Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Albert Ayler Trio - Spiritual Unity (1964)

| Avant-Garde | Free-Jazz |

Albert Ayler was the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s. He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved by using the stiffest plastic reeds he could find on his tenor saxophone—and a broad, pathos-filled vibrato that came right out of church music. His trio and quartet records of 1964, like ‘Spiritual Unity’ and ‘The Hilversum Sessions’, show him advancing the improvisational notions of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman into abstract realms where timbre, not harmony and melody, is the music’s backbone.

Spiritual Unity was the album that pushed Albert Ayler to the forefront of jazz's avant-garde, and the first jazz album ever released by Bernard Stollman's seminal ESP label. It was really the first available document of Ayler's music that matched him with a group of truly sympathetic musicians, and the results are a magnificently pure distillation of his aesthetic. Bassist Gary Peacock's full-toned, free-flowing ideas and drummer Sunny Murray's shifting, stream-of-consciousness rhythms (which rely heavily on shimmering cymbal work) are crucial in throwing the constraints off of Ayler's playing. Yet as liberated and ferociously primitive as Ayler sounds, the group isn't an unhinged mess -- all the members listen to the subtler nuances in one another's playing, pushing and responding where appropriate. Their collective improvisation is remarkably unified -- and as for the other half of the album's title, Ayler conjures otherworldly visions of the spiritual realm with a gospel-derived fervor. Titles like "The Wizard," "Spirits," and "Ghosts" (his signature tune, introduced here in two versions) make it clear that Ayler's arsenal of vocal-like effects -- screams, squeals, wails, honks, and the widest vibrato ever heard on a jazz record -- were sonic expressions of a wildly intense longing for transcendence. With singable melodies based on traditional folk songs and standard scales, Ayler took the simplest musical forms and imbued them with a shockingly visceral power -- in a way, not unlike the best rock & roll, which probably accounted for the controversy his approach generated. To paraphrase one of Ayler's most famous quotes, this music was about feelings, not notes, and on Spiritual Unity that philosophy finds its most concise, concentrated expression. A landmark recording that's essential to any basic understanding of free jazz.

Album Overview at Allmusic
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akaaka - Light On Dunhill Lake (2009)

| Ambient | Electronica | Drone |

Light On Dunhill Lake is a single produced digitally by akaaka. The side A is a beautiful blending of ambient music with electronica structures, using samples from a huge variety of songs and non-songs. The atmosphere is very dark and low-pitched, a characteristic that remains on both sides. Side B - A Glimpse Of Light (akaaka mix) - is a remix from an Achromatic Cold song, filled as well with lots of samples. The song acquires a completely different feeling from the original and sounds at the same time both bizarre and beautiful. The reversed sounds are completely frightening and the whole abstract sound-progression, completely outlandish, can affect anyone's mind and produce a pleasing-terror sensing.

Catalog: VB-03 (Velvet Blue Records)
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Stjerneheimen - Star Mountains (2009)

| Free-Prog | Drone Doom |

Stjerneheimen is a one-man project of lo-fi and totally improvisated bass works. Star Mountains consists of a mix of loud and ressonant bass lines, some cleaner free-prog riffs and a mysterious and sparse use bongo's percussion. The first part runs slowly and is the weaker part. The record gets stronger and stronger after Rise of Tutankhamun - which is pretty good song, but drags a little too much - reaching its peak at the amazing Goddess. The bongos are completely arrhythmic and are only found at some few tracks and completely buried under the drones. The highlights are Rebels Two/Three, Red Sphere - Birth of Berzerker and specially Goddess and the cover of John Cage's 4'33''. Overall it's a pretty good and unusual album. Its 51min of slow-motion drones and free-prog may sound strange at first, but gets pretty impressive with a deeper listening.

Catalog: VB-02 (Velvet Blue Records)
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To Everyone!

hope everyone have a better xmas than me haha

Derek Bailey - Pieces For Guitar (2002)

| Avant-Garde | Free-Jazz | Experimental Guitar |

What an unexpected treasure trove this turned out to be! Derek Bailey's earliest extant recordings, all solo guitar, none previously heard. Although still very much under the influence of Anton Webern, Bailey was already committed to the idea of non-idiomatic free improvisation, even if he arguably hadn't quite achieved that goal by this time. Compared to his work from only a couple of years later, these pieces are considerably more on the melodic and jazz-tinged end of things (he even comes close to quoting Thelonious Monk!), although even so, they certainly would have gotten him unceremoniously removed from most stages in 1966-1967. Aside from their inherent beauty as stand-alone works, part of the fascination of this disc is the way certain pieces clearly anticipate avant-garde rock trends of the next several years. For instance, "G.E.B.," which opens the album, sounds very much akin to Don Van Vliet's delicate instrumental tracks like "Peon" and "One Red Rose That I Mean." Similarly, the closing improvisations bear a marked similarity to Robert Fripps's sparse, spatially aware playing on "Moonchild" from the first King Crimson album. But the nascent abstract and almost insectival aspect that Bailey fans would come to know and love is surely present as well on gnarly, knotty works like "Bits," which also incorporates early explorations into the use of feedback. And "Practising: Wow & Stereo" would still cause the hackles to rise on the necks of the great majority of jazz fans, lo, these 35 years hence. Pieces for Guitar is an invaluable artifact in the archeology of free improvised music and a must for any fans of the genre. Highly recommended.

Catalog: TZ 7080 (Tzadik)
Album Overview on Allmusic
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Derek Bailey - Solo Guitar Series 3: Different Guitars (2002)

| Avant-Garde | Free-Jazz | Experimental Guitar |

Different Guitars is a historical compilation of Derek's works on... exactly, on different guitars. The first part of the album is an early 70s collection of the Derek Bailey on a somewhat 19 strings guitar. I have no idea of what that is, I've done some research and all I could find was about a 19 string harp. I think it might be a double-neck guitar, or something like that, but there's simply no info about it. Obviously, it's a somewhat kind of prepared guitar. The improvised pieces run smooth and sparse, a little aggressive at some points, but mostly atmospheric. The second part is amazing. A record of Bailey on a Martin D18 playing with Min Tanaka, a japanese master of Butoh Dance, at '87. The third part is my favourite, two pieces, Gibson Super 400, 1992. It's so full of feeling and so free that you can even hear Derek coughing. The improvisation sounds completely human. The notes go beyond the state of harmonic pieces, each separate note sounds like a whole universe of timbre and sound. Derek Bailey's improvisation is one of the most beautiful and authentic forms of free music.

Catalog: Incus CD-SG3 (Incus Records)
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Nijiumu ( 滲有無 ) - Driftworks (1997)

| Avant-Garde | Ambient | Experimental |

This CD is part of a very sonically and visually attractive 4-CD box set from 1997 called Driftworks, which showcases the glacially-paced, environmental sound-spaces of Pauline Oliveros and Randy Raine-Reusch, Thomas Koner, Paul Schütze, and Nijiumu. The latter’s disc is full of subtle rhythms featuring shaking rattles, one-note reverb guitar stabs, slowly-blowing low-end rumbles and much more—produced with mainly unknown sources, except Keiji Haino’s unbeatable voice eeling its way through all known and unknown moonlight-filled aquariums. What it all amounts to is 65 minutes of 1:00 a.m. snacking perfection. Four mini-LP jackets holding the CDs come housed in a hard, handsome slipcover box. Arresting, modern type and graphic design compliment beautiful photos of stark, barren land and seascapes on the box, jackets and the eight-page book of notes. Just like Pearl Drops, “It’s a great feeling.”

