Reviews :: Chris Watson (UA!), Kawabata Makoto, Otomo Yoshihide, Melt-Banana, Merzbow, Guilty Connector Und Tabata, Exias-J
- 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.
[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)"
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"
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
MPEG Stream: "Ol-Olool-O"
MPEG Stream: "Vatnajokull"
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"
MPEG Stream: "A Dreamer Who Is Too Weak To Face Up To"
MPEG Stream: "Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold"
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"
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"
MPEG Stream: "Noise Goes The Weasel!"
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"
The Eclectic Sounds of Japan
[Sound :: Lounge] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoundLounge