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Archive for the ‘Japanese Music’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: ACID MOTHERS GONG-Live Tokyo (2006).

Gong is a band that started in Paris in 1967 by Daevid Allen.  The band is still active and has seen many many lineup changes over the years.  From 2003-2004 the band included members of Acid Mothers Temple.  They released a weird (well, all Gong albums are pretty weird) album called Acid Motherhood.  And then released this live document in 2006.

The line up was Daevid Allen – guitar gliss, vocals/fx; Gilli Smyth  – space whisperer; Josh Pollack – guitar, megaphone; Kawabata Makoto – guitar, voices; Cotton Casino – synth, voices; Hiroshi Higashi – synth, voices; Yoshida Tatsuya – drums, sampler; Tsuyama Atsushi – bass, whistle, vocals.

Gong used a sped up vocal technique a lot, which you can hear in the opening 40 second song called “Gnome.”  Gnome introduces Acid Mother Gong and  segues into “Ooom Ba wAH!” which is improvised processed sped up vocal nonsense.

“Crazy Invisible She” is a nearly 4 minute spoken piece by Gilli that segues into “The Unkilling Of Octave Docteur DA 4J.”  This is a nine minute jam with trippy chords and a two note riff.  There’s wild soloing and trippy space keys.  “Avahoot Klaxon Diamond Language Ritual” has more nonsensical spoken word with wild drums and guitars.  The guitar turns into a siren as chanting begins and segues into “Rituel: Umbrage Demon Stirfry & Its Upcum,” a three minute fast chanted piece with distorted voices and rocking chords.

“Jesu Ali Om Cruci-Fiction” is a ninety second swirling feedback segue into “Ze Teapot Zat Exploded” (“Flying Teapot” alternate title) a nine minute song that feels like a proper song.  It starts with a riff and then the whole band jumps in.  About halfway through someone starts singing (in English!).

“Eating Colonel Saunders Upside Down” sounds like a 7 minute transmission from outer space with a slow beat then turns into a kind of tribal chanting and ends with a high pitched voice singing a wild melody.  “Vital Info That Should Never Be Spoken” is a spoken word piece in which the sound regularly cuts out making it very hard to understand this vital info.

“Parallel Tales Of Fred Circumspex” is a five minute recited piece about Frederick in English and possibly translated into Japanese as they go?  Or is it something else?  By the end he is chanting how everyone is nude.  I guess the nude people then go to “The Isle Of Underwear.” I’m not sure why its called this as it is “Pink Lady Lemonade.”  Aafter 8 minutes someone gently sings the words of “Pink Lady Lemonade.”

“Ohm Riff Voltage 245″is 8 minutes of faster and faster chanting with lots of drums.  Then it turns into slow jamming until the end.  It segues into “Totalatonal Farewell To The Innocents” which is full of soaring sounds and deep sing song chanting that turns into a bouncy jam. By the end, the gnome voice is back.  And the show ends.

You have to be in a very specific headspace to really get into this.

[READ: June 20, 2021] Heartstopper 2

I enjoyed Heartstopper Volume 1 so much I couldn’t wait for Volume 2.  The story is so sweet and kind, I was happy that volume 2 kept up that level of joy.

I also enjoyed that Iseman opened the book with a little drama, but that it was resolved pretty quickly.

In Volume 1 we meet Charlie, who is gay.  He befriends a boy named Nick who is straight.  Charlie is unlike anyone who Nick has hung out with–he usually hangs out with jocks. Charlie is so much the opposite it’s a breath of fresh a air for Nick.  And suddenly, Nick realizes that he is falling for Charlie.

At the end of Volume 1 they kissed…

But as Volume 2 opens we see Charlie’s diary and he is very upset because Nick ran off and didn’t text or anything.  He thinks he ruined everything.  Then we see Nick trying to type his feelings in a text.  He’s sorry for running off, he really likes Charlie, he was just scared.  But he decides it would be better to say something in person.

