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1178Reviews :: Chris Watson (UA!), Kawabata Makoto, Otomo Yoshihide, Melt-Banana, Merzbow, Guilty Connector Und Tabata, Exias-J

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  • Wesley
    Jun 26, 2003
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      Reviews :: Chris Watson (UA!), Kawabata Makoto, Otomo Yoshihide,
      Melt-Banana, Merzbow, Guilty Connector Und Tabata, Exias-J

      more noise rock and improvised noise act reviews and sound samples from
      AR. there's also one on Chris Watson's new album. he seems to be the
      same Chris Watson who UA used as the sound intro in her recent live
      'Sora no Koya' DVD and CD.
      -Wesley
      [Sound :: Lounge] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoundLounge
      --

      source: Aquarius Records

      KAWABATA, MAKOTO I'm Here Still Now (Live At La Chapelle) (Ochre) cd 16.98
      What would an AQ-list be without at least one or two new Kawabata
      Makoto/Acid Mothers Temple releases on it?? Well I don't think we're
      ever gonna find out... Here's a new solo release, and as ususal, it's
      really very nice. One long piece for droning electric guitar and sarangi
      (a kind of Indian droning fiddle), beautifully dark and gentle. The
      listener will encounter some episodes of tangled string-scrape, but
      mostly this just slowly flows forward, soft and soothing. It sorta
      sounds like it should be heard in church. Recorded live (complete with
      little glitches) in France while Kawabata was over there hanging out
      with his friends in Ueh.
      MPEG Stream: "I'm Still Here Now (exerpt)"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/kawabataimstillhere.m3u


      MULLER, GUNTER / OTOMO YOSHIHIDE Time Travel (Erstwhile) cd 14.98
      An electronic improv scrape-scape from world reknowned sonic
      experimentalists Otomo Yoshihide (electric guitar, turntables,
      electronics) and Gunter Muller (iPod, minidisc, electronics, and of
      course 'selected' percussion). Yay iPod!
      The duo conjure tones and drones that are quiet, textured, well-paced,
      and pleasing. Pretty, even. There's unspecified twitter and glitch that
      could be guitar notes or field recordings of forest birdsounds, or both,
      and probably is.
      Erstwhile has become the most reliable label out there for wonderfully
      detailed, abstract modern free improv stuff that incorporates
      electronics as much as it does "regular" instruments. So of course this
      neither Muller nor Otomo's first appearance on Erstwhile.
      MPEG Stream: "Matsushima 89"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/mullerotomomatsushima.m3u


      WATSON, CHRIS Weather Report (Touch) cd 14.98
      Oooh. We're super pleased to get this new Chris Watson field recordings
      album (see note below). He's one of our favorites in the realm of just
      going out in the world, shutting up, and listening. With really good
      equipment and recording skills, that is. In the past he's brought us up
      close and personal with a variety of African wildlife, as well as the
      fauna of his native England. Now with the perhaps too-obviously titled
      "Weather Report" he focuses on the bigger picture, not just animals but
      the places in which they reside, which means a lot of weather phenomena
      in the mix.
      There's three long tracks, each providing an aural portrait of a
      location over time. Kinda like time-lapse film, but the action is not
      sped up here, just carefully edited together. They're all natural
      environments, not urban, the first ("Ol-Oloool-O") taking you on a
      virtual expedition into the wilds of Kenya's Masai Mara, one day in
      October 2002. The next, "The Lapaich" compresses four months of sound
      from a Scottish highland glen in the fall and winter. Lastly,
      "Vatnajokull" closely examines the slow flow of a glacier in Iceland,
      which sounds like drone piece from our experimental section. From
      animals, birds and insects to washes of wind and rain to quiet, creaking
      ice, this is all pretty darn magical. Newcomers to Watson's work should
      note that there's no processing of the sound to make it "experimental
      music", it's a straight-up documentary with no additions or interference
      (aside from the neccessary edits). Then again, I suppose it is "music"
      in the John Cage 4'33'' sense. And it's wonderful sound. Amazing,
      vibrantly real stuff that'll fire your imagination. If you've seen that
      amazing new documentary movie "Winged Migration" you've got a filmic
      analogy to the kind of thing Watson captures here.
      NB. You know, it's a bit embarrassing, but we've never listed this man's
      releases in our database before, aside from the "Star Switch On" disc of
      remixes and his contribution to Hazard's "Wind".
      Whoops! Dunno how that happened, 'cause we're all really big fans of his
      work. So, at least we can offer a timely review of this, his third
      proper release on Touch, and perhaps retroactively review his previous
      efforts "Outside The Circle Of Fire" and "Stepping Into The Dark" on a
      future list.
      MPEG Stream: "Ol-Olool-O"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/watsonololoolo.m3u
      MPEG Stream: "Vatnajokull"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/watsonvatnajokull.m3u


      MELT-BANANA Cell-scape (A-Zap) lp 9.98
      Now on vinyl! A new record from spazz-prog-punk rockers Melt-Banana and
      while the overall sound is not all that different, they continue to get
      better and better, and dare we say more listenable with each record.
      Less ear splitting high end skree this time around, and a much warmer
      production, as well as some really catchy songs and great riffs make
      this possibly the best MB record yet. Plus there's a bunch of strange
      midtempo 'breakdowns' as well as some bizarre production and electronic
      fuckery that add even more dimension to MB's already unique sonic
      palette. But fear not, still present are the fingernails-on-a-chalkboard
      guitars and the hyperspeed chipmunk vocals and the spazzy rhythms, it
      all just sounds much more refined. Allan thinks the new Melt-Banana
      sounds like a bizarre hybrid of three other records on this weeks list:
      the Simply Saucer, the Agoraphobic Nosebleed and the Cats And Kittens
      cds. Which is actually not all that far off the mark!
      MPEG Stream: "Shield For Your Eyes, A Beast In The Well On Your Hand"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/meltshield.m3u
      MPEG Stream: "A Dreamer Who Is Too Weak To Face Up To"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/meltdreamer.m3u
      MPEG Stream: "Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/meltlost.m3u


