ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE COSMIC INFERNO Starless And Bible Black Sabbath (Alien8 Recordings) cd 14.98
Japan's Acid Mothers Temple posse is laying their cards on the table with this one. With that title, which references both King Crimson and Black Sabbath, and the album cover, which sees AMT leader Kawabata Makoto standing in for the mysterious woman on the front of the first Black Sabbath album, they're paying tribute to two bands they love and also raising our expectations to perhaps unattainable levels, 'cause we love those bands too. I mean, are they REALLY gonna do the spirit of the Sabs and KC justice on this disc? Well being AMT I guess we shouldn't take them all that seriously. And no, they don't cover either band here or even end up sounding much like them. But this IS a pretty darn heavy and freaked out AMT album (moreso than usual, that is!). Kinda along the lines of their Electric Heavyland opus released a few years back on the same label, Starless And Bible Black Sabbath is a monster jam of epic, amped-up proportions that seems more like a tribute to heavy Hawkwind or maybe Monster Magnet than the two bands alluded to by the title. And that's fine by us! Kawabata isn't a riffmeister like Tony Iommi anyway, nor do his albums usually attain the level of compositional complexity for which King Crimson were noted. But both Sabbath and Crimson had their improvisational sides as well (better known in KC's case but definitely a big part of early Sabbath too) and that's perhaps what's inspiring the always jam-ready AMT here! You get two tracks, "Starless And Bible Black Sabbath" being a mammoth, mostly instrumental 34 and a half minute workout full of plodding, heavy riffage and gibbering gobs of spaced out FX. Again, although one bit reminds us of Sabbath's "Children Of The Grave", this could just as easily be a tribute to Hawkwind or Guru Guru or even Soundgarden (isn't that the "Outshined" riff in there?), but whatever, it's the sort of cosmic, crushing chaos which we love from Kawabata and Co., and would be the perfect AMT track to attract fans of bands like Electric Wizard and Ufomammut. Though exhausting enough by itself, they don't stop with that, as a second, six minute track -- the sloppy, speedy, frenzied "Woman From A Hell" -- finishes off the album like the Pink Fairies in a race with the devil. Dunno, even though we had our doubts 'cause of the cheekiness of the title/cover, this might just be our favorite AMT release in a while!
"Starless And Bible Black Sabbath" MPEG Stream:
"Woman From A Hell"
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE COSMIC INFERNO / WHITE HILLS Sonic Attack (Psychedelic Warlords) (Trensmat) 7" 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Wow. We sold out of these in a heartbeat. We did everything we could to get more, and lo and behold, we did actually discover two places that had them, but when they showed up, every single copy had a little gouge in the cover. So we tried to get replacements, but apparently, a huge chunk of the pressing had that little dent in the sleeve, so... since this is WAY out of print from the label, as well as pretty much every distro we order from, we figured that we might as well list these since, barring that little imperfection, these are pretty much perfect, the vinyl is mint, it's just that dang little gouge. So here you go, we have about 40 of these, and these are most definitely the LAST COPIES EVER. Be aware that the covers do have that slight imperfection / little gouge on the back, but this record RULES, both tracks from both bands are amazing, so if you can handle that little thing on the back of the sleeve, suck it up and dig into these two slabs of psychedelic space rock bliss! Where to even start... HAWKWIND. The mighty lords of drugged out space rock, without whom, most of the bands we love might not even exist. These four Hawkwind records: Doremi Fasol Latido, Hall Of The Mountain Grill, In Search Of Space, and Space Ritual, are pretty much all anyone needs to know about space rock. Or whatever it is that Hawkwind do, long sprawling jams, extended psychedelic workouts, heavy and trippy, totally drugged out and divine, while at the same time, surprisingly catchy. But yeah, aQ folks probably already know how much we love Hawkwind. So if we were to pick six bands to cover classic Hawkwind tunes, we might not have picked these six, but then again, we very well might have: Mudhoney, Mugstar, Acid Mothers Tempo And The Cosmic Inferno, White Hills, Kinski, Bardo Pond. Holy hell! If this were just a comp with those bands, we'd be all over it, but the fact that they're covering Hawkwind seems like it was made just for the aQ faithful, and who knows, maybe it was. Spread out over three 7"s, we almost didn't list these separately, but as a set, 'cause to our minds, who the heck would only want one or two of these? But you never know, so for those of you who didn't already freak out and toss all three into your cart, here's a brief bit about each specific 7": Volume 2, "Psychedelic Warlords", features Acid Mothers Temple, who are an obvious choice to pay homage to a band who was doing the AMT thing 30 years ago, and in true AMT fashion, Kawabata and company go for it, covering "Brainstorm" although it's difficult to tell, as it's buried under sheets of wild freaked out psych guitar and blown out space rock effects EVERYWHERE. It really doesn't sound all that different from any number of other AMT jams, but that's basically because every AMT jam is a tribute to Hawkwind, isn't it? AMT are matched up with NYC's White Hills, who ditch much of their usual spaceiness for something a bit harder, tackling "Be Yourself" with crunchy chugging guitars, pounding drums, wild tangles of distortion drenched leads over the top, the band not so much covering the original, as transforming it into an endless psychedelic hard rock loop, the band churning and grinding out a steady stream of psychedelia over that endless main riff, before drifting off into a cloud of glittering soft psych shimmer. The packaging is brilliant, perfectly tripped out psychedelic acid flashback, naked lady, geometric design, cribbed from the original Hawkwind artwork (or at the very least, an incredible simulation), the sleeves are printed complete with shelf wear and corner creases (so don't complain, they're meant to look like they've been on your shelf for decades), each one SUPER LIMITED!