Catalog: ABB1000 CD (Big Cat UK Records)
Album overview on Arcane Candy
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Nijiumu ( 滲有無 ) - Era Of Sad Wings (1993)

| Avant-Garde | Ambient | Experimental |

Nijiumu is a side project of Keiji Haino that sometimes involves other musicians. (Confusingly, it’s also the title of his is his first PSF solo disc, PSFD-7, which came out a decade after his debut album, Watashi Dake?, in 1981.) Era of Sad Wings contains 10 tracks and 66 minutes of the deepest night atmosphere chock full of low, distant rumbles; reverb-drenched guitar; bowed string curtains; plenty of moaning and keening vocals; mysterious, squealing echoes; austere string pluck and plaintive horn-tooting all over the place. An air of black-midnight ghost float is consistently maintained. A soft painting of an angel holding a horn while floating through a dimly-lit scene adorns the front cover. This album is an early Keiji Haino classic.

Catalog: PSFD-31 (P.S.F. Records)
Album overview on Arcane Candy
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Erik Satie - Piano Works (1992)

| Avant-Garde | Modernism | Minimalism |
| Impressionism |


Erik Satie was an important French composer from the generation of Debussy. Best remembered for several groups of piano pieces, including Trois Gymnopédies (1888), Trois Sarabandes (1887) and Trois Gnossiennes (1890), he was championed by Jean Cocteau and helped create the famous group of French composers, Les Six, which was fashioned after his artistic ideal of simplicity in the extreme. Some have viewed certain of his stylistic traits as components of Impressionism, but his harmonies and melodies have relatively little in common with the characteristics of that school. Much of his music has a subdued character, and its charm comes through in its directness and its lack of allegiance to any one aesthetic. Often his melodies are melancholy and hesitant, his moods exotic or humorous, and his compositions as a whole, or their several constituent episodes, short. He was a musical maverick who probably influenced Debussy and did influence Ravel, who freely acknowledged as much. After Satie's second period of study, he began turning more serious in his compositions, eventually producing his inspiring cantata, Socrate, considered by many his greatest work and clearly demonstrating a previously unexhibited agility. In his last decade he turned out several ballets, including Parade and Relâche, indicating his growing predilection for program and theater music. Satie was also a pianist of some ability.

Although in character they often maintain a low profile, the piano works of Erik Satie in many ways presage some of the most pervasive musical ideas in the twentieth century, from the syncopations and melodic contours of jazz to the chordal oscillations of pop to the harmonic stasis of minimalism. At the heart of each of his piano miniatures is a streamlined texture and economy of means that induce an acute expressive focus, one that, as those who play his works will attest, contradict the characterizations of emotional detachment and austerity that are often associated with Satie and his French followers. On the contrary, as demonstrated by the first of his series of Gnossiennes for solo piano, Satie's use of reduced means heightens and exaggerates the arc of his melodies and the mood of his textures. His Piano works uses lots of uncommon "grey scale" compositions, and Satie works more on changing the intensity of the hue than making it a big colourful painting.

The only "precursor" discussion Satie was involved in during his lifetime was whether or not he was a precursor of Claude Debussy, but many would follow. Over the years Satie would be described as a precursor of movements and styles as varied as Impressionism, neo-classicism, Dada, Surrealism, atonalism, minimalism, conceptual art, the Theatre of the Absurd, muzak, ambient music, multimedia art, etc., and as taking the first steps towards techniques such as prepared piano and music-to-film synchronisation. The musical styles Satie opposed were allegedly numerous: Wagnerism, Romanticism (Saint-Saëns, Franck, etc.), Impressionism (Debussy and Ravel), Expressionism (later Ravel), Slavism (Stravinsky), post-Wagnerism (Schoenberg), cabaret music, etc. Apart from some animosities on the personal level (which can be seen as symptomatic of most adherents of avant-garde movements of those days), Satie's ideas on other music of his time generally had more subtlety; for example, about César Franck he could not be brought to write critically, but would avoid the issue with jokes ("Franck's music shows surprisingly much Franckism; Some even say César Frank was lazy, which is not a commendable property in a hard working man"). Perhaps the same can be said as above regarding "Satie as precursor": there is much empty discussion — for example, the debate with Debussy appears to have been over whether or not Satie was a precursor of Impressionism, which would not have made much sense if he had been opposed to Impressionism as such.

On Allmusic
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Laid Down '76 Again (2006)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


8 tracks CD. Issued as the Bonus disc of Volcanic Performance. more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-005 (Univive)
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John Coltrane - Giant Steps (1959)

| Avant-Garde Jazz | Hard Bop | Free-Jazz |

Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman in the 1950s frequently reissued those recordings under his name and there has been a wealth of posthumously released material as well. Since Coltrane was a protean player who changed his style radically over the course of his career, this has made for much confusion in his discography and in appreciations of his playing. There remains a critical divide between the adherents of his earlier, more conventional (if still highly imaginative) work and his later, more experimental work. No one, however, questions Coltrane's almost religious commitment to jazz or doubts his significance in the history of the music.

History will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience. Although this was John Coltrane's debut for Atlantic, he was concurrently performing and recording with Miles Davis. Within the space of less than three weeks, Coltrane would complete his work with Davis and company on another genre-defining disc, Kind of Blue, before commencing his efforts on this one. Coltrane (tenor sax) is flanked by essentially two different trios. Recording commenced in early May of 1959 with a pair of sessions that featured Tommy Flanagan (piano) and Art Taylor (drums), as well as Paul Chambers -- who was the only band member other than Coltrane to have performed on every date. When recording resumed in December of that year, Wynton Kelly (piano) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) were instated -- replicating the lineup featured on Kind of Blue, sans Miles Davis of course. At the heart of these recordings, however, is the laser-beam focus of Coltrane's tenor solos. All seven pieces issued on the original Giant Steps are likewise Coltrane compositions. He was, in essence, beginning to rewrite the jazz canon with material that would be centered on solos -- the 180-degree antithesis of the art form up to that point. These arrangements would create a place for the solo to become infinitely more compelling. This would culminate in a frenetic performance style that noted jazz journalist Ira Gitler accurately dubbed "sheets of sound." Coltrane's polytonal torrents extricate the amicable and otherwise cordial solos that had begun decaying the very exigency of the genre -- turning it into the equivalent of easy listening. He wastes no time as the disc's title track immediately indicates a progression from which there would be no looking back. Line upon line of highly cerebral improvisation snake between the melody and solos, practically fusing the two. The resolute intensity of "Countdown" does more to modernize jazz in 141 seconds than many artists do in their entire careers. Tellingly, the contrasting and ultimately pastoral "Naima" was the last tune to be recorded, and is the only track on the original long-player to feature the Kind of Blue quartet. What is lost in tempo is more than recouped in intrinsic melodic beauty.

Album Overview on Allmusic
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Achromatic Cold & akaaka - Insubstancial/Smoke (2009)

| Dark Ambient | Drone | Noise |

Expanding the drone/noise horizons and mixing it with electronica influences, Insubstancial/Smoke is the conceptual result from a partnership with akaaka. Filled with a very dark and heavy "silent-hill-like" atmosphere, this album puts out the "war" feeling, with moments that go through extreme violence to complete desolation.

The first song, One Explosion, Three Deaths, is an electronica affair produced by akaaka a long time ago (it's the only track that wasn't recorded for this album). The second, A Soldier Crushed in Little Pieces is Useless for the Nation, is divided in two parts. The first part was recorded digitaly by akaaka, and the second is a digital remix of Losing Mind, from my debut EP. I must say that this one is my personal favourite, and the first part is hell beautiful (also, I love the siren at the end). The third, A 9 Thousand Lives Worth Corporation, is a noise track, recorded electronicaly. The fourth, A 9 Million Lives Worth Corporation (akaaka Mix), is, as the name suggests, a remix of the 3rd track. It was remixed digitaly-analogously. The final, Bombs are for Protecting the Homeland, is an analog record.