The next morning, Charlie wakes to the doorbell.  He is in his PJs and with behead and Nick is standing there.  Nick explains everything and suddenly they are having a wonderful day together.

I love the way Iseman draws them–so sweet and loving. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS: Boris at last -Feedbacker- (2003).

Boris’ sixth album is pretty iconic, what with the bloodied head of Wata on the cover and all.

The album contains one song–43 minutes of “Feedbacker.”  But it is broken into five surprisingly discernable parts.

Part 1 (9:38) opens with low feedback and slowly played chords that ring out.  Then single notes pick out a melody that recurs throughout.  Low bass notes and low harmonic frequencies play out through the bulk of the track until it segues into Part 2 (14:54).  That’s when the drum is added.  It’s a slow beat at first with the low feedbacking tones.  Then the guitars start playing a slow chord progression.  Eventually there’s some quiet lead guitar noodling added.  After about 8 minutes, Wata start one of her big slow solos.  Then around 12 minutes, Takeshi starts sings softly.  But after a minute and a half of this, the song shifts gears and gets much louder–big chords, crashing drums and louder vocals.

Part 3 (5:52) opens with serious crashing of cymbals which turns into noisy chaos.  There’s some high-pitched feedback and and then a seriously heavy riff starts up.  The rocking part of the song takes over with heavy distorted guitars and rumbling bass and drums.  A really noisy guitar solo is followed by a buzzy riff after which things slow down for quiet vocals once again.  The drums are still heavy but the guitars are quietly echoing.  The end gets louder again with roaring and chanted vocals.  (I have no idea what they are saying but it’s easy to sing along to).

Part 4 (9:52) is basically a wall of noise and feedback with echoing distorted cymbals and crackling sounds.  Near the end, noisy piercing feedback soars through until it segues into Part 5 (3:34).  As the feedback fades, the song resumes part 2, with soft drums and slow guitar chords and a quiet feedback floating over everything.

It’s a pretty monumental record.  Not as abrasive as the cover would suggest, but with enough heavy parts so that it’s not just a pretty drone record.

[READ: April 30, 2021] “The Rivals”

I feel like I tend to read stories that are written in a convoluted way.  Either with multiple time lines, or multiple threads that eventually come together.  So it was nice to get a story that was pretty straightforward.

Sure, it started in the middle, but it flashed back, got to the opening scene, and continued along in a pretty straight line.  And it was very enjoyable.

The story is set in Madagascar.  Floristella, a plump Italian man, sees his former friend Pianon, a skinny Italian man, and jumps out at him, hitting him with a walking stick.  It takes a bunch of servants to pull these older men apart.

The narrator then fills us in on what’s going on.  Pianon and Floristella were at one time very good friends.  Pianon is from Verona.  He is a widower who always dresses nicely. He is the bookkeeper and rental manager at the Red House.  Floristella is from Sicily. He comes from a small fortune and acts like it, even if his money is mostly gone now. His house is next to the Red House.

Floristella’s wife was bored of Madagascar, so she returned home, allowing Floristella to enjoy the beach and all of its perks. Like Noelline.  She was his secretary and then his mistress.  She was no longer young, but she was voluptuous and stylish.  She also flouted all conventions on the island.

Each morning she came to his place, did work for him, had sex with him and then went home.

Most of the women on the island hated her. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Archive Volume Zero “Early Demos” (2014/2020). 

In early August, Boris digitally released six archival releases.  Volume Zero is called “Early Demos” and it includes songs from when Boris was a four piece.

9 songs selected and compiled from 3 independently produced demo tapes, from the early period of Boris’s formation.  Track 1,2 from 1st Demo 1993 ; Track 3,4 from 2nd Demo 1993 ; Track 5-9 from 3rd Demo 1994.

(Originally released on March 5, 2014. Included in Archive 2, limited to 1,000 copies)

Boris had more of a hardcore sound at the time and these early demos are pretty wild.  Vocally, Atsuo was in prime screaming mode.  Because I don’t speak Japanese, I don’t know if he is just screaming of screaming words.  Either way, the result is intense.

Original drummer Nagata (who left soon after) plays on almost all of these songs.

“Loudd” opens the set with crashing guitars–a dramatic lengthy heavy metal opening.  Then comes the fast rumbling bass and grunted vocals.  Regardless of the other words, the chorus is a chanted “LOUDD!”  Atsuo plays drums on this one.

“AYA” has loud distorted bass with a simple guitar melody.  It’s a fairly traditional-sounding 90s grunge song.  Atsuo sings in kind of a creaky style rather than he usual screams.  “Spell Down” is nearly 5 minutes–quite long for these demos.  It’s got a  fast grungey riff with a hardcore underbelly.  This song has a middle section of jump drums ans slow droning chords.  This song also features an early Wata guitar solo.

“Nods” feels like a twisted call and response of groans and then vocals all set to a slow heavy riff.  They play a little with recording effects as midway through the song the band stops.  Then a disjointed guitar riff picks up in the left speaker before the whole band jumps in playing that same melody.

“Scar Box” opens with a riff that sounds like very early doom metal under the hardcore guitars and drums take over.  Atsuo is playing on this one and there are lots of cymbals (no gong yet, though).

“Mosquito” and “Matozoa” are both under two minutes long.  “Mosquito” plays with slow heavy chunky chords and “Matozoa” is more of a moshing song that’s mostly drums and vocals with an occasional crashing guitar chord.

“Deep Sucker” has a robust rumble with growled vocals and grungy guitars.  Then around two and a half minutes a feedback wail starts.  It continues for the next two and a half minutes.  The feedback changes tone and seems to almost fade out. It’s as if Wata (presumably) is trying to keep that feedback alive and interesting–making the note swirls around.  The feedback is accompanied by a low rumble and drums, but those fade out and the last 90 seconds are just feedbacking.  The feedback” segues into “Water Porch.”  A rumble enters this song and then the song turns into pure drone as occasional chords are played just to ring out allow nature to take over.  With a minute and a half left the fast drumming kicks in and the song turns into a blistering song with a decidedly hardcore riff and growled vocals.

The final 10th track, “Soul Search You Sleep”, was recorded in 1996 during Boris’s first tour of the US west coast [at Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA. Mar 1st & 2nd 1996], and has been brought out of a long slumber to complete Volume Zero.

“Soul Search You Sleep” is two chords, feedback and a lot of screaming.  This alternates with some fast sections of two chords, pummeling drums, and screaming.  Around four minutes Wata adds a  solo.  The last minute is thumping bass and drums and punctuated by Atsuo’s screams.  A Boris show has gotten more sophisticated in the last thirty years, but all of the elements were in place way back then.

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal ; Wata: Guitar & Echo ;  Atsuo: Drums & Vocal ; Nagata: Drums(Track 2,3,4,6,7,8,9)

[READ: August 25, 2020] “The Guardians”

This is a fascinating little short story.  It almost feels like a sketch for a character rather than a complete story.

As the story opens, Lee is a little boy.  He lives with “Grampop, Granny, Father and Lee’s mother who was too important to have a name.”

Each person gets a lengthy introduction–the calm, intensity of his grandparents, the kindness of his father (who should have had a better job) and the ups and downs of his mother. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Archive Volume Five “Pink Days” (2014/2020). 

a0153819288_16In early August, Boris digitally released six archival releases.  Volume Five is called “Pink Days” and it is the best sounding of the bunch.

This show was recorded live in New York on May 31 during Boris’s 2006 US tour.  PINK had just been released and the band played 7 selections from the album.  But they also played two classics from Akuma No Uta and, one from Dronevil and a track from The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked (or Mabuta No Ura depending on which version of the song they play).