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O Lord Of The Underground: Vishnu And The Magic Elixir (Alien 8) cd 15.98
*Acid Mothers Temple alert* *Acid Mothers Temple alert* *Acid Mothers Temple alert* Ok, so when are they gonna build a pipeline, or start a satellite radio station, or take over every page on MySpace, so they can deliver their soundz 24-7, and we can mainline AMT from the source all day every day?? Instead the psychedelic music of the Acid Mothers is doled out (ever so quite often!) in album-length chunks. Here's the latest installment from the hardest working hippies in Japan. Three tracks are offered up here, "Eleking The Clay" (14:00), "Sorcerer's Stone Of The Magi" (3:52), and "Vishnu And The Magic Elixir" (25:34). The first is a vibratory, Middle Eastern tinged trance-rocker, it's relentlessly awesome, definitely a highlight of recent AMT action. The relatively brief second track is more of an acoustic-ethnic-folky affair, quite lovely. And then the big track three is a drug-gobbling jam, full of quacking, quaking chaos, like Guru Guru gone totally mental, Kawabata's guitar soloing wildly towards the gloriously noisy everything-louder-than-everything else ending. All of three tracks here are of course liberally drenched in enough spacey FX for ten Hawkwind records. Familiar territory for AMT fans for sure, and as always a nice place to be! The cd format is digipacked, while the limited edition lp version is resplendent on pink vinyl!
"Eleking The Clay" MPEG Stream:
"Vishnu And The Magic Elixir"
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O Lord Of The Underground: Vishnu And The Magic Elixir (Alien 8) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. *Acid Mothers Temple alert* *Acid Mothers Temple alert* *Acid Mothers Temple alert* Ok, so when are they gonna build a pipeline, or start a satellite radio station, or take over every page on MySpace, so they can deliver their soundz 24-7, and we can mainline AMT from the source all day every day?? Instead the psychedelic music of the Acid Mothers is doled out (ever so quite often!) in album-length chunks. Here's the latest installment from the hardest working hippies in Japan. Three tracks are offered up here, "Eleking The Clay" (14:00), "Sorcerer's Stone Of The Magi" (3:52), and "Vishnu And The Magic Elixir" (25:34). The first is a vibratory, Middle Eastern tinged trance-rocker, it's relentlessly awesome, definitely a highlight of recent AMT action. The relatively brief second track is more of an acoustic-ethnic-folky affair, quite lovely. And then the big track three is a drug-gobbling jam, full of quacking, quaking chaos, like Guru Guru gone totally mental, Kawabata's guitar soloing wildly towards the gloriously noisy everything-louder-than-everything else ending. All of three tracks here are of course liberally drenched in enough spacey FX for ten Hawkwind records. Familiar territory for AMT fans for sure, and as always a nice place to be! The cd format is digipacked, while the limited edition lp version is resplendent on pink vinyl!
"Eleking The Clay" MPEG Stream:
"Vishnu And The Magic Elixir"
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE SWR Stones, Women & Records (Magaibutsu) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's an ***Acid Mothers Temple alert*** and also a ***Ruins alert*** with this one. Japanese underground music devotees, look alive! The clumsily-named Acid Mothers Temple SWR unit is a power trio consisting of drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins, etc.), guitarist Makoto Kawabata (AMT, etc.), and bassist Atsushi Tsuyama (AMT, etc.). They've released one album under this moniker previously (and several together under other names -- this is the same lineup as Seikazoku). And as before, this time around they've created a crazed, semi-improvised rock tribute to three of their favorite things: Stones, Women, and Records (SWR)!! The cheesecake cover photo sorta says it all. Who else would pose a woman in a bikini on a rock holding a record? Anyway, there's 18 confusional tracks here ranging from spastic jazz noodlings to country-pop parodies to plenty of out-n-out freek-rock, all of it played with hella chops and tongues, we think, planted firmly in cheek (which doesn't stop them from accomplishing all sorts of insane vocals). They jump from one musical idea to the next without warning, somehow managing to cram outbursts of heaviness, interludes of genuine beauty, Black Sabbath quotes, and even kazoos all onto this same perverse prog platter! The song titles are incomprehensible in-jokes ("Very Very Very Jazz - deer cries with 'KAGYEEYO' in the breeding season", "Fairy music of foolish sushi bar - country singer NARENA BAYSTAR", "Ahla Hassanbeck Lamborghini rock"...????) and these guys are as silly as they are psychedelic, but AMTSWR don't mess around at messing around, even the most humorless avant-listener (of a psych bent) should walk away impressed at this music. Think Acid Mothers Temple meets old Omoide Hatoba and Boredoms... Yeah. "Forever stones, Forever women, Forever records"!
