section, which ultimately became the fruit of one of michaels inspirations, and then the lyrics,, which somehow, veered away from being about ocean sports, and took up the topic of the 2008 presidential election (though referred to ambiguously).

In recording, it was Thomas` guitars which really give the some its special feeling and drive. The background vocals he laid down are also very tasty and he did them, improvised, in one take.

Here are the lyrics-


You dropped in out of nowhere, and went on to save the day
I dont know what I would have done if you hadnt come this way

Radiant and full of life you helped make right from wrong
I cant tell what the future brings, but Im sure glad that you came along

Because it was high time that we got back to reality
Dropped the fantasy and myths and face actuallities

You helped fullfill a yearning brought out the dormant songs
You can hear them in the distance- with each minute they`re growing strong

You burst in just in time and helped us to find our way
Like DEUS EX MACHINA in those old Greek plays

Of course we cant let out of sight that all good things must pass
I cant tell what the future brings but let`s enjoy this thing while it lasts

And though you had to head back north I`ll still often think of you
And how you helped to set things straight and turn the old to new

I hope that you dont mind if im waxing lyrical
But your comming this way`s nothing short of a miracle

Avi Landau


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The TenGooz at Frog- Avi , A-Chan and Thomas

Jon in a movie !

The TenGooz very own Jon Hicks alive, very well, and still doing his thing- now on the silver screen!

Though born and raised in Nashville, the heart of the country music world,
The TenGooz original drummer and Tengoo For Life Jon Hicks is Rock and Roll
incarnate. While he was playing with us, he was not only invaluable for his song-writing and arranging contributions, but he
help us play some gigs that more than a few people might not ever forget, literally whipping crowds up into a frenzy with his singing and drumming.

Unfortunately, after our second Australian tour, Jon had to move to Tokyo, leaving an unhealed wound in the TenGooz soul.
We have been forging on, as you know, but many of our fans wonder what happened to Jon. In fact a Yahoo Japan search of Tengooz will ask you if you were searching for
tengooz jon!

Well... the other day I got an email from our old friend asking when he could drop by, and we arranged for a short meeting last Wednesday night, Seeing him brought back a flood of memories, old the gigs, recording sessions, road trips, and all the rehearsals we used to have at his
sound-proofed MANSION.

Anyway, Id like to tell all you TenGophiles Jon looks great and is still doing his thing-based in Tokyo with a band called The Dirty T`s who you can catch at various venues in Tokyo. This winter they were hired by the Hilton Hotel in Hokkaido to be the house band. Resort room, food , snow-boarding,
and rock n` roll everday- Jon Heaven!

Another exciting bit of news- Jon we be strutting his stuff on the silver screen in a soon to be released motion picture- more details when I get them!

Thats all for now

Dont forget to check out our new album- G-String

Avi Landau

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In the GROOVE at FROG in Tsukuba!

Thomas had predicted a great gig, but at 9:30pm on the night of our scheduled LIVE at FROG in Tsukuba
it seemed as if our guitarists prophetic powers had failed him this time.
In fact, it seemed as if The Tengooz had hit ROCK BOTTOM. The problem was that Kawamura-San, the establishments proprietor,
had not yet shown up, and we were left out side the locked door is grubby basement corridor, with a mysterious large block of melting ice.

Other musicians might have felt that it was time to throw in the towel. But not the TenGooz! We know that to be GREAT you have to suffer like JOB,
and we took it in stride, or should I say we let it slide!

When the door was finally opened and we set up, Thomas earlier prediction actually came true.
The Five TenGooz become a single throbbing organic organism, in tune with the universe.

It goes without saying that we had a BLAST!

And, believe it or not, we have alot of new material just begging to be recorded!

Keep grounded in groove

Avi Landau

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Too much Information !

Greeting TenGoophiles!
I am happy to announce that the new, long awaited TenGooz tracks are now
available on-line at Jamendo.

Let me tell you first about the first track. Well, like most of our latest songs, this one began which a Hase G (Nodoka Hasegawa) bass riff that we all liked.It was one of the batch we had come up with just after we came back from our second Australian tour.
I is, as usual for a G-riff, very funky. I decided to make the song about drowning in a flood of information, because that is what I have been experincing more and more as we head on into the age of computers and the internet.
Lyrically, I then decided to explore other ways that the expression-Too Much Information can be used in English.

To tell the truth,however, I was very slow coming up with the full lyrics and while at gigs and rehearsals the guys had worked out the great arrangemnets and solos that you can now hear. The full text was only finished in the studio while we were recording.

Here are the lyrics-

Too Much Information

Ive got books and magazines piled high up to the ceiling
but Im ordering some more with their covers so appealling
Got 900 channels Im surfing through on my sattellite TV

There are sites in cyberspace tell ya how to build a rocket
got a set o` `cyclopedias that fit inside my pocket
I spend half the day just clearing spam from my email inbox tray

Somebody help cause there`s too much information round me
Feels like Im gonna drown
My mind is frayed by all this overstimulation I say
We`ve got to simplify down!

Got an on-line cd store carries 20 million titles
I just ordered me some grunge and some classical recitals
It would take two years just to hear the disks that
Ive got up in my room

Besides the journalists now weve got the blogger minions
Ive been staying up all night scrolling through all their opinions
but there is just so much the human mind is able to consume

Somebody help cause there`s too much information round me
Feels like Im gonna drown
My mind is frayed by all this overstimulation I say
Weve got to simplify down!

Whatever happened to the ancient arts of conversation
now it`s talk of body functions and bedroom revelations
Everyones airing their dirty laundry out for the whole wide world to see

And the scientists explain all the chemical reactions that make us love and hate
give us fear and satisfaction
now weve got cold equations stead of WONDEROUS MYSTERY

Somebody help cause there`s too much information round me
Feels like Im gonna drown
My mind is frayed by all this overstimulation I say
Weve got to simplify down!

Avi Landau 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fujita Tsugeharu in Ueno

Leonard Foujita Exhibit Doesnt give Complete Picture!

I have always been more deeply struck by the artist Tsugeharu Fujita's LIFE STORY, or more specifically by the way he was successfully able to create and recreate HIMSELF, depending on the particular time or place he found himself in, than in his actual works. In fact, the more I think about the way he changed costumes and political positions — PERSONAS — I realize that probably, it was this LIFE AS PERFORMANCE ART which was his greatest creation.

Born in Tokyo in 1886, the son of an army doctor, after graduation from the school which would later become the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music (Geidai), Fujita moved to Paris and went on to succeed there, spectacularly, where most of his fellow Japanese modern artists would fail, miserably. With flamboyant costumes (togas, dresses, large earrings…), his KAPPA hairstyle, and a hard core partying life style which he used to turn himself into an icon, he successfully exhibited and sold his works — nudes, cats… painted in an interesting mixture of Japanese and Western techniques — in the great capitals of Europe, and in New York. Among his acquaintances were Soutine, Modigliani, Diego Rivera, and Picasso.

Despite his unprecedented achievements in the West (while at the same time talented Japanese artists such as Saeki Yuzo were driven to despair, or even madness, by their failures to be recognized as true modern artists by Europeans who merely expected JAPONICA from them), some resentments or latent sense of racial pride must have been festering deep in his heart, as he returned to Japan in the 1930s, threw off his roaring 20s GAY PARISIAN facade, donned an assortment of military uniforms and started to paint for the cause of militarism and EMPIRE (it is ironic for me ,though, that the paintings that remain from this period are the most impressive of his works for me, especially his Last Stand At Attu, 1943).

When the war was over, Fujita did another costume change, designing Christmas cards for the GHQ, etc. His Japanese colleagues, however, could not forget his enthusiasm (which was very likely just another facade) for the WAR CAUSE and he was blacklisted by the Japanese Art Association.