Total time: 21min (5 tracks) | Artwork by Zdzisław Beksiński

Catalog: VB-01 (Velvet Blue records)
Achromatic Cold | akaaka (on last.fm)
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Double Heads September (2006)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


5 tracks live from September 11, 1980. more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-011 (Univive)
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Hijokaidan ( 非常階段 ) - Tapes (1986)

| Harsh Noise | Psychedelic | Noise Rock | Drone |

Now this one is awesome. A compilation of lives from 1979-1986, so it's another album ranging Hijokaidan's earlier work. This is simply my favourite album from the 'king of noise'. The great thing in this is that it isn't chained to one simple noise-style, but it goes from completely harsh noise walls to psychedelic guitar noise, electronic drone-noise and even noise rock. Some of the tracks were previously released on cassette (maybe that's why the name is tapes).

Side A starts off with Angel Dust, one of Hijo's most popular tracks. Two layers of very psychedelic and sometimes even rhythmic drumming combined with two layers of completely distorted guitars that splits between 'harsh-wall' to 'shooting-gun' style, mixed of course with lots of mad shouts by Jojo. Circles is one of the highlights. A guitar-drumming-saxophone psychedelic track (yes, SAX!) combined with not more no less than 4 people screaming and raging at the microphone. Then it comes the harsh-electronics No-Titled, which is actually a Incapacitants track. Filled with the one of most tsunami-like walls of electronic noise from this album and some mad psych drumming. The Beyond is another highlight, and what a fucking highlight it is! Two layers of guitar combined with one layer of electronics (provided by the Incapacitant Mikawa) combined with four layers of freaking freaking vocals. Junko and Yuka provides the haunting and scary high-pitched screams, while Jojo screams with his desperate-life style and Mikawa supports with some bizarre cries at the back. Shintaroh and Jojo guitars working alongside with the powerful electronics provided by Mikawa can give you no less than twelve minutes of completely harsh destruction. This one closes the side A with some sparse feedback drone.

Salem's Lot, the first from side B, is probably not the harshest, but for sure one of the bests from the whole album. Jojo turns down the guitar to work together with Mikawa at the electronics, and the results are exactly what you expect, blowing-mind noise. It starts with some 'waving' drone of feedback and grows slowly into a dense wall of electronic/guitar drone-noise and some distant and painful shouts. And then, Tapes closes with probably the best and most impressive track from the whole album, Silver Machine (a Hawkwind cover). One of the few records of Hijokaidan doing Rock. Yes, rock! And fucking noisy rock! Jojo punk-ish and hardcore-like guitar filled with lots of electronic noises by Mikawa explodes into a completely overdrived noise rock song! The strange is that it sounds like an actual full band of noise rock playing, with guitars, basses and drums, and the whole musical structure is very visible for Hijokaidan's standards (even with the whole, and what a whole!, noise within it!) but that just makes this track even more awesome! The guitar is raw, mad and flaming, the electronics are heavy and powerful as hell and there's even distorted vocals provided by both Jojo and Mikawa, and actual rock-melodic vocals, not only shouting and screaming stuff. Simply amazing, this one alone is worth the whole abum.

Catalog: ARLP-012 (Alchemy Records)
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Gerogerigegege - Recollections Of Primary Masturbation (1998)

| Harsh Noise | Japanese Ultra Shit Band |

"sodium lights define a river, a bridge has been built close to the sea's open mouth fish gather beneath its berley of light the tide is coming in it comes in upon perfectly spaced waves that glide secretly upstream their mood is silky almost wanton as unseen they go through the night surging for miles along the river's bank a half whispered love the ocean surges into an estuary at night suns stars a fierce jangled static upon its vigorous back the spirit that drives enters frightfully, a catharsis of witchery and innocence it shears and splits realigns on entire shoreline"

-poem by Juntaro in liner notes

Okay, this is probably the MOST confusing cd i have ever tried to make sense out of, so here it goes:

According to the track listing, this cd is supposed to have unreleased and deleted 'singles.' The singles mentioned are the "kitanomaru hyakkei" 7 inch, the senzuri champion lp, the "senzuri monkey metal action" 7 inch, the "more shit e.p." 7 inch, and the entire TOKYO ANAL DYNAMITE cd remastered (!). The cd booklet says there are 6 tracks, however, the cd actually has 8 tracks.
The 1st track is a little bit over a minute in length and its juntaro screaming and a bunch of drums and guitar sounds continuously panning left and right. Its pretty crazy stuff and its definitely a cool track. The 2nd track is supposed to be from the 'senzuri champion' lp. Its starts off with juntaro screaming 'rock and roll' and then going into some standard gero thrash. along the way there are some stops and starts but you know the drill. Track 2 is also only a minute long and the recording quality is much worse than the 1st track.
Track 3 starts off with a quick high pitch sine wave and then it goes into another standard gero thrash fest. This recording is a remastered recording of the 'senzuri monkey metal action' 7 inch and i know that because i was a big enough loser to actually compare the 2 recordings.
Needless to say, the cd version is a 'little' (very little) bit cleaner than the vinyl version. Tracks 4 and 5 got indexed separately for some reason, but these two tracks (about 10 minutes in length) sum up the 223 unreleased songs. it starts off with what sounds like a radio show ("the hellfire club") that has two guys talking about "the gero, gero, 'g', 'g', 'g' ." There is a really noticable tape hiss the entire time and the guys announce that they are about to play some brand new "world premiere" gero tracks. Yeah, i can still imagine all 3 people listening in just beating off with anticipation. Anyway, the 'world premiere' gero tracks are hilarious! It sounds like 'jeff' from 'yellow trash bazooka' and 'mother fellatio' is back and every song is seriously about 1 second long. The formula: A burst of noise with some screaming, pause, repeat. This continues until about 4 minutes, when all the noise stops and a recording of yoko ono's christmas greeting (?!?) is played from when her and john were having their infamous "bed-in" back in the 70's. Then the noise onslaught comes back and it continues for another minute or so before track 4 ends and track 5 begins.
The same recording of the two boring radio jockeys is played again, but this time, there is another recording playing at the same time of what sounds like juntaro hitting guitars and throwing stuff around. He also coughs alot and makes obnoxious rude sounds before the next batch of 'unreleased' songs starts up. This time however, instead of count offs, its just jeff screaming the consecutive number of the song ("185!, 186!, 187!"). this shit is seriously hysterical.
Track 6 and track 7 are from the B side of the "more shit e.p." track 6 is abruptly cut off after about 22 seconds and track 7 starts back up where it left off, and it's somekind of cover of the Stooges TV Eye followed by lots of punkish noise at the best gero style. Its the same thing as the vinyl except the cd version is once again a little bit cleaner.
The final track is the remastered version of almost the entire 'tokyo anal dynamite' cd, although it fades out at around 31 minutes instead of the original 34. It basically just sounds like there is a little bit more of a high end and thats about it.

Inside the cd booklet is nothing but lists upon lists of song titles and the information regarding the gero 'session men' and when each piece was originally recorded.
The cover is a terrible looking black and white blowup of the man from the 'mother fellatio' 7 inch and it is deliberately (or maybe indeliberately) crooked. Way punk, doood!!!!