"Uzumgayu - Just George Benson" MPEG Stream:
ADACHI TOMOMI ROYAL CHORUS Yo (Tzadik) cd 16.98
Leave it to John Zorn's Tzadik to unearth the most absurd and maddening Japanese underground groups for our amusment/amazement. Certainly this one qualifies in that regard. Composer Adachi Tomomi leads this eight-member vocals-only ensemble, who don't let their lack of instruments hold them back musically! Nope, the human voice is the only instrument they need. Perhaps you remember the accapella Ruins side-project Zubi Zuva that also had a Tzadik release some years back? Well, this is kinda like that, but with more than twice as many voices, both male and female. Adachi's songs oft utilize a complex overlap of voices and precise arrangements that sometimes fall into a repetitive Minimalist compositional zone, and at other times will remind you of Warner Bros. cartoon scores. It's zany conceptual experimental stuff that touches on a lot of sounds and styles of singing, both with words and wordless. There's a certain amount of humor at play as well -- one of the highlights here is "Gu", an 8-minute epic of sleeping, snoring sounds!
"Ganzin" MPEG Stream:
AFRIRAMPO A' (Acid Mothers Temple) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The Osaka-based "ultra lunatic girl duo" who stepped in for Cotton Casino on the recent Acid Mothers Temple disc Minstrel In The Galaxy now have their own release on the AMT imprint. Afrirampo consist of Oni (vocals, guitar) and Pikacyu (vocals, drums) but it seems like there's waaay more people that just the two of them in the band. Maybe that's 'cause of all the crazy different kinds of vocals that spill out over everything here -- screaming, cookie monster grunts, shouted group chants, and chipmunk baby babble. All of which goes great with the band's music: totally energetic, catchy, bouncy, noisy, freaky stuff. If you're a musical Japanophile, you'll definitely hear a lot of early Boredoms / UFO Or Die / Melt Banana in this here album! Afrirampo's got the stomping spastic grooves, psychedelic sci-fi effects, chaotic catchiness, ethno-percussion, surfy rock n' roll licks...all that good stuff we love about old Boredoms. And the bizarro-nonsense level likewise seems pretty high. The disc ends with "Kunoichi", a throbbing 16 minute epic that builds from spaced-out insane asylum improv to crushing cosmic churn. Freakin' great. Just about what we'd expect from a band who not only hang with AMT, but also have jammed with Sonic Youth, Munehiro Narita of High Rise, Keiji Haino of Fushitsusha, and also pygmies in an African village where the duo spent several months last summer, or so we're told! Apparently this is an enhanced (with unreleased tracks and cd-rom materials) remastered reissue of what was once a cd-r release, recorded at some point early in the duo's career, which would be circa 2002. So we'll now definitely have to try and get a hold of more by this band!
"Dodododo" MPEG Stream:
"I Love You"
AFRIRAMPO Kore Ga Mayaku Da (Tzadik) cd 15.98
At last, an Afrirampo release that's not so hard to obtain, as the duo makes their domestic US debut on John Zorn's Tzadik label. John Zorn being the guy that first clued a lot of us in to the Boredoms, coincidentally enough. Well, whether deliberately or not, it would seem that the two girls from Osaka, Japan known as Afrirampo are channelling the chaos and confusion of early early Boredoms (who also hail from Osaka). If you miss the noisiness of the Boredoms circa Soul Discharge, you might have a nice flashback from this. There's lots of screaming and singing (the wild, wide variety of their vocals is one of Afrirampo's trademarks, along with the arty costumes that feature in their live presentations) and distorted guitar and crazed percussion and boundless energy here. Lots and lots of all that. It's all very dramatic and weird and doubtless annoying to some in the same way the Boredoms once were (some of US here at AQ actually can't stand to hear this when it's being played in the store). The very first track will let you know if you're up to their test or not: almost 12 minutes that range from raging Bore-punk to vocal baby babble to mean metal guitar riffage. If you dig that, the rest of the record will be right up your alley. And anyone who is already a fan won't be disappointed with this Tzadik disc either.
"I Did Are" MPEG Stream:
"Nakimushikemushi Good Bye!"
AFTER DINNER Paradise of Replica (Detector) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. After Dinner was an '80s Japanese art rock band that featured the delicate and beautiful vocals of Haco (she of but one name). This 1989 album of theirs (originally a RecRec label LP) sees cd reissue in remastered form, and it is a true delight. Haco's vocals are matched by After Dinner's lovely music, avant chamber pop that is somewhat theatrical but always restrained (perhaps surprising given the thoughts of prog-rock overkill evoked by a list of the instrumentation used: harp, cello, flute, clarinet, glockenspiel, tung-saio, hichirki, oboe, piano, keys, tapes, bird sounds -- Haco herself is even credited with "volleyball" on one track!) The welcome reissue of this material (welcome especially to those of us who didn't discover it the first time around) is augmented by four additional tracks provided by an interesting international cast of remixers: Terre Thaemlitz, Ata Tak's Pascal Plantinga, Skist (Samm Bennett and Ito Haruna), and Joshua McKay of indie-ethno rockers Macha. This "Paradise of Remixes" can be considered bonus tracks in the best sense of the term: the original album stands fine without them, but they don't detract. All maintain continuity with what has gone before while updating AD's sound to the contemporary cutting edge of glitches and digital processing (for instance, the timestretching technique used by Thaemlitz to draw out one of Haco's utterances into a *timestopping* moment of vocal perfection), electronic approaches that bring to mind Haco's current work with Sachiko M and Michiyo Yagi avant-electronica trio Hoahio as well as Haco's recent solo disc "Happiness Proof". Well done!
