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Seiko Ito: Mess/Age (1989)

“Mess/Age” is a hip-hop album by Seiko Ito (rap, vocals), a Japanese creator (actor/editor/novelist/rapper/TV personality) born in Tokyo in 1961.

After working as a magazine editor in publishing company Kodansha, Ito started working as a hip-hop rapper in the mid 1980s. He released his first album “Kensetsuteki (Constructive)” on Canyon Records in 1986 under the name of Seiko Ito & Tinnie Punx.

“Mess/Age” is his second album and first solo album, which was co-produced with Japanese musician Yann Tomita.

The original CD was sold as a limited release of 5000 copies on the label Astro Nation of File Records in 1989. It was reissued on CD by File Records with another jacket in 1995.

“Mess/Age” has been frequently mentioned as one of the pioneering works in the earliest days of Japanese hip hop.

It was mixed and arranged by Yann Tomita. Trackmaking by Yann Tomita (computer programming, tape, radio, turntable and instruments) and Izumi “Dub Master X” Miyazaki (vinyl beat of two turntables and vocals).

The album is composed of Ito’s Japanese rap with heavy use of rhymes and the backtracks samping jazz, funk, calypso and Italian film scores.

The sampling sources are: Sun Ra, Donald Byrd, Armando Trovajoli, Pharoah Sanders, Gary Bartz, Kool & the Gang, Jimmy McGriff, Mighty Sparrow, and others.

Ito’s musical style in the 1980s had a great influence on later Japanese hip-hop musicians, such as MCU, Kohei Japan, You the Rock, Scha Dara Parr and Utamaru.

In 2007, “Rolling Stone Japan” selected the album as number 53 on their list of the “100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time”.

いとうせいこう – Mess/Age
いとうせいこう 噂だけの世紀末
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いとうせいこう – Spooky Town Rappers