Overall, this is an absolutely awesome (and fairly comprehensive, as it spans the years from 1985 to 1993) 'thrash' gero release and if you simply can't get enough 1,2,3,4!!!'s, this is THE album for you.

Catalog: OTCD 01 (Onkel Tuka Records)
Album overview on Artnotart
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The Gerogerigegege - Mother Fellatio (1993)

| Harsh Noise | Japanese Ultra Shit Band |

Recorded one month after yellow trash bazooka, juntaro and jeff return to give us another batch of unprecedented stupidity. Following the exact same formula as before, there is not much more to add than the obvious. The recordings seems much less studio than before and jeff screams much more in japanese as well as standard english. There is a very noticeable hum throughout both sides and the entire session overall feels much more spastic and uncontrolled than before. The songs titles are hilarious and completely random and by the end of the second side, they start screaming maurizio binachi album titles as songs. At one point, both juntaro and jeff start screaming in unison and actually attempt to harmonize their "vocals", totally hilarious. The artwork speaks for itself, provided by junko kato once again.

Catalog: A.I.P.R 03 (AIPR)
Album overview on Artnotart
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Origin's Hesitation (2001)

| Avant-Garde | Experimental Percussion |
| Experimental Rock | Psychedelic Rock |


After seven years of releases on other labels, Fushitsusha finally comes home to roost in the PSF loft once again—and, aye, what a different bird they be. After the last drummer, Ikuro Takahashi, unfortunately split in the year 2000, Fushitsusha soldiered on, playing live shows as a duo with Yasushi Ozawa on bass and Keiji Haino handling guitar and often even the drum kit himself, offering up some effects-washed splacks. In the Summer of 2001, Haino and Yoshizawa decided to actually record their next album this way—minus the guitar. Yes, you did just read that, and no, you’re not dreaming: the ever-mighty Fushitsusha with no guitar! No one but Keiji Haino and no group but Fushitsusha would ever have the nuts to go for something like this.

Origin’s Hesitation opens with a dense storm cloud of drumming and moaning, but the funny thing is, it sounds like hundreds of people drumming and three or four Hainos moaning simultaneously. As it turns out, this track—like the entire album—is layered in real-time with heavy loop effects. (Still no overdubs for the Haino clan.) At any rate, I’ve never heard anything remotely like this in all my years of music-listenin’. It’s so experimentally damaged, it wouldn’t sound too out of place on some old avant classical comp like Music From Mills.

The rest of the album is a vast, corrugated array, ranging from simple, effected drum hits and muted bass jabs to pissed vocal cries and long stretches of digital silence. From lone, high-pitched bass notes and choked vocals to fragmented melodies and hazy washes of percussion. From straight-up drum sounds and urgent, alluring vocals to plenty of low moaning and subtle bass riffing—all crammed in the most beguiling way into six tracks and 68 minutes of pleasurable playing time. Despite my love for their typical black hole-filling volume, I really appreciate Haino trying to take Fushitsusha into a new direction, and this CD certainly accomplishes that to an extreme degree.

At first, Origin’s Hesitation struck me as more of a Haino solo percussion release along the lines of Abandon All Words at a Stroke and Tenshi No Gijinka, but after hearing how Yoshizawa’s subtle, low-bubbling bass playing tethers all of Haino’s lost vocal / drum ghost float together into the trademark Fushitsusha dynamic, I pretty much set fire to that thought. In a vague way, this music even harks back to the very beginnings of Fushitsusha in the late ’70s, when Haino would ease back on the guitar for long stretches, lurching forth with nothing more than his plaintive singing and some sparse drum-whack. (Check disc four of The Soul’s True Love box set.) Origin’s Hesitation comes packaged in another gorgeous, all-black, mini LP-style gatefold jacket ala their early classic PSF releases, with numerous band photos and Japanese lyrics inside.

Catalog: PSFD-8010 (P.S.F. Records)
Album Overview on Arcane Candy
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - A Little Longer Thus (1998)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


1998 sees Keiji Haino busting out with four more simultaneous CDs on Tokuma, including two Fushitsusha titles, another solo hurdy gurdy affair called Even Now, Still I Think and a debut disc from Haino’s new group Aihiyo. Unpredictable at times, Fushitsusha confounds with an unexpected move. Could this be their most unusual effort so far? It presents a very stark and spare environment featuring staple gun-like drum and cymbal hits from new drummer Ikuroh Takahashi; plus occasional, simple bass notes. When Haino’s guitar does rarely appear, it’s either barely audible in the background; jackin’ off little upward squirts or just sketching simple, dry briars.

A variety pack of vocals intertwines throughout: feedback mic squeals, loud ’n’ clean singing and almost inaudible muttering, which sounds like it could be someone besides Haino. Just to confuse you a little more, Fushitsusha tack a very light, melodic ballad on the end—but you know it totally belongs there. Using the simplest equipment and incredibly restrained playing style, Fushitsusha maintains a captivating aura of interestingness on this nine-track, 61-minute CD that is totally unlike all others. I’m convinced that no one else could ever conceive of something like this—let alone pull it off.

Catalog: TKCF-77020 (Tokuma Japan Communications)
Album Overview on Arcane Candy
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Live 1973 (1977)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


Not for the faint of heart or the squeamish minded. Les Rallizes Denudes at their most extreme, supposedly recorded sometime in 1973 and supposedly released sometime in 1977, although I doubt it seriously. Like most of Les Rallizes Denudes' music, impossible to find in any legitimate pressing so you might as well download it from the internet. It Consists on a 4 Tracks, with a total of 30min.

Since Mizutani Takashi (who essentially was Les Rallizes) rejected any idea of standard studio recording or marketing, it's hard to tell if this is actually a "bootleg" or not. Mizutani was reportedly connected with many underground political movements, and one of his former bass players was a convicted member of the Japanese Red Army (Nihon Sekigun), who staged a number of terrorist attacks and bombings in Japan in the 1970s. Mizutani may or may not have been an active member, but his sympathies did extend to a number of leftist organizations, which explains somewhat why there are no studio recordings of Les Rallizes Desnudes. The combination of their absolute uncommerciality and their leftist political stance insured that Japanese recording studios and record companies wanted nothing to do with them.

The music is flat-out, feedback-ridden rock and roll at its most extreme. Comparisons to the Velvet Underground at their most freakish are fairly valid, but not quite on the mark. Les Rallizes is too demented and too individual to be a Velvets cover band. The music can be described as deliberately simplistic rock structures overlaid with thoroughly demented noise guitar. Takashi Mizutani was at this long before Fushitsusha or any of the other Japanese noise rock bands were on the scene, and was a definite influence on all of them.

The album follows suit. It can be invigorating or numbing depending on your taste and mood, but in all, Live 1973 definitely deserves to be heard.

Catalog: No Label
Review By happydog
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Achromatic Cold - Lacerate (2009)

| Drone | Noise | Ambient |

Ps: All tracks on Lacerate EP are Available at the full-length album, Despair. Lacerate was re-released by VBrecords - the second track, I Hate Them All, was removed and Dark Fortress was placed in its place.
Achromatic Cold is a fancy name Drone project by Rafaello Fareday. Yeah, that's me. Recorded with extreme Lo-Fi resources (using only 1 Channel, with no Overdubs and completely Improvised), Lacerate is a record that's not great thing. And it's not supposed to. It just 'is'. No special noise effects, no crazy mind-blowing layers, no 1-2-3-4 GYNAECOLOGIST! No nihilistic-art statement, no avant-garde nor experimental stuff, no art-is-over, no strong feedback, no nothing. It just resumes itself into lo-fi notes drone, with some high-pitched noise here and there. It consists on 5 songs, with something around 15min, what makes this an EP (but who cares?).