"Kitchen Life I" RealAudio clip:
"Ironclad Mermaid" RealAudio clip:
"Paradaisu (Imada Kuufuku) [Terre Thaemlitz remix]"
AGATA Spike (Tzadik) cd 16.98
What would you expect a solo album from the phenomenal guitar player for Japanese art-spazz-punks Melt Banana to sound like? Probably a diverse and demented exercise in guitar-based creativity...and that's what you get. Spike features 25 instrumental tracks, mostly miniatures ranging from mere seconds to a minute or two in length, though the disc ends with a ten minute live epic. It's a wild array of scraping drones and squealling chaos, sounding more like video game gunfire in parts than anything resembling conventional "guitar playing". Yet despite all the effects and electronics at play, there's for sure some guitar strings and fingers in there too. Although for the most part on the harsher side of the musical spectrum, this disc is not without beauty. If you're already a Melt Banana fan, you'll find this quite listenable and attention-span friendly. Imagine Fred Frith vs. Buckethead... Agata seems particularily fond of extreme stereo panning, so we'd recommend headphones if you're brave!
"Ice Diver" MPEG Stream:
"Pinger" MPEG Stream:
"Armillary Sphere" MPEG Stream:
"E C C O Feedback"
AGENCEMENT Boxe Consonantique ( Pico) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Squeaking, scraping scraps of violin improv turned into musique concrete via magnetic tape and razorblade -- that's the specialty of Japan's Hideaki Shimada, aka Agencement. This disc contains two long, low-key, slowly unravelling tracks, one from '93 and the other from '99. Imagine the abstract avant-classical violin of someone like Malcolm Goldstein fractured further via tape splicing. This is apparently Agencement's fourth full-length release, although we've only ever seen his 1991 disc "Viosphere" (an old "Japanoise" favorite of ours, in fact). "Boxe Consonatique" may be considerably less dense and noisy than we remember "Viosphere" being, but is no less lovely.
AGENCEMENT Early Works 1983-1986 (Edition Omega Point) cd 27.00
AHOUSEN s/t (PSF) cd 17.98
"Lunatic avant-free-rock, honed in guerrilla street performance" we're told. Hmm, we know the streets of Tokyo are crowded, but we bet Ahousen cleared the block they were rockin'. Of course, had we been there to see 'em, we'd have stayed put in the street, digging Ahousen big time. This is some serious psychedelic guitar grit, drum tumble, distorto-bass trudge, avant-sax blat, and angsty-screamy vocal burble, from a Japanese band we first heard on PSF's Tokyo Flashback vol. 6 comp. The guitarist, Katsu, played in a band called Lizard back in the '70s, the drummer is Tail from Suishou No Fune. The quartet is rounded out by Suu on sax and vocals, and Akira on bass. Dunno what other bands they may be from, but being part of Ahousen seems cool enuff! Wild and wooly but also sometimes achingly melodic and melancholic, Ahousen (aka Ship Of Fools in English) is part free jazz, part psych rock, and part Japanese folk. It's like Albert Ayler meets Blue Cheer. Or Musica Transonic with sax and a hint of Enka. Beginning auspiciously enough with the energetic onslaught of "All Creatures", Ahousen's self-titled debut consists of four tracks in total, ranging in length from 7 minutes to an epic 28 ("Ophelia", which occupies the 2nd half of the album, certainly is a dramatic performance, compelling throughout, moving from moments of delicate frolic to heavy duty freakdom). Speaking of drama, even in the album's less fierce, more folky moments (like on the relatively lovely "A Leaf"), Suu's nervous breakdown, primal scream vocals up the emotional ante on everything else, his extreme outbursts being a major element of Ahousen's sound, and impact. Compared to other Tokyo Flashback style acts we like from the Tokyo psych scene, such as LSD-march and Up-Tight, these guys somehow sound more '70s underground, and more OUT there - in part due to the free jazz factor, in part due to those vocals... Radical. Fans of Fushitsusha and Kaoru Abe now have a dream date. And let's not limit ourselves merely to Japanese references, anyone into intense underground noisemaking from like likes of, I dunno, Raccoo-oo-oon, might want to sail into the maelstrom with this Ship Of Fools too. Pretty fantastic.
"All Creatures" MPEG Stream:
AI ASO Aida (PSF) cd 22.00
AI ASO Chamomile Pool (Pedal) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A couple of years ago Japan's Ai Aso served up an absolute dreamcake of an album titled Lavender, then last month she teamed up with Wata of Boris for an amazing book and 7" set. Ai's delights keep on coming with this, her latest full length. Her cooing Japanese waif vocals float like fallen blossoms atop a blurred watercolor stream of effected guitar and steady programmed Casio-esque rhythms. Taking a dip in this Chamomile Pool will surely have the same calming effect as the tea of the same name. We imagine it'd even make a great substitution for traditional baby lullaby fare. This will definitely soothe children of all ages, but the overall serenely elegant tone ensures its adult appeal too. Not an abrasive tone in sight, everything is smooth, soft and so very enchanting. Recommended.