Fujita escaped to New York (he was not granted a visa to France), where he had some success, but there too, local artists got together to denounce his wartime collusion. Finally securing his French visa (after one year in the US), he moved to an old farm-house deep in the countryside. He and his third wife converted to Catholicism and changed their first names — he to Leonard. He dedicated the rest of his long life (he died in 1968) to decorating a church with stained glass and frescoes, and to painting pictures of cats and children, all in a style quite different from that which made him famous in the 20s.

As someone who has also spent his life crossing back and forth between two or more worlds, I have always found Fujita to be a fascinating character. That is why when I saw the poster of the Kappa-haired, bespectacled, artist posing with a cat, announcing that there was a Fujita exhibition on, I dropped all plans, got on TX and headed for Ueno. I was excited, but also had a premonition that I would be disappointed. The poster gave no details of which of his works were being shown and I doubted that it would be what I wanted to see — a comprehensive retrospective.

It was not until I entered the Ueno No Mori Bijutsukan (why is this called the Royal Museum in English?), that I found out what the exhibition was about. It seems that in 1992, some large,forgotten works made by Fujita in the late 1920s, were discovered in some warehouses in the suburbs of Paris. Since Fujita was a recipient of the French Legion of Honor (and someone whose works will draw plenty of Japanese tourists) the local government had some of France's most skillful art restoration experts work on the canvasses which were in atrocious condition. These five works, along with his church decorations (as well as many pieces from his final period in the French countryside) and a recreation of his last atelier, are the central features of the exhibit.

Also included are some of his early works, in the style upon which his reputation was originally built (delicate lines, and a surprising use of white and gray, as opposed to other colors). For me these were the most interesting of those in this exhibition , as I found the restored works, as well as the later church works to be CAMPY (though that is only my opinion, as many Japanese visitors seemed to have been genuinely moved).

Unfortunately, the wartime works, so full of color, passion and historical interest, are not on display, and for me this this left a huge hole in the exhibit. I would also have liked to see more photos of the man in his various incarnations.

The exhibition will be on until Jan. 28th. If you are in Ueno and have an interest in the history of Japanese (western-style) art, or in how cultures can be blended in amazing ways by those of us who move back and forth through them, you might want to check it out.

More than the exhibit, I would recommend reading more about this unique character and checking out the works for ALL his different periods, in books or online. I also enjoyed the book Glory in a Line: a Life of Foujita, the Artist Caught between East and West by Phyllis Birnbaum.

See more of his works and get more info on the exhibition at

By coincidence, the day after I saw this exhibit, I saw a very impressive (more than anything in Ueno) early Fujita at the New Otani Art Museum. Sandwiched between the brightly colored works of his European contemporaries, the black and white nude is startling. This museum is small and there are no guards watching over you (don't you hate that?) so you can take your time and savor the small collection. Also, by strange chance, at the same exhibit were a few works by the Belgium painter Maurice de Vlaminck. It was he who told Saeki Yuzo (the tragic artist I mentioned above) to give up Western style painting, as a Japanese could only be derivative and academic when attempting to paint like Europeans. In the small room exhibiting Japanese works were two scrolls with Mt Tsukuba depicted in the background.

If you are in the Hakone area, or a Yuzo Saeki fanatic, there will be an exhibit of his works through early March at the Pola Museum.

Avi Landau

Sacred Shimenawa forNew Years

Happy New Year from the Tengooz

A Happy New Year to all you TenGoophiles out there ! Hase G and I were horribly sick for a couple of weeks
so the completion of our new recordings has been delayed. We should be ready to release them by the end of this month.

Since I recovered Ive been frantically at work, rescuing birds from the frozen lotus fields of Tsuchiura, reading lots (Ive just finished Ma Jian`s Beijing Coma and the Brief Woderous Life of Oscar Wao),
and taking in lots of exhibitions in Tokyo.

We hope that youve had a better holiday than I had. And once again we greatly appreciate your support.

Avi Landau