      MERZBOW / PAN SONIC V (Victo) cd 15.98
      When is a Noise Record (tm) not a noise record. Well, 'V' is definitely
      not going to answer that question, because this is unequivocally,
      without a doubt, a noise record. Most of this sounds like vintage
      Merzbow. Shards of white noise and digital skree, sheets of feeding back
      effects processors, a mighty wall of head crushing sound. Good stuff,
      but nothing we haven't heard a thousand times before. Good thing Pan
      Sonic were on hand to mix things up a little. But only a little. No real
      rhythms or beats to be found, but Pan Sonic's rhythmic tendencies do
      come to the surface about 2/3 of the way through this hour long
      performance with pulses of white hot static and crunchy digital throbs,
      but ultimately they quickly dissipate and fade back into the thick wash
      of this Noise Record (tm).
      MPEG Stream: "V"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/merzpanV.m3u


      GUILTY CONNECTOR UND TABATA s/t (Even Stilte Records) cd 17.98
      Wow, an interesting collaboration here. Mitsuru Tabata you may know as
      K.K. Null's co-guitarist in Japanese heavies Zeni Geva, as well as being
      an early member of the Boredoms, among other bands on his lengthy
      resume. He's also a solo artist -- his 1999 album "Brainsville" became a
      big favorite around here, an excursion into "rural Eastern psych" guitar
      that demonstrated his obvious love of '70s krautrock head music
      (Kawabata Makoto isn't the only Japanese guy obsessed with that stuff!).
      Meanwhile, Tokyo's Kohei "The Fast" Nakagawa has made quite a few
      uber-noisy recordings under the name Guilty Connector, brutal power
      electronics in a punky Merzbow vein, including a split with Birchville
      Cat Motel. Good harsh stuff.
      So, what does a collaboration between these two sound like? Well
      apparently Tabata (a big record collector) had been mentoring his friend
      Kouhei's interest in dub and psychedelic music, and naturally enough the
      duo was soon inspired to do these recordings, which turned out much more
      abstract and noisy that Tabata's "Brainsville", although Kohei's noise
      antics are tempered by Tabata's melodic psych ideas. Instruments
      utilized primirarly include electric guitars, guitar-synth, effects
      (Tabata) and "UTSU electronics" (Kohei), plus everything from acoustic
      12 string guitar to toy music boxes to theremins, percussion, contact
      mics, and electric heaters! Oh and tape loops, lots of tape loops. The
      tracks are dynamic and varied -- some pieces end up all spacey and
      droned-out, with howling layers of distortion, while others are full of
      blip and electro-acoustic glitch, with bell-like sounds and echoey
      electronics. Certainly Japanophile fans of Acid Mothers Temples' most
      erratic and eccentric stuff, the Boredoms Super Roots experiments, Boris
      with Keiji Haino, etc. should dig this. Boasting a nice cover painting
      by underground manga artist Imiri Sakebashira, this is a fine debut
      release for French label Even Stitle.
      MPEG Stream: "Le Schiaue Esistono Ancora"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/guiltytabataleschiaue.m3u
      MPEG Stream: "Noise Goes The Weasel!"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/guiltytabatanoise.m3u


      EXIAS-J Electric Conception "Avant-Garde" (PSF) cd 19.98
      Batten down the hatches, this is some seriously loud n' dense n' noisy
      Japanese "jazz" music. Jazz? Well not if your idea of jazz doesn't
      include massive grinding drones. This is free improvised mayhem,
      cavernous and chaotic, with LOTS of electronics, feedback, amplified
      electric guitar distortion. Howling effects, cymbal splashes, freakout
      guitar squall, pounding toms... Beautiful, especially if you're into
      stuff like Ascension, Borbetomagus, Dislocation, Rudolph Grey's Blue
      Humans and other examples of extreme electric freedom music. But there's
      no saxes here, so this might be even more accessible to more
      rock-oriented types out there. It's guitars and electronics, drums,
      synth and computer processing, with some piano that you can hear in the
      few moments of respite -- the five long tracks here do feature a few
      ominous calms betwixt the storms, quiet passages beautiful in their own
      right. Abstract and freeform, yet structured in such a way that this is
      definitely music, not noise, despite how noisy it gets. Very intriguing,
      moreso when you try to decipher the liner notes (which are presented in
      an English translation from the Japanese, but remain rather opaque and
      poetic). One thing they do explain is that this group's strange name is
      actually short for their full title: the Experimental Improvisers
      Assocation Of Japan! Some kind of loose collective of musicans and
      aesthetes (jazz, classical, film, philosophy, etc. we're told!) formed
      in 1999 by guitarist Hideaki Kondo. Apparently, they have a bunch of
      cds, some acoustic, some electric, out on their own label Bishop Records
      that we've never ever seen -- but we'll have to try to hunt them down on
      the strength of this PSF release, which sees their "electric conception"
      at full force, live in Yokohama, 2002. Leave it to PSF, home to Keiji
      Haino's Fushitsusha and those great archival recordings from Masayuki
      Takayanagi's New Direction Unit, to clue us in to these guys.
      MPEG Stream: "Cycle, Shifting"
      http://www.aquariusrecords.org/audio/exiasjcycle.m3u

      --
      The Eclectic Sounds of Japan
      [Sound :: Lounge] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoundLounge