Maru-Sankaku-Shikaku, whose name in Japanese characters is a circle, a triangle, and a square, were one of the lesser known early ’70s Japanese psychedelic bands. The group existed from 1970 to 1973 and was led by Sakuro “Kant” Watanabe, who had recently graduated from the Ochanomizu Design Institute, and who also played drums in the band Murahachibu at that same time. Other members included Kohji “Tohchan” Miura, Etsuko “Manager” Watanabe, Reck, Chiko-Hige, Juno, and Yoshiyuki Hida. This troupe of flower children would travel to various Japanese cities, living in tents and sleeping bags and often performing on the streets with elaborate face paints and costumes when they didn’t have a proper gig. Many of them weren’t musicians so much as conceptual artists, and their performances were very freeform and unstructured, involved a lot of theatrics and visual art disciplines as well. At this time Sakuro Watanabe, who was already publishing his own magazine, decided to release some records. In early 1973 the group recorded a couple different sessions, at the Gyoen Studio and at Tohchan no Kobeya. That year from these sessions the group released a single LP as well as a triple LP in limited quantities. These are all very improvised affairs, sounding like a more amateurish hippy version of the Taj Mahal Travellers crossed with Third Ear Band. Watanabe also released a conceptual 5th LP, — a phonograph without sound, — with one locked groove. The group disbanded later that year and Watanabe moved on to begin a Yoga practice. Reck and Chiko-Hige went on to form the avant-punk group Friction later in the 1970s. Though Maru-Sankaku-Shikaku were very obscure, the Captain Trip label eventually released the albums on CD in 2001, again as a single CD and a three-CD set.
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