"Date" MPEG Stream:
AI ASO Chamomile Pool Show (aRCHIVE) dvd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Just got these in today, list day, four new aRCHIVE dvd titles (Ai Aso, Mick Barr, Khlyst, and Suishou No Fune). So, we haven't had a chance to watch 'em yet but since they're limited and all we figured you'd rather we just went ahead and listed 'em now rather than waiting 2 weeks. And all four artists are pretty cool after all. Ai Aso is not so well known, 'round these parts, as the other three artists in this batch of dvd releases, but AQ customers should remember the Japanese chanteuse from her solo cds on Pedal that we've reviewed previously - and also from her split 7" (and photo book) with Wata from Boris. The material on this dvd comes from a 2007 show by Ai Aso & band in Tokyo, with guest cameos from Wata and also guitarist Michio Kurihara. Not having seen it yet, we can only assume it's in the same vein of dreamy psych pop we recall from Ai Aso's solo albums... Gorgeously packaged as per aRCHIVE standards (diecut, letterpress, heavy cardstock foldy cover). And, OF COURSE, it's limited to just 600 copies!!!
AI ASO Lavender (Pedal Records) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The gentlest Japanese folktronica imaginable. The album's title pretty much sums it up perfectly -- the faintest purple hue, the soft yet bright fragrance of the plant!
AIHIYO Live (PSF) cd 22.00
This is the second and possibly last document of Keiji Haino's cover band, which mutates Japanese rock classics (as well as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby", and "Satisfaction" by the Stones) into free-floating garage. This Haino record is certainly the worst of his career... It's so bad that you might be seeing my large collection of Fushitshusha / Haino records showing up in the used bin here at Aquarius really soon. Okay, I know that it's live and there is some "improvisation" that is going on here, but these are simplest blues based chords to ever be written, and Haino's band can't even figure out when to change chords. It's not hard to figure it out; the shittiest fraternity cover band could figure how to play a garage song - even after a few beers. And furthermore, Haino's voice is meant for the caterwaul and siren scream to accompany a furious guitar solo, not to limpwristedly sputter monosyllabic grunting over a blues band that would get booed off the stage anywhere else in America, but in San Francisco or New York, where a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals will be scratching their chins, chain-smoking Bebes, and sipping sludgy double espressos that have been cold for well over an hour and lost any flavor what-so-ever. When you listen to rock'n'roll, you should drink beer. Preferably, Pabst Blue Ribbon, but Schlitz or Olympia will do. Where was I... yeah this record sucks. I'm mad and Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska! [Note: Jim wrote this, not Allan or Jeff, who actually have big Keiji Haino collections, and beg to differ with Jim -- far from being the worst record of Haino's career, this in fact one of his best!! The cover of "Satisfaction" alone makes this worth the 21 bucks. Totally amazing, awesome album. Really. Or so WE think. And we drink PBR.]
AINOTAMENISHIS Live '418 (Holy Mountain) lp 14.98
You heard 'em on the recent Tokyo Flashback comp number six, now here's a full length document from this Japanese psych/punk combo. Do the math: out of print cd-r release x now on vinyl x on the ever-reliable Holy Mountain label = come 'n get it, Japanese psych fiends! Holy Mountain name drops Gaseneta and Velvet Underground as comparisons/influences. Somewhere in there for sure is the soul of the Ainotamenishis' rock abandon, like so many other heavy-duty Flashbackers we've been lucky to hear.
AKATEN Chateau du Akaten (Magaibutsu) cd 14.98
Two of the underground Japanese music scene's most proficient, prolific, and (sometimes) silly figures team up yet again for the duo project Akaten. That's bass-playing trickster Atsushi Tsuyama (Omoide Hatoba, Acid Mothers Temple, etc.) and drummer extraordinaire Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins, Koenjihyakkei, Musica Transonic, etc. etc.). This fifth Akaten disc sees them continue the humorous, conceptual, improvised antics of their previous releases. Most of the 20 short tracks on "Chateau" take some object or idea and attempt to either musically mimic it, or evoke it in song -- from wine to miso to fishing to the USA (in several sections: Record Company/Fast Food/United States/Baseball/National Park) to standing and browsing in a bookstore! These musical vignettes or impressions are sometimes funny, certainly strange, and quite varied (mixing sound effects, vocal acrobatics, pop, hardcore prog, and psych-rock, as you might expect from these guys). Not either musician's most serious work, obviously, but fun.