Lacerate does not follow any pattern nor musical structure (as most of noise stuffs). Even though everything was done on purpose (even the plug error, as I kept pulling and pushing it), the results were always unexpected. Everything was done manually and for every sound on it, there's a finger of mine (or in some cases, the whole hand or the arm). No sustain pedals were used. No mixing, no equalizing. Recorded completely live. Lacerate was given born as it is, and it's not supposed to be 'good' or 'enjoyable' (though some people might find it). In one way or the other, it's drone, it has noise, it makes no sense and it is purely that. I don't hope you enjoy, but I hope you see it as it is.

Catalog: VB-06 (Velvet Blue Records)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - It Was Eternity That Reached Out First (2003)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


This is an archival recording dating from 1978 that, fortunately, finally received a public service release 25 years later in 2003. While it’s nowhere near as dense as classic Fushitsusha of the ’90s, this set finds Keiji Haino and cohorts in a quite scorching free improv mode fairly similar to that contained on their Purple Trap CD, which was part of Keiji Haino’s The Soul’s True Love

box set from 1995. Documenting the very beginning of Fushitsusha, this lo-fi recording is chock-full of heavy tape hiss and amp hum, which only adds to the overall raw flavor of the proceedings. Clocking in at 13:54, track one moves effortlessly from dry, dissonant guitar strums alternating with high-pitched scree–accompanied by Jun Hamano’s plodding bass and Takashima’s simple cymbal and drum smacks–into a completely corroded cumulus cloud of massive, blurry, almost-rock.

What’s a Fushitsusha CD without at least one really long track? The second one on this disc offers up over 35 minutes of all-over-the-map fun for your noise-hungry head. Haino nonchalantly navigates his guitar all the way from dry strums to amp squeal to heavy reverb to scattered free picking to distorted wailing–occasionally nicely melded with some spare drum splack and even a little bass rhythm at one point. A couple of huge crescendos of distortion–accompanied by Haino’s lost ghost vocal wailing–appear near the middle and end of the piece. The second one–a massive, sound flurry-spewing sphere bigger than the sun–rolls into view and completely pummels the life out of the unsuspecting listener. Overall, after listening to this CD, it’s quite obvious that Fushitsusha practiced their unique deconstruction of rock in a fully-realized manner from the get-go. It comes housed in an all-black mini-LP gatefold cover with a black disc and booklet just like all of the previous Fushitsusha CDs on PSF. Just lovely, all around.

Catalog: PSFD-8016 (P.S.F. Records)
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Allegorical Misunderstanding (1993)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


A surprisingly subdued Fushitsusha move through 10 “movements” of “Magic” on this unusual, dark camping trip—especially notable for the absence of Haino’s massive realms of guitar effects and distortion. Comprised of nothing more than simple guitar, bass, drums and vocals—typical instruments handled in a very atypical manner—Allegorical Misunderstanding still maintains the quintessential air of cyclical intensity of all Fushitsusha efforts.

After a short, stately intro, the band launch into eight-and-a-half minutes worth of repetitive dream-drifting piloted by some very nice trance-strum guitar and spackled drums—all anchored down by a simple, three-note bass line. The last minute or so of this track is awe-inspiring with some very beautiful, high-pitched guitar wailing as the band climaxes to a halt. Tracks two through eight are mostly in a short, quirky mode—including occasional moaning or screeching vocals with forays into a little distortion. “Magic IX” is the centerpiece—a 14-minute web of reverb-drenched, psychedelic guitar swirls backed by another amazingly simple bass line and drum haze that take you on a dizzying journey into the depths of existence.

Catalog: Avan 008 (Avant)
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hijokaidan ( 非常階段 ) - Viva Angel (1984)

| Harsh Noise | Psychedelic |

Viva Angel is one of the earliest records from the Noise King, Hijokaidan. It features 7 tracks, 6 of 2-5min and the full version of Bad Character, But Great Sounds with almost 25min. Not a long record, but the stuff in here is good enough to make it more than worthy.

The album starts with the psychedelic-crazy-shouts Seeds Rock 'N Roll, one of the proofs of how insane this guys can become. The album has very cool harsh-noise tracks, like Viva Angel, Hellthy Girl and Broken Young Bud. There are some other strange psychedelic stuff, like Twilight Guitar, one of the most bizarre stuff I've ever heard from Hijokaidan, and Secret Desire, a strange mix of high-pitched noise and some screams (?). But the highlight here is the last track: 25min of pure sound destruction. After listening to Hijokaidan, the other noise stuff sound like Hannah Montana.

Catalog: ARLP-004 (Alchemy Records)
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The Gerogerigegege - Yellow Trash Bazooka (1993)

| Harsh Noise | Japanese Ultra Shit Band |

Possibly one of the funniest things ever. A 80 song 7'' thats barely 15 minutes long and with the song titles all running through the letter "G" in alphabetic order. We start with "G" and end with "gynecologist" with many different interpretations of the "get ___ ." Following a countoff, a blast of sound ensues, usually lasting about 5 or 6 seconds. Juntaro's count offs start getting rather long winded by the middle of the second side and it just gets funnier and funnier. One can hear the sound of a drum machine somewhere in the mix as well. The cover art contains the same format as the 'endless humiliation' cd, substituting a picture of an old man masturbating. This is a gero 7'' worth tracking down.

Catalog: SOA 11 (SOA Records)
Album overview on Artnotart
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - I Saw It! That Which Before I Could Only Sense (2000)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


At this point, what is left to say? With almost every release, Fushitsusha further refine and perfect their absolutely one-of-a-kind music. Seemingly incapable of making a stale move, this new set finds the band just totally peaking—it’s got to be their best effort since the glory days of PSF. I Saw It! is yet another 2-CD offering from merely the heaviest band of all time, packed in a double jewel case from the British label Paratactile. A three-panel booklet contains the usual front cover design, three photos of Haino close-up at the mic, plus more lengthy track titles on the rear.

A short intro called “A Reflecting, Reflecting Echo, My Soul Could Perhaps Become” throws out the welcome mat: totally unique, dry guitar tangle with massive reverb and buried vocals. “I Sink Down in Search of Your Breath’s Abode” and “Don’t Be Afraid. Even if Your Nerves Snap, You Can Tie Them to A Fragment Of The Universe” are both likewise surprisingly short–by Fushitsusha standards–and are just so thick with totally non-lame, abstract, electric beauty.

“Staring at a Point in Time, Memorizing. Vowing Never to Return” is a floating array of airy strum beauty and another messy mesmerizer that lopes along so nicely in an almost minstrelsy way. The centerpiece is the title track, which takes up the final half-hour of disc one. It’s full of distant, cavernous quaking and Haino himself seeping over the event horizon into the black abyss, twisting unbelievable dream weave guitar wail through chaotic asteroid belts of non-generic, well-fedback sound-shawls. This is one of those spontaneously- and perfectly-constructed realms of supreme spirit-density that only Fushitsusha is capable of.

The title track shifts gears a bit as it continues onto disc two for some slightly less-filling, overboard graveyard screech. Fascinating, dry-slash-distorted strum interchanges appear later, a spell before the maelstrom simmers down for some destroyed psych lines around the 40-minute mark. The track finally draws to a close at 54 minutes after another brave dive into full storm thickness. Total elapsed time: 84 minutes, making this the longest Fushitsusha track ever by nine minutes—and probably one of the longest pieces of music on CD anywhere–except, you know, La Monte Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano.

A way quiet, muted array of bass, drums and voice called “Hasn’t Something Like This Happened Before?” appropriately closes the set.

