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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