"Wine" RealAudio clip:
"USA: National Park" RealAudio clip:
"Tooth Brush" RealAudio clip:
"A Tradesman In Osaka"
AKIO SUZUKI Odds & Ends (Horen) 2cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Legendary Japanese musician / inventor / instrument builder / visionary Akio Suzuki is most likely unknown to most of you. But the more we discover, and the more of his music we hear, the more it seems like everyone needs to hear / experience his genius. Those of you who bought the recently re-listed Kogezan Koukiji double cd, a gorgeous ambient happening in a temple, surrounded by rain, have heard Suzuki performing on an ancient stone flute. And while the sound and spirit of the performance captured the tone and purpose of Suzuki's life and work, he is much more than just a stone flautist. Suzuki has been performing and building and teaching for 30+ years, exploring nature and how natural sounds can be captured and then set free, how one can get lost in the sounds all around us, and how music and creation and beauty exist always and everywhere. These tracks, as the titles suggests, are bits and pieces culled from the last 3 decades and reveal a spiritual pre-cursor to the Jewelled Antler collective, modern sound art and sound art exploration. Home made echo machines create throbbing, hypnotic voicescapes, warm and soft and naturally unique. Dancers' movements are translated into hand positions on a piano creating wild and unpredictable jumbles of notes. Hand made brick walls interact with wind and weather and expose their hidden emotions as haunting tones and subtle drones. Sounds are shuffled between multiple cassette decks creating insext symphonies of high end whir and distant chirps. Long glass tubes are struck and rubbed and bowed mimicking the sound of bird calls. Multiple turntables are used as the 'plates' in a musical game of plate juggling. Microphones are placed in rolled up tubes of paper, recording the phase shifts of people moving around the room and the sounds of the papers shifting. Roughly cut bamboo flutes accompanying the sound of a distant waterfall and the songs of birds. Suzuki's music is pure and zen, dreamy and uncluttered by the rules and worries of most modern music making. The liner notes are littered with effusive adulation from folks like Jim O'rourke ("All you have to do is listen"), David Toop ("I think of Akio Suzuki as a kind of magician") Yamatsuka Eye ("Hearing this music, I remember many things, including playing in a puddle as a tiny kid") and more. Suzuki reflects fondly on the recordings and offers us a glimpse into the soul of a shaman, truly in touch with himself and the sounds the earth has to offer. If we only know how, and where, to look.
"Analapos '70" MPEG Stream:
"Als-Ob" MPEG Stream:
"Ta Yu Ta I #2"
AKIYAMA, KUNIHARU Obscure Tape Music Of Japan: Volume 6 (Omega Point) cd 23.00
AKIYAMA, TETUZI Don't Forget To Boogie! (Idea) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Don't forget to boogie is right. Although you'd be hard pressed to actually boogie to this collection of minimal, hyper repetitive blues riffs. Maybe bouncing in place or nodding hypnotically would be more appropriate. Akiyama is a stalwart of the Japanese improv scene along with Taku Sugimoto and Otomo Yoshihide, but here has chosen to let his bluesman freak flag fly. Well, sort of. While these pieces are all 'blues', the riffs are endlessly repeated and slowly become a fuzzy, Reich-ian guitar rock dronescape, at times sounding like Henry Flynt playing the Muddy Waters songbook, at others like a novice guitar player practicing the only riff they know, and still at others like a busker in the subway. Allan posited that this is either the dumbest record he's ever heard, or the most amazing. I think I lean a little toward the latter. either way the overall affect is intoxicating and seriously hypnotic. And let's not forget the impeccable Idea Records packaging. A gold embossed obi hugs the edge of a dark photo of Akiyama, looking all badass cowboy, at a table piled high with tommy gun, booze, electric guitar, full ashtray, knife, gold coins and of course a glass of milk. The back cover is a brownish/blackish haze, with a glossy old fashioned skull barely visible, printed on top. So nice.
AKIYAMA, TETUZI Pre-Existence (Locust) cd 14.98
In 2003, Locust released the mighty fine Wooden Guitar compilation, featuring a tracks by some of the most interesting of the current crop of Fahey-inspired practicioners of folk-improv acoustic guitar: Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Richard Bishop. They've since followed up that release with solo discs by Bishop and, now, Akiyama. Akiyama, who hails from Tokyo, was responsible for the longest and perhaps most avant-garde track on the original compilation, as his guitar playing incorporates the silence and abstraction of the "onkyo" electronic improv scene happening in his hometown. Yet the dusty, folky old timeyness key to the "Wooden Guitar" concept is much in evidence as well. So, listen to Pre-Existence and let Akiyama slowly wrap his sprongy steel guitar strings 'round your head, as he plucks and strums what almost sounds like a blues for the guitar itself. There's a lot of knock knock percussive playing and lonesome sustained tones. It's maybe what John Fahey would sound like if totally slow-mo stoned on cough syrup. Of course that sounds good to us. Can't wait for more in this series!
"Atheist" MPEG Stream:
AKIYAMA, TETUZI Pre-Existence ( Bo'Weavil) lp 28.00
Now on vinyl! In 2003, Locust released the mighty fine Wooden Guitar compilation, featuring a tracks by some of the most interesting of the current crop of Fahey-inspired practitioners of folk-improv acoustic guitar: Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Richard Bishop. They've since followed up that release with solo discs by Bishop and, now, Akiyama. Akiyama, who hails from Tokyo, was responsible for the longest and perhaps most avant-garde track on the original compilation, as his guitar playing incorporates the silence and abstraction of the "onkyo" electronic improv scene happening in his hometown. Yet the dusty, folky old timeyness key to the "Wooden Guitar" concept is much in evidence as well. So, listen to Pre-Existence and let Akiyama slowly wrap his sprongy steel guitar strings 'round your head, as he plucks and strums what almost sounds like a blues for the guitar itself. There's a lot of knock knock percussive playing and lonesome sustained tones. It's maybe what John Fahey would sound like if totally slow-mo stoned on cough syrup. Of course that sounds good to us. Can't wait for more in this series!