This show

 transmits wild enthusiasm; the songs in this full set recording could even be called their greatest hits.
(Originally released on March 5, 2014. Included in Archive 2, limited to 1,000 copies)

The set opens with four songs from Pink.  The first is “Blackout” which serves as a noisy introduction for what’s to come–feedback, squeals, waves of noise and Atsuo’s gong.  As the songs settles in around 7 minutes, Wata takes some soaring solos while Atsuo pounds away on the drums and Takeshi plays some super heavy bass lines.   Atsuo adds some vocals and a big YEAH! before the band starts “PINK,” with its fast, heavy riff and more soaring guitars.  Atsuo sings the melody as the song speeds along.  “Woman on the Screen” continues the fast heaviness with two and a half minutes of pummeling guitars and drums.  “Nothing Special” is two more minutes of blistering noise with lots and lots of YEAHs!

A quick jump to the Akuma No Uta album for the riff-tastic “Ibitsu” before returning to Pink for the two minute “Electric.”

Boris has two songs called “A Bao A Qu.”  Apparently they are entirely different.  I gather that this one is from the Mabuta No Ura album and not The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked (that version is over 8 minutes long and this one is about 4).  It’s heavy and dense with a lot of slow vocals and screaming solos.

Things finally slow down for the 15 minute “the evilone which sobs” from the Dronevil album.  This is a solid drone song–waves of low end feedback pulsing throughout the concert hall.  After four minutes of ringing, Wata plays a slow four note melody.  About half way through the song, a new melody enters–both Takeshi and Wata play different parts while Atsuo smashes the cymbals.   By nine minutes the two parts have more or less melded and the four note melody returns with the powerful backing of Takeshi.  The last five minutes show Wata whaling away on her guitar creating soaring textures and sounds.

The feedbacking end segues into the title track from Akuma no Uta.  This five minute instrumental features a lot of gong and a lot of cymbals as the slow riff unfolds. Until about half way through when the song takes off with a wicked riff and lot of whiooping from Atsuo.

For the last two songs the band returns to Pink.  Up first is the the ten minute “Just Abandoned My-Self” which is a simple, fast singalong (if only you could figure out the words).  The last five or so minutes lead the song into a droning outro–feeback and noise–that abruptly shuts off to wild applause and Atsuo telling everyone that there’s one more song.

The last song is the opening track from Pink called “Farewell.” It starts slowly with a pretty guitar riff.  It’s a really catchy song with a great melody.  Atsuo’s soaring vocals at the end are a nice capstone to a great show.

[READ: August 15, 2020] “Nobody Gets Out Alive”

I didn’t really like the way this story unfolded.  It started out intriguingly enough: “Getting past the mastodon took planning.”

The mastodon skull was in the middle of the room where a coffee table might normally be.  The setting is a house in Alaska, being used for a wedding party.

The newly married couple are Carter and Katrina.  They are in Alaska visiting Katrina’s father.  His neighbor Neil decided to host this wedding party for them.  Its apparent that he and Katrina used to date (or maybe wanted to) a long time ago.

They went to Alaska because Carter had never been there.  Nor had he met her father (in fact they’d only met each other a year ago). But Katrina’s father is very dull–he eats the same meal every night, he watches the same shows every night and he doesn’t even want to go to the wedding party. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Archive Volume Four “Evil Stack Live” (2014/2020). 

In early August, Boris digitally released six archival releases.  Volume Four is called “Evil Stack Live” and it is a fantastic-sounding concert from 2003.  Boris released their fourth and fifth albums in 2002 and 2003.  This fifty minute set picks songs from both of these albums: Heavy Rocks and Akuma No Uta.

Full set live recording [NHK Tokyo, 15th May 2003] that was broadcast on Japanese government-owned radio. The setlist is compiled from songs representative of their “Uppercase BORIS” distinction, including tracks from “Heavy Rocks” (2002) and “Akuma no Uta” (2003).  (Originally released on March 5, 2014. Included in Archive 2, limited to 1,000 copies)

The show open with some splashing gong and two songs from Heavy Rocks (2002).  That instantly recognizable riff from “Heavy Friends” kicks in as Atsuo screams to open the show.  The riff continues, eventually picked up by Takeshi on the bass while Wata unveils a soaring guitar solo.  It’s segues into the fast and heavy “Korosu.”  This song has a catchy chorus that’s punctuated by a nifty riff from Wata.