Catalog: PLE 1106/07-2 (Paratactile)
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - The Caution Appears (1995)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


This French import is just a little bit louder than French toast. There’s not much subtlety involved here as Keiji Haino and company go straight for your most vital veins. It’s an extremely vicious guitar, bass and drums carnivore with improv tracks ranging in length from 30 seconds to 15 minutes. There’s even a rocker or two thrown in for all of you rollers out there. The last track contains the most soaring, deeply-felt, anguished guitar playing I’ve ever heard in my entire life—even surpassing Loren Mazzacane’s emotion-soaked forays like Hell’s Kitchen Park. Unbelievable.

Catalog: CDSA 54039 (Les Disques Du Soleil Et De L'Acier)
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Wild Trips (2005)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


5xCDs from 1976. more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-009 (Univive)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Withdrawe, This Sable Disclosure Ere Devot'd (1998)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


This eight-track, 65-minute CD features a live concert recording from the 14th Annual Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville on May 16, 1997. “This Is” is this whirlwind of chaotic, electric soundquake that should increase ear putty sales dramatically. For the first, second, or maybe third time ever, Fushitsusha repeat a track, “Pathétique,” a version of which existed before as track one on PSFD-50. The treatment this time out is quite different, of course—only somewhat recognizable and much more projectile-vomited. “Hazama” and “Precipitate” join together to pair the most spare bass and drum simplicities with another round of feedback mic vocal stylings. On “Small Laugh,” beautifully keening vocals mix with pensive guitar wafts, bass strum and cymbal clouds to delight the sensitive senses.

The centerpiece is a 17-minute affair of way pensive minor note twine called “Vertigo” that could easily bind you up into a cobwebbed pantry for a spell, then toss you out into the backyard for a good soaking by a very threatening weather system. “Just A Piece Of” harkens back to track one, just before the set is closed out with “W 1/7” and yet more thick spontaneity that somehow ends up with no guitar—the fast pounding from the rhythm section inciting Haino to vocally scald your face off for one super intense ending. The crowd approves. This release comes outfitted in a different kind of cover, for once: a very dark color photo of a bed of nails highlighted with an abstractly-shaped sliver of light, plus the band’s name and title in dark, blood red. A stretched photo of Keiji Haino playing live lies inside.

Catalog: VICTO CD 060 (Les Disques Victo)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Gold Blood (1998)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


Finally, the first-ever domestic U.S. release from Fushitsusha, recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on November 7, 1996 while the band was en route to Chicago for the Table Of The Elements Festival and, eventually, London to record their first two Tokuma albums. So, it should be no surprise that the material on Gold Blood has been pumped from a similar heart.

From more wailing, feedback-dipped sound cones with crackling burger amp damage and lost ’n’ never found vocals to distant Ouija Board flail slowly coalescing into an intimidating maelstrom eventually ending in colossal sky shudders, this is another little, flat disc that should never become a coaster. The 24-minute spare feedback quirk and spat vocals of “Cipher” turns all angelic on you with the sweetest of voices, only to shift back to some full-on pedal overbore at the end. Filled with 72 minutes of sound spread over five tracks, this CD sports more chapter-like track titles. A nice one: “This Trembling in My Core, With Which of Your Cells Couldn’t it Hold Hands?"

Catalog: CHCD-30 (Charnel Music)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - The Time Is Nigh (1997)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


Four tracks and 75 minutes of oozing, black lava—headed straight for your house. “Just Before” intros the disc with a feeling of short, slow and quiet. “My Precious Thing” is a 21-minute aurora of white furnace blast—just an incredibly shrill, piercing, unearthly guitar nebula with the most cosmically connected ghost-moaning ever. “Black Cluster,” which is similar but somewhat more down to Earth, is a nearly half-hour tanker you’d be much more likely to take home to mom. Well, okay, you probably wouldn’t. The vocals are much more up front and the pea sound-soup is a little thinner. Some unbelievable forehead eye psych arches appear later, the likes of which haven’t been heard since track three on Pathetique. Damn! “The Time Is Nigh” closes out the disc with a little melody mixed in with the shard carnival.

Catalog: TKCF-77015 (Tokuma Japan Communications)
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Naked Diza Star (2006)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


3xCDs compilation from '73-'87. A kind of 'Best Of'. more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-010 (Univive)
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Les Rallizes Dénudés - End Of Heavy Groove (2006)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


2xCDS from 1976. more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-012 (Univive)
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Les Rallizes Dénudés - Volcanic Performance (2008)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


4xCDs from 1975, '76 and '79. Hell 'Volcanic'! more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-017 (Univive)
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - The Wisdom Prepared (1998)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


Just to throw you off, this one’s pretty much the opposite of its predecessor, A Little Longer Thus. Supremely loud, distorted and free-form guitar, bass and drum twine with no let-up all on one long, thick track—this time fully realized at the nearly full CD length of 75 minutes. It’s nothing less than another exhausting, expansive, galactic black napkin of unsurpassed density and absorbing power. No other band should ever even think about attempting something like this. Completely stunning, a must-listen for every fan of extreme music.

Catalog: TKCF-77021 (Tokuma Japan Communications)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - A Death Never To Be Complete (1997)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


Fushitsusha easily maintain their position as Earth’s most-deserving of your dollars with two 1997 full-length CDs on the Japanese major label Tokuma, which appeared simultaneously with the Keiji Haino solo CD Keeping On Breathing and the duets with Derek Bailey called Drawing Close, Attuning. Don’t worry, though. The fancy, well-lit office support hasn’t affected the band’s non-commercial approach one little bit. The result is just better recording quality—this time captured at Moat studio in London, November 1996.

“Just As I Told You” is a short intro with repeated bass and drum jolts and a quiet, warning guitar off in the distance that suddenly explodes into the spare, plodding drums and bass of “Though It Went So Well?” with guitarist Keiji Haino freely spackling the patented, slow-motion, sustained trance-scramble with supreme, effects pedal warehouse heaviness that only he is capable of imagining—let alone mustering. No one else has ever approached the rock band format even vaguely in this manner.

A quivering delicacy hovers about during the half-hour-long centerpiece “That Which Is Becoming To Me,” which also erupts into feedback-marked, guitar soul-wail after 14 minutes. The piece then clouds into more mild ambience again 10 minutes later. “Continue To Be” operates in a very similar artery with way mellow shimmer that volcanoes into additional giant feedback cereal after 10 minutes with the mix volume cranked way up for the last few seconds. Stark drum and bass pound hold together “A Death Never To Be Complete” as Haino alternately screeches his throat raw and offers blasts of trebly, overblown guitar. The disc closes with “Hermitage,” a quiet and melodic waft of pleasant pastries—a perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea.

Catalog: TKCF-77014 (Tokuma Japan Communications)
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Mizutani 2 With Association Love Songs (2007)

| Avant-Garde | Folk-Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock | Noise Rock |


3xCDs of "Solo" Takashi Mizutani (I really don't know why the 'mizutani' albums are 'solo', because the whole band is playing). Well, another lo-fi psychedelic-folk album as the first 'mizutani'. Pretty cool. Disc 1 from '72-'75, Disc 2 from '80 and Disc 3 from '76. review coming later. more info at discogs.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-015 (Univive)
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - One More Night Tripper (2006)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


4xCDs from another 1980's Live. Heavy as hell. more info at discogs. review coming later.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-006 (Univive)
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Les Rallizes Dénudés - Double Heads (2005)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Psychedelic Rock |
| Experimental Rock |


4xCDs of pure pwnage. Live '80. review coming later.
more info on discogs.

