Anonym album cover


Vanity Records

Even in the annals of inscrutable Japanese music, Tolerance stands apart as a particularly tantalizing enigma. It’s the handiwork of Junko Tange, who from the few breadcrumbs to be found online, was a dental student by day, keyboardist/ vocalist by night (though there is a bit of input from a similarly mysterious guitarist named Masami Yoshikawa). Her 1979 debut Anonym was originally released on Osaka’s Vanity Records, equally inscrutable as a record label in the business of selling albums can be.

The closest sonic parallel might be to fellow countrywoman Hiromi Moritani, aka Phew, who also embraced punk at its most spartan and rule ignoring. But that is about where shared affinities end. Tolerance lets gloomy keyboard clouds drift across “I wanna be a homicide,” and pairs shards of vocals and string scrapes with what could be a floor buffer on “osteo-tomy.” Imprecise bashing of a piano offsets the precise clock tick of the title track and menacing electronics of closer “Voyage au bout de la nuit,” each song sounding like an inchoate yet cathartic form of release of Tange.

Andy Beta

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