The set shifts to the blazing rocker “Ibitsu” from Akuma No Uta.  The song is three minutes long and has some great guitar licks and solos from Wata while Atsuo and Takeshi sing the lyrics.  The really fast riffing at 2 minutes is energizing as they then return to Heavy Rocks for “Death Valley” which combines a classic riff with some great droning verses.  The song stretches out to almost seven minutes with some heavy jamming in the middle.

There’s a slight pause before the start of the epic 11 minute “Naki Kyoku.”  It starts slowly with some lovely picked guitar from Wata.  After two minutes, Wata begins her extended solo.  Atsuo and Takeshi jam a simple rhythm while Wata plays her soaring solo.  Atsuo sings a catchy line (although I don’t know what he’s saying) as the song jams out around a thumping bass line and Wata’s chill noodling.  The middle has a kind of call and response with the guitar and drums as Wata intersperses her licks between Atsuo’s drum fills.

They jump out of the slower song with two from Akuma.  First is the fury of “Furi,” a ripping heavy song with lots of chaotic drums and yelps and screams (I think Takeshi is singing lead).  A few gong crashes introduce the beginning of “Akuma no Uta.”  It’s a slow grooving song with Takeshi’s heavy bass and Wata’s simple riffage.  After two minutes the song takes off in a classic heavy jam–ripping guitar work and fast bass and drums.

They end the set with two songs from Heavy Rocks.  “Dyna-Sore” is a fast rocker with a catchy guitar riff and chord pattern.  The call and response between Takeshi and Atsuo while Wata plays the soloing riffs is only exceeded by the heavy middle drum section that turns into a super fast end riff.  The set ends with “1970” another great riff-based rocker.  This song features Takeshi and Atsuo singing together and a great rumbling solo bass moment before Wata ends the song with another ripping solo.

The quality of this recording is top notch and the selection of songs is just fantastic.  This is a great archival release.

Takeshi: Bass, Guitar & Vocal ; Wata: Guitar & Echo ; Atsuo: Drums & Vocal.

[READ: August 15, 2020] “Knife Play”

This is yet another fragment from Franz Kafka collected in The Lost Writings.  The one big surprise for me is how well fleshed-out the part of the story that exists is.   It’s unfinished, but the sentences that are there are well composed (depending on how much translator Michael Hofmann has added to or spruced up the original German).

It feels like he he plotted and executed the beginning of the story very thoroughly and then just stopped.

In this fragment, the narrator is sitting next to his wife in a theater box.  The play was exciting–a jealous man was raising a knife to stab his wife.

The narrator leaned over to his wife, but what they thought was curtain was actually a man.  He and his wife jumped in shock. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Archive Volume Three “2 Long Songs” (2005/2020). 

In early August, Boris digitally released six archival releases.  Volume Three is called “2 Long Songs” and that’s what it contains.

There are two songs in this live recording, one is 15 minutes, the other is 22 and this whole recording is just fantastic.

Originally released in 2005 from the US label “aRCHIVE”, limited to 600 copies which sold out immediately. A precious live recording from their early days, of Boris’s 1996 debut single song release, “Absolutego”, and “flood”, released in 2000, performed live together as “1 song, 1 production”.
(Reissued as part of Archive 1 on March 5, 2014. Limited to 1,000 copies).

Like the other Archive releases, this one was also recorded at Koenji 20000V.  This time in 2001–so the band and the quality of the recording are much improved.