"Atheist" MPEG Stream:
AKIYAMA, TETUZI Resophonie (A Bruit Secret) cd 16.98
AKIYAMA, TETUZI The Ancient Balance To Control Death (Western Vinyl) cd 11.98
Tetuzi Akiyama has always been one of the weirdest of the whole "Wooden Guitar" bunch, doing the lovely steel-string, neo-Appalachian folk thing a la Jack Rose and James Blackshaw in the John Fahey tradition sometimes, yeah, but often bringing to it the fractured logic and significant silences of the experimental "onkyo" improv scene he's a part of in Japan. Then there's his whole, under-documented uber-repetitive, electrified avant-garde "boogie" side. And, when he was here earlier this year and did an instore at Aquarius, he held us spellbound with slow-motion string pluckings that we could barely hear. So it's something of a surprise to find that this new seven-song, 15 and a half minute ep from Akiyama is entirely song-based, and not only that, he SINGS. There's lyrics printed on the cd sleeve, cryptic poetry suggestive of Biblical commands. Vocally, he sounds something like Devendra Banhart, believe it or not! But his nasal vocals are stereo-effected (double tracked), and maybe a bit off-key... so imagine The Shaggs doing a Devendra impression. The music fits with that to, as of course being Akiyama his compositions aren't gonna be easily grokked by your typical folk-fan. There's a definite Jandek-ishness to this, but by way of Takoma, an alienated, atonal quality that (for us) feeds perfectly into the strange dismal blues mood he's trying to conjure. With wheezing harmonica drones, rattling maracas, Akiyama's delta-delic acoustic guitar, and some dabbling in electronics, he has us spellbound again with these atypical Akiyama-ized death chants.
"Close The Door" MPEG Stream:
"I Will Be With You"
AKIYAMA, TETUZI & JASON KAHN Till We Meet Again (For 4 Ears) cd 14.98
AKIYAMA, TETUZI & JOZEF VAN WISSEM Proletarian Drift (BVHaast) cd 16.98
Japanese 'onkyo' (and sometimes minimalist electric boogie!) guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama is always up to something interesting. Here he engages in live improvisation with Dutch avant-garde lute player Jozef van Wissem, who plays some sort of Renaissance lute while Akiyama chimes in on a nylon string resonator guitar that has been tuned to Renaissance lute tuning. The two long tracks here are both gentle, yet sorta jarring... a bit like some traditional Chinese music in that way (to our ears). There's lots of near-silent, pregnant space betwixt the quavering string plucks and resonating notes, as you might expect from any recording featuring Akiyama. Quite nice if you're up for this sort of thing -- a fan of the more abstract "wooden guitar", "deltadelica" stuff on Locust, for instance.
"The Golden Mass"
AKIYAMA, TETUZI & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA Meeting At Off Site Vol 2 (Improvised Music From Japan) cd 17.98
AKIYAMA, TETUZI / OREN AMBARCHI / ALAN LICHT Willow Weep And Moan For Me (Antiopic) 3" cd 10.98
Ladies and gentlemen, The Blues Deceivers! Huh? Yes that's what this trio is calling themselves, says so right on the back of this spooky lil' 3". These three guitarists (representing Japan, Australia, and the USA respectively, all well known in underground music circles) agree that the tradition of 'the blues' should or could be (or already was) an aspect of their approach to experimental improvised guitar, and so teamed up for this live recording at the 2004 Bomb the Space Festival in Wellington, New Zealand to let their guitars gently weep and moan (like the willow of the title) in desolate and dismal blues style... avant "blues" that is, droning and eerie and abstract and evocative. The Blues Deceivers are definitely not the sort of blues band you'd find booked at the Boom Boom Room fer instance. No vocals, no drums... the only voices those of their guitars and the ghosts they conjure. For fans of Loren Connors, for sure, and also all three of these players, who have explored such old timey territory in their work to some degree or other before. It's 18 minutes, 47 seconds long in case you're wondering about how much music they fit on the 3" format, in this case.
"Willow Weep and Moan for Me (excerpt)"
AKIYAMA, TETUZI / TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA / OTOMO YOSHIHIDE / TAKU UNAMI Compositions for Guitar Vol. 2 (A Bruit Secret) cd 17.98
This might be the first we've heard of Taku Unami, but the other three Japanese guitarists here, Tetuzi Akiyama, Toshimaru Nakamura, and Otomo Yoshihide are all usual suspects from the "onkyo" scene of minimalist, fragmentary sound-making. So, perhaps we already know the unknown Unami by the company he keeps. As expected, this disc is a compendium of extreme guitar strategies, running the gamut from pedal steel string-slides amidst silence (Unami's "The Whisperer In Darkness") to similarly barely-there acoustic string-pluck that in its stark simplicity is quite beautiful (Akiyama's "Moebius Rings") to haunting feedback tones that some will find slightly preferable to a dog-whistle (Nakamura's "gt flo #2"), to an exuberant feedback/distortion fest (Otomo's "Plastics Pick & Mini-Motor"). All should provide ample satisfaction to fans of idiosyncratic avant-guitar play! (In case you're wondering, Compositions For Guitar Vol. 1, unlisted by us, featured the work of Brett Larner, Burkhard Stangl and Taku Sugimoto, whereas this is an all-Japanese affair).
