In the west, album anniversaries are typically celebrated with a reissue, certainly, and usually some manner of remaster the benefits of which may or not be audible but which will certainly be used to justify a bump in MSRP of said reissue. Occasionally, there’ll be a full remix of the album by someone with credentials but not involved in the original recording to give a fresh POV on the album. Those seem to only come in expensive box sets.
Something I’ve noticed in exploring the world of Japanese, releases, however, is that they take it a step further and celebrate the record by obliterating it, which is to say they go back and re-record the album entirely, Taylor Swift-style. I noticed it first when getting into Iwate trio Plastic Girl In Closet whose 2014 releases Eye Cue Rew See and White Loud were re-released in 2022 as “remakes”, which they described as “Re-edited / re-recorded / re-mixed based on the recording data of the time. It will be reborn as a new work with current interpretation,” so probably a combination of old tracks and new ones. I gave the original and new versions a side-by-side listen a while back and they certainly sounded different enough to count as separate entities. However the originals seem to have disappeared from streaming between then and now, so the sacred timeline now only acknowledges the new one, unless you go out and buy the original CD.
But we’re not talking about Plastic Girl In Closet (yet, at least, but I guess we also are). This is about Tokyo Shoegazer, whose 2011 debut Crystallize is kinda perfect but whose discography gets fuzzy after that. From what I gather, a second album Turnaround was self-released in 2013 but after a fair bit of personnel turnover, they called it quits in 2014. That may explain why the existence of Turnaround is almost apocryphal, available only as a YouTube stream. It’s not as majestic as Crystallize but still has its delights.
Tokyo Shoegazer reunited in 2019 – guitarists Kiyomi Watanabe and Yoshitaka Sugahara and drummer Hiroshi Sasabuchi – and released Moonriver Playground last year and maintain a decent slate of tour dates within Asia. But amidst a string of show news on their socials last week came the unexpected announcement that Turnaround was being completely re-recorded with a number of guest musicians for a 10th anniversary release, and that would be coming out on December 15. Accompanying that announcement was a video of the refreshed opening instrumental recorded in-studio. I don’t think enough people have heard the original for there to be any particular outrage over the re-recording, though I’m curious how the vocal tracks will sound, as the original still featured Crystallize vocalist Yuki. But mainly I’m excited for the opportunity to buy another Tokyo Shoegazer record, even if it costs me way too much to get from Japan.