“Absolutego” is a sixty minute song released as one long track on Boris’ debut album.  So a 15 minute version is quite truncated.  This version has a slow three-note bass line that slowly adds feedbacking guitars and cymbals.   At two and a half minutes, the drums loudly pound in–like Atsuo is introducing himself to the set.  But five minutes, the full on washes of noise have taken over the song and a few minutes later, Atsuo starts scream/singing.  The song starts speeding up and by 12 minutes there’s lots of cymbal crashing as the song crescendoes into a conclusion of feedback and warped sounds.

“flood” is a 70 minute song (!).  It is their third album (which was recorded in four parts).  This song is much prettier and far less abrasive and here is only 22 minutes long.  It opens with a pretty, quiet melody.  It is slow and moody punctuated by cymbals and echoing noises.  At four minutes the vocals come in–quietly singing in harmony.  Then the drums come crashing in, building to waves of guitar noise and cymbals as the loud bass pushes the song along.  A break introduces a high three note riff as the singing continues.  Is that Wata singing?  By fifteen minutes, Atsuo is making judicious use of the gong–a great punctuating sound.  The last seven minutes are a conclusion as the song drones out to the end.

This is one of my favorite archival releases.  The band sounds great and they perfectly jam out these long songs.

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal ;  Wata: Guitar & Echo ; Atsuo: Drums & Vocal

[READ: August 15, 2020] “The Report”

This is a short story and I agree with the first sentence: “The report is bizarre.”

A woman has hired a man to bring information about her husband.  The man followed the woman’s husband who worked at an office in Barcelona.  But he spends a lot of his time in Madrid.  With another woman.  They meet every Thursday and Friday

The wife does not want to know the other woman’s name.

But the man tells her that the other woman is very ugly–her husband turns off the light as soon as he can because, “her face frightens him.”  He takes long showers after lovemaking.

Then the man stands up and says that there are solutions to problems like this–we know how to get rid of people.   But the wife is not interested. (more…)

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download (89)SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Archive Volume Two “Drumless Shows” (2005/2020). 

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In early August, Boris digitally released six archival releases.  Volume Two is called “Drumless Shows” and that’s what it contains.

I tend to think of drummer Atsuo as the leader of the band–he’s the mouthpiece after all. Plus, he’s the most larger than life of the three.  And, his drum sound is huge.

To have 46 minutes of drummless Boris music is quite a change.  It is, as the blurb says, the beginning of Drone Metal history.

Originally released in 2005 from the US label “aRCHIVE”, limited to 600 copies which sold out immediately. Includes 2 songs recorded live from Boris’s 1998 studio album “Amplifier Worship” and 1 song from “Early Demo”, all arranged for a drumless performance. The beginning of Drone Metal history in 1997.
(Reissued as part of Archive 1 on March 5, 2014. Limited to 1,000 copies)

The first of two songs from Amplifier Worship is “Huge” which was also on Archive 1 (this version was recorded at Nagoya Music Farm 9th Aug 1997).  It is 17 minutes long and is very different sounding without the drums.  It’s all drone with one of the instruments sounding almost like a didgeridoo.  After ten minutes echoing screamed vocals comes in but the drone remains.

The final two songs were recorded at Koenji 20000V 8th Aug 1997.  “Mosquito” was also on Archive 1.  It was three minutes there, but it is stretched out to 17 minutes of slow pummeling chords and guttural noises from Atsuo (I assume).  After ten minutes Atsuo starts chanting slowly with the thumping chords.  The final chords echo and feedback as they segue into

“Vomitself” also from Amplifier.  This track is only 12 minutes of drone.  About six minutes in the melody changes briefly before reverting back to the original sound.  For the final two or so minutes, squealing feedback brings this archive to a close.

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal ; Wata: Guitar & Echo ; Atsuo: Drums & Vocal.

[READ: August 12, 2020] Peep Show

Thirteen years ago I read Braff’s The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green and really liked it.  Then I forgot all about him.

This book was nothing like his more whimsical first novel.

It is set in the mid 1970s.  The main character is David Arbus, a seventeen year old high school student in New Jersey.  His main interest is photography.  He has a younger sister, Debra, whom he loves very much.  But his parents are something else entirely.