TETUZI AKIYAMA "Mobeius Rings (for two guitars)" MPEG Stream:
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE "Plastics Pick & Mini-Motor"
AKIYAMA, TETUZI / TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA / TAKU SUGIMOTO / MARK WASTELL Foldings (Confront) cd 15.98
Very Special Nothing Music. Well, that's what Ed Pinsent at The Sound Projector calls the stuff found here. Recorded live at the Offsite space in Tokyo when London's uber-minimalist Mark Wastell was touring Japan in early 2002, this quartet revolves around the principles of very spare gestures for improvising. So quiet are these sounds that if someone were to wander into the performance off the street unawares, they might think that they found an audience staring at four men sitting quietly on a stage. But in fact, Wastell was working with three heavyweights of the Japanese improv community: Tetuzi Akiyama, who splits his time between the 'onkyo' aesthetics for generated silences and his avant-boogie rock explosions; Taku Sugimoto with his own take on minimalist compositions for numerous instruments and electronics; and Toshimaru Nakamura, whose no-input mixing board can emanate blistering feedback loops and systems of rarefied drone. Put these four artists on stage and their respectful hush only intensifies with subtle smears, acoustic scrabblings, a tiny arc of sinewaves, and pointillist plucks becoming a punctuation marks across vast silences. This is one of those records that is not served very well by the street noise bleeding through from outside. Headphones are recommended, if not required, and in doing so, you will most definitely be rewarded.
"Part 1" MPEG Stream:
ALTERED STATES 6 (Zenbei) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. New album from the fab Tokyo jazz/prog/rock trio lead by Uchihashi Kazuhisa (recently profiled in Guitar Player magazine as part of a feature on Japanese avant-guitar). He and the drummer are also members of Otomo Yoshihide's Ground Zero. Weird and wiggly.
ALTERED STATES Bluffs II (Doubtmusic) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Avant jazz from Japan featuring guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi, who you may also know from Ground Zero and various duos, including several with Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins.
ALTERED STATES Mosaic (God Mountain) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Awesome instrumental heavy prog with an aesthetic appreciation for noise and experimentation (read: these guys aren't overly wanky or cheeseball like some prog outfits) from this Japanese trio. Featuring Ground Zero alumni Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar), Nasuno Mitsuro (bass) and Yoshigaki Yasuhiro (drums), this "supergroup" of sorts is recommended to anyone intetested in the Otomo Yoshihide ring of Japanese improv.
ALTERED STATES Plays Standards (Eyewill) cd 20.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Japan's Altered States, featuring guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa (also known for his work solo and with Otomo Yoshihides' Ground Zero, among other things), are one of our favorite undefinable, adventurous jazz/rock/prog/improv combos. Here they tackle a selection of standards, from "A Night In Tunisia" to "Mood Indigo", from "Over The Rainbow" to "Hello Dolly"! Not for those afraid of jazz, but also not for those attached to the "normal" versions of those songs...
ALVA NOTO & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO Revep (Raster-Noton) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. When the dollars-to-minutes ratio eeks close to 1:1, we tend to get a little uncomfortable. Really, what's the big deal about David "Organum" Jackman doubling or even tripling up the sounds on his $15.00 singles that clock in at a couple of minutes? There's also been talk of this marketing psychology from this mathematical ratio due to a pending Boris LP, which is not going to be cheap (not surprising), but also isn't one of their monstrously long drone-doom pieces either... well it's just sorta long. So the question always comes down to the quality of the merchandise, is Boris worth the price of admission? The same question should be asked of the third collaboration between Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) and Ryuichi Sakamoto, which clocks in a little under 20 minutes. Again, the division of labor puts Sakamoto at the piano and Nicolai at the laptop, with Sakamoto providing a series of impressionist clusters of piano notes and elegant repetitions, and Nicolai smudging those sounds through his pixel crunching software. Harmonically crisp and deftly performed, the three pieces on Revep offer a nice variation on the theme set by the first two collaborations Vrioon and Insen. Sakamoto fans will delight that he's offered a new arrangement for his classic piece "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," which Nicolai aerosolizes into a fine mist of digital ephemera and pin-pricked ambience. Certainly as lovely as the first two!
"Siisx" MPEG Stream:
"ax Mr. L"
ANDROMELOS s/t (Ektro) cd 14.98
*Acid Mothers Temple Alert!* *Acid Mothers Temple Alert!* *Acid Mothers Temple Alert!* Also... it's a *Space Machine Alert!* as well. Andromelos is a new Japanese psychedelic "supergroup" making their debut on the Ektro records label run by Jussi from Circle. It consists of guitarist Kawabata Makoto, drummer Okano Futoshi, and electronics wizard Yamazaki