Catalog: UNIVIVE-003 (Univive)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Purple Trap - The Wound That Was Given Birth To Must Be Bigger Than The Wound That Gave Birth (1995)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


This set was recorded live in London in 1994 and proves once again that Fushitsusha is among the most engaging improvising musicians currently breathing. Disc one opens with sky-scraping arcs of rocking, psychedelic guitar mangle intertwining through simple, plodding bass and drums on “Allurement” then shifts gears into abstract, improvisational fatness plus occasional sections of raw screaming with spare bass ’n’ drum stabs. “The Nameless One,” “Purple Maze,” and “Here, There” are all short blasts of quirky, overload-speckled improv. Disc one is closed out by a long ’n’ lovely wash of ghostly night blare on “Great Dizziness.”

“You Within Me” opens disc two with some steady rocking from the rhythm section as Keiji Haino splatters some deliriously scattered and beautiful electric guitar slabs and particles everywhere—way beyond belief. For fans of spontaneously-psyched free-rock, this is an absolute must-hear and is one of Fushitsusha’s best tracks ever. The proceedings slow up a bit on “Code” as the bass and drums barely move under a descending guitar line, eventually moving into more deep space exploration—only to end up rocking out hard at the end. “Overthrow” starts out with a few seconds of barre chord garage-rock then suddenly veers into another glacial bass and drum base on which Haino strews more of his noted gobs of feedback mic-tortured vocals. His guitar joins in after about eight minutes for some air-tangling displays of slop which segues back into the garage song, ending with another noise mangle.

Little or no editing has been done to these tapes—smatterings of applause, audience chatter and “getting ready” instrument sounds are all very audible—giving this release an authentic live feel. It’s the sixth album in the ongoing Fushitsusha saga and is totally essential.

Catalog: BFFP 124 (Blast First)
Album Overview on Arcane Candy
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Pathetique (1994)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |

Like most of Keiji Haino’s cover artwork, Pathetique’s mini-LP-style gatefold jacket is covered top-to-bottom with dark ink on black paper, underscoring the immense depth of the ideas, emotions and sounds contained therein.

The CD opens with a stately, slowly descending pile of crunch chords and amp-whistle clocking in at a mere five minutes (the blink of a hummingbird’s eye in Haino’s universe), serving as a more-than-adequate intro to all the lost squall and splendor to follow. Track two’s supremely slop-o-guitar sound-shards chop and challenge and veer startingly into full-on destruction and modern psych passages that sear all synonyms. Song number three shifts repeatedly from an extremely catchy yet dissonant, descending, mantra-rock groove into more improvised, feedback bliss at all the “wrong” moments—which sounds so right. At well over 40 minutes, track four stretches out a solid ocean of electronic guitar distortion into one of those “timeless / infinite moments” Haino discussed when profiled in The Wire magazine.

Catalog: PSFD-50 (P.S.F. Records)
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Live II (1991)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


Rock music has been forced upon me for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, a lot of favorite bands and albums have, of course, come and gone. All of that changed when I heard this set by Fushitsusha in the early ’90s. It’s easily the most interesting, challenging, non-commercial, creative, soulful, heavy and outward-bound music made on an electric guitar that I’ve ever heard, and I seriously doubt that anything will be able to top it anytime soon. It just makes all other guitar music sound silly. Like the previous volume, Live II also comes housed in an all-black, mini-LP-style gatefold jacket, except the inner sleeves this time are non-CD-scratching white cloth and the booklet is just super-deluxe: small, striking, abstract line drawings and Japanese lyrics on ultra-textured black paper. Very nice, indeed. Keiji Haino must’ve got ahold of a few dozen more effects pedals, an overdrive unit, and a couple of additional full stacks since the first Live set was recorded, as Live II is far more abstract, wide-sounding and black-hole-bound than it’s predecessor. Plus, like 99% of Haino’s music, it’s all recorded live with no overdubs.

Opening up disc one, Godzilla stomps your city into a dusty pancake with supremely heavy, dissonant and overblown riff-damage that’s completely drowned in unrecognizably dense fuzz / psych arcs, exploding with electric sound-splinters that just obliterate you. Some of Keiji Haino’s most harsh vocal attack weaving through the din isn’t much more inviting. This mood is continued on the next song, although with somewhat less of the almost comical heaviness. Track three is marked by occasional sour note tinning with lost vocal murmurs and the most other-solar-system-sun-staring lead blisters imaginable. Avoiding cliché at every turn, Keiji Haino’s heavily-effected, other-planetly, aluminum guitar abstractions shrinkwrap your head, cram it into an oil drum and coax your mind out with the most beguiling, smelted space-winds.

Another very spare, four-note bass waft opens the next song, accompanied by quiet guitar plucks and beautifully piercing vocals. Eventually, gentle guitar arches and strums rise into a melodic, sky-reaching apex to a slow fade out. On track five, another simple bass and drum wobble is interjected by overloaded guitar blow and other moments of floating vocal quietudes, ending with a maelstrom of noise funnels. The disc is closed out with a very strange web of shrill, organ-like clouds floated along with more lost-planet vocalizations. Six tracks, 73 minutes of way unearthly soundwaves.

Disc two continues with seven tracks and 74 minutes of the Fushitsusha onslaught. Opening with a very quiet, simple, melancholy bass line with drum ’n’ cymbal washes, Keiji Haino gently splashes the most ethereal guitar chimes, eventually coalescing into rising volume with soft vocal wet naps. After opening with a twisted feedback festival, track two comes to a sudden stop then veers into an abstract area of the most intense guitar flail of all time: severe, reverbed ice curtains rain down all around and cut into your head like frozen glass slivers from all other dimensions—just unbelievable. Next, a very unusual (for Fushitsusha), fast-paced bass and drum section rapidly supports plenty of garbled grate-guitar that could easily propel your next aerobics class. The following two songs feature Keiji Haino solo on guitar and voice—track four sporting plenty of sour guitar aches plus vocal chants and five heading in a much more placid vein of singing with chiming electric notes.

Following that is a very thick, muted, bass-heavy noise tornado with super sore-throat vocals completely blowing your house to bits just before rocking out near the end—barely prepping you for what comes next. The set is nonchalantly capped off by the most mammoth garage-psych track slopped with the highest arcing lines of splintered guitar mangle ever to disturb an air molecule. As the bass and drums rock simply on, 1:48 is where the exhilaration really begins: just the most full-on, forehead eye-projected wail-breakload that completely destroys and constructs merely the best rock song of all time. When the guitar maelstrom rejoins the rhythm section at 12:58, it drives the biggest electric orgasm ever straight home—just before a few way dissonant, dying dinosaur breaths shudder everything to a halt.

Catalog: PSFD-15/16 (P.S.F. Records)
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Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) - Live I (1989)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Experimental Rock |
| Psychedelic Rock |


Fushitsusha is Keiji Haino’s main line—his most prominent, best gift-giving, longest-running group and the vehicle voted most likely to simultaneously massage and damage the known universe of eardrums and cortexes. This album first appeared as a 2-LP on vinyl only back in 1989 and entered the Official Hall of Whispers quickly, only to top the list–along with the Taj Mahal Travellers–of the most desirable and unobtainable Japanese music artifacts in the years to come. Finally reissued as a 2-CD set at the end of 1997, a slightly wider swath of humanity has been offered the chance to shower in these dirty grooves. Stay nude. True to form, the reissue is housed in a mini-LP-style gatefold jacket approximating the original: completely black with just the band name written small in Japanese down the middle of the front cover and a small cross on the right panel inside. The paper inner sleeves and discs themselves are likewise soaked in “the combination of all colors.”