David’s father owns “real estate” in New York City.  This means that he owns The Imperial, a burlesque theater where women strip for money.  But this is the 1970s and men don’t just want tame strip shows anymore–they want to see everything.  They want porn flicks.  They want peep show booths.  They want sex toys.

But David’s father doesn’t want any of that.  He wants his business to stay “classy,” even though all of his friends and partners think he’s crazy for passing up the opportunity to make a lot more money.

David is aware of his father’s business although Debra is not. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Archive Volume One “Live 96-98” (2005/2020)

In early August, Boris digitally released six archival releases.  Volume One is called “Live 96-98” and that’s what it contains.  There’s eight songs all recorded in the same place Koenji 20000V, once a year or so.

Originally released in 2005 from the US label “aRCHIVE”, limited to 600 copies which sold out immediately. Compiled from live recordings during Boris’s “Power Violence” period 1996 – 1998, including songs from the 1998 studio album “Amplifier Worship” and Archive Volume Zero “Early Demo”.  (Reissued as part of Archive 1 on March 5, 2014. Limited to 1,000 copies).

The first two songs were recorded in December 1996.  They are not for the faint of heart.

“Huge” is a ten minute drone.  It’s full of feedback and slow chord progressions that repeat until after five minutes, when Wata hits a high note and Atsuo starts screaming along with the thumping drums.  It segues into “Hush” which is 53 seconds of thrash: pounding guitar and drums, including something of a drum solo by the end while someone sings to it.

The next chunk of songs were recorded six months earlier.  “Soul Search You Sleep” is nearly 9 minutes of crashing chords with lots of screamed vocals.  There’s a brief fast section before the slow drones return.  Wata takes a guitar solo near the end which segues into “Vacuuum” which is a minute and a half long.  It starts with that wailing guitar solo until the pummeling drums and screamed vocals take over.  It ends with feedback that segues into “Mosquito” a slower song that has chanted vocals from both Atsuo and Takeshi.

“Mass Mercury” was recorded almost a year later.  Things aren’t radically different, but they allow some of the noise to drop away a bit more.  It opens with feedback and fast riffing guitars.  After a minute and a half everything drops out but some pulsing bass and guitar effects from Wata. The pulsing runs through to the end after a middle section of growls and drums.  It segues into “Scar Box,” which is a big slow riff.  Unexpectedly, mid song it briefly turns into a crushing hardcore song with shouted growly vocals until it slows back to crashing heavy chords.

The final track is the newest of the bunch.  It’s 8 minutes long and starts as a fast hardcore song.  Then a bass and drum rumble takes over and things slow down while Wata makes some airplane-like sounds it her guitar.  The solo loops and phases through to the end until about a minute left when both singers start shouting through to the crashing end.

I’m not sure if they are singing in Japanese or just growling, but it’s a pretty intense 45 minutes of live music.

[READ: August 12, 2020] A Very Punchable Face

I wasn’t really sure how I felt about Colin Jost.  I like him on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and yet as the title of his book says, he has a very punchable face.  And, as I say every time I read a memoir–I don’t really care about memoirs all that much.  And yet here’s another one I’ve read.  And it’s yet another one from a cast member of Saturday Night Live–a show that I don’t think is all that great (but the memoirs are usually quite good).

There was an excerpt form this book in the New Yorker and it made me laugh at loud, so I looked forward to reading the rest of the book.

The beginning is interesting in that he says he had a hard time learning to speak–an odd thing for a TV news presenter.  But really the most fun part starts when he tells us about the astonishing amount of bad fortune he has had–his delivery about it all is hilarious.

The chapter “You’re Gonna Need Stitches” lists the six times (throughout his life) that he has had to get stitches–one was from getting a surfboard to the face!  Indeed there are two stories of surfing –not something I expected from a guy from Staten Island.  The second one involves being saved by Jimmy Buffet (and how much Jost enjoys eating at Margaritaville restaurants–I can’t get over how much alcohol must be consumed at a this franchise).  There’s also a crazy story about him visiting Google and getting injured by the VR machine.  He even somehow managed to possibly have insect eggs laid under his skin.  Ew! (more…)

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20000000SOUNDTRACK: KAWABATA MAKOTO [河端一]-I’m in Your Inner Most (2001).

a3548319280_16Recently, Kawabata Makoto [河端一], mastermind behind Acid Mothers Temple, revealed a new bandcamp site for some newer releases.

This is Kawabata Makoto’s minimal music works by his own ensemble reissued in 2002 with a bonus track.

This album is in fact two parts of the same song (technically). And they’re the first of his solo works to predominantly feature organ.  It also features artwork by Kawabata Sachiko

“I’m In Your Inner Most Part.1″ (19.11)  starts with a repeated organ riff and (the inevitable) high-pitched feedback sounds.  This one also has the voice of Audrey Ginestet repeating one word (drift? drip? something in French?).  Every few measure a new item is added and repeated–mostly organ notes in a pattern or a scale.  The last five minutes or so feels like a two note siren as the high notes soar around the top.”

I’m In Your Inner Most Part.2″  (20.24)  opens with that repeated word.  This piece feels a biot more like an improv with organ and the tambura rotating through.

Kawabata Makoto is credited with electric organ, electric harpsichord, violin, tambura, percussion, electronics and electric guitar on this release.

The bonus track is called “Osculation (remix version)”  (15.32).  I can’t tell exactly what it is remixing as it sounds like parts of both songs are melded together.  There is a lot of church organ sounds and repeating motifs.  But around 11 minutes a grinding noise comes into the song and start to take over until the end is just all noise.

Like most of Kawabata’s solo album, this one feels improvised and off the cuff.  The inclusion of the organ however, makes this one solitary in his vast catalog.

[READ: June 13, 2020] “Man-Eating Cats”

Twenty years apart, Murakami has two surreal stories about animals. Actually, this one is far less surreal than the monkey story, but there is a supernatural component for sure.

The story opens with the narrator reading to Izumi from the newspaper.  The article is about a woman who died and her cats ate her–they had been alone in the apartment for about a week with no food.

Izumi wants to know what happened to the cats, but the paper doesn’t say.  She wonders if he were the town’s mayor or chief of police, would he have the cats put down?  He suggests reforming them into vegetarians, but Izumi didn’t laugh at that. (more…)

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june8SOUNDTRACK: KAWABATA MAKOTO [河端一]-Jellyfish Rising (2005).

a1318054058_16Recently, Kawabata Makoto [河端一], mastermind behind Acid Mothers Temple, revealed a new bandcamp site for some newer releases.

This is another one of Kawabata Makoto’s minimal music works by electric guitars.  It also has two lengthy tracks.

“Astral Aurelia Aurita Laavarek” (28:05) is an echoing looping solo guitar piece.  It is chill and pretty. The looping is fairly quick until about 11 minutes when he slows it down to single notes.  The faster notes are still floating around in the background–ever so slowly fading away.  The pace speeds up and slows down through the rest of the song, creating a wall of new agey vibes.

“Meditation Of Pelagia Panopyra Perea” (27:16) is a similar style but deeper notes and a much lower backing drone.  This whole piece feels less relaxing but still soothing in a different way.

This might be my favorite solo record so far.

[READ: June 13, 2020] “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey”

The narrator met the titular monkey about five years ago in Gunma Province at a small Japanese-style inn.  He had arrived at the hot springs town and needed a place to crash for the night.  The place was practically a flophouse, but it was cheap and it was just one night.

But the hot springs bath was wonderful.  He was by himself and he spent a long time there, getting light-headed.

That’s when the monkey walked in and said “Excuse me.”  The monkey asked if the bath was satisfactory and if the narrator would like his back scrubbed (he did).

The monkey “didn’t have any clothes on.  Which, of course, is usually the case for a monkey, so it didn’t strike me as odd.” (more…)

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