The first disc contains four tracks and 45 minutes of dirty, swamp sound—kicking off with some scuzzy blues rock held together by a slowly chugging rhythm guitar courtesy of Maki Miura, low-end bass power by Yasushi Ozawa, not to mention Jun Kosugi’s freely splacked drums on top of which Keiji Haino splays the most playful yet arcing guitar lines of loose abandon. The rocking out continues on track two, highlighted with some more sprightly guitar work—making way for the centerpiece: an incredibly pleasant and sparse realm of dream-levitation. It’s all supported by a very simple four-note bass line and an echoing side-guitar strum which Keiji Haino eases into with the most restrained lead guitar notes and soft, gentle singing imaginable. Eventually, Haino foreheads his guitar completely out of the realm of all known human considerations via unusual progressions, slop-o stalls and keening wails. He also busts out a rare harmonica bit on the closing song.

The four tracks on disc two take up a bit more time for a grand total of 52 minutes. Starting quietly with the most standard balladeering ever offered by this band, the first song really picks up when Keiji Haino sends his piercing, outer space guitar semi-circles soaring into the nether regions. On track two, dissonant rhythm-section jolts punctuated by plenty of feedback whine and piercing lead guitar lines plus a desperate vocal display later splay into an intense noise hurricane that could easily level South Carolina. Third up, Keiji Haino melds a very quiet, mild strum into a murky field of loud, obtuse, sour note-picking and back again. The set is completed with a stretching, 26-minute vista that switches back and forth several times between droning strums, faster stuttered rhythm sections with nice singing, not to mention plenty of very spare, beautiful balladry and lightness. The music on this release is easily the most pleasant and accessible ever made by Fushitsusha or Keiji Haino, making it by far the best place to start for the beginner.

Catalog: PSF-3/4 (P.S.F. Records)
Album Overview on Arcane Candy
On Last.fm
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Keiji Haino ( 灰野敬二 ) + Fushitsusha ( 不失者 ) + Lost Aaraaff - Soul's True Love (1995)

| Avant-Garde | Experimental | Noise | Drone | Ambient
| Musique Concrète | Rock | Free-Jazz | Electronic |

This is quite a revelation: a 4-CD box set from 1995 chronicling the first decade of Keiji Haino’s career: from Lost Aaraaff in 1971 on through solo home recordings and eventually to the birth of an early version of Fushitsusha near the end of that decade.

Disc one contains 58 minutes of music featuring two long tracks of live mayhem from Keiji Haino’s very first group, the free-jazz-inspired Lost Aaraaff. The vocals / keyboards / drums approach here is very similar to their lone effort reissued by PSF, just way more lo-fi and obviously recorded live in front of a festival audience, as a few screams, shouts and catcalls are flung back toward the stage by the restless mob. But it’s no match for the hyperactive haunt-screech of Lost Aaraaff, as the trio offer their skittering, drifting, exploding, spontaneous wares to the Gods of cacophony. And the clouds nod in approval—never mind the audience.

Disc two is a solo Haino affair called Suite Reverberation that contains 12 tracks and 55 minutes of very personal, endearing, lo-fidelity bedroom sound. A very short spate of harmonica backed by indeterminate clacking and rustling sounds with mega tape hiss opens the disc; while a solemn organ punctuated by lots of silence and periodically accompanied by unknown high-pitched squeals takes up track two. On three, held horn notes hover with unknown string plucks. Appearing next is 47 seconds of solo, unaccompanied, incredibly high-pitched screams and screeches that could easily disturb, oh, just about anyone. Track five is largely comprised of motor-on-violin screech-torture with a lot of nice, muffled tube-humming. A long patch of mangled, sped-up tape chaos with fuzzy, mumbled vocals and a sheet of trebly noise make up track six. Seven is just a very short electric drone. A melodic recorder pipes a curious little tune on eight, as nine unveils simple, rhythmic plucking on acoustic string instruments. A long piece of improvised cello torture is featured on 10, as track 11 sports a lengthy array of mysterious, springing, tapping, rattling and muffled sounds. The disc is closed out with some dry, muffled knocks with subtle surface hiss. Confounding.

Haino goes it alone again on disc three, which is aptly called Forest Of Spirits and contains four long tracks and 73 minutes of simple, hypnotic music. Fading the disc in is a massive billow of supreme static-wash (that sounds a lot like the “before-the-music-starts” part of a million old, scratchy records playing at the same time) with hordes of distant, whistling ghostvoices—the perfectsoundtrack for your next graveyard camp-out. Track two is a lengthy dose of heavily reverbed violin screech, while three is filled with a similar feel of lonely horn calls ’n’ cries from the edge of a dead continent. Finishing the CD is a bristling, splintered cracker-grate of spackled noise electronics with infinite, chugging, low-end doze—punching the clock at nearly a half-hour-long and predating Merzbow by at least several years. Amazing.

The fourth and final disc documents the birth of Fushitsusha circa 1978, with four tracks and 68 minutes of early efforts. Amid some really prominent tape hiss, a flail of piercing guitar feedback, which is not nearly as dense as modern-day Fushitsusha, opens the disc, followed by a moment of dry strum then another splooge of spastic, rubbing, beating guitar molesting with squealing feedback all over; plus some vague percussion clatter in the background. This all ends abruptly as a more empty area of stomps, knocks and slight percussion takes over with spare, quirky guitar tangles. A momentary baby cry can also be heard way in the background—suggesting this was probably a live performance. On the second track, a skirmish of unknown scraping with rattling percussion precedes a sudden vocal explosion of hyperventillating, monkey-like screams. A very quiet, intense atmosphere is interrupted by a smack, followed by more moaning and screeching, as if Haino were being punished by the gods of eardrums.

Closing out these attacks and retreats are more incredibly hyperventillating screams, which seamlessly meld into an ultra-thick garble-field. Track three is mostly composed of some sort of strange, skittering, electronic sounds with panning noise blasts and soft vocals which segue into a gnarled collection of cries and screams. This then gives way to another helpin’ of electric guitar—first some simple string hits with piercing, squealing feedback, then a long series of held, sour notes interspersed with lots of clangorous mangling that sounds like an early version of a track from Watashi Dake? The electronic swirl reappears intermittently with some rudimentary drumming. Completing the CD is a real surprise treat: a suite of three mild, soothing songs with pleasantly strummed guitar and distant apparition singing, all backed by the most spare, primitive drum-splack you could imagine. This is the differentest Fushitsusha you’ve never heard.

Upon first holding this box in my hands, I was hoping to find a huge booklet of vintage photos and maybe even some English notes inside detailing Keiji Haino’s lost history. But upon opening it, I’m sorry to say, I found nothing of the sort–just four jewel cases, all with a black booklet sporting the same grey circle on the front, but each with a different three-panel fold-out photo of Keiji Haino in recent live performance. The photo inside disc two, Suite Reverberation, is by far the best–a close-up, toe-to-scalp shot of Haino playing guitar, head back, eyes closed in other-universe bliss–and should’ve actually been on the front of the box.

Unfortunately, details on the music in this set are very scant, containing just a blurb from the label explaining that these recordings spanned from Lost Aaraaff in 1971 to just before Haino’s first solo album Watashi Dake? in 1981. Only track titles are featured on these booklets and the only info on the box is all in Japanese printed on a small ribbon.

Catalog: Purple Trap (PT001-004)
Album Overview on Arcane Candy
Keiji Haino on Last.fm
Fushitsusha on Last.fm
Lost Aaraaff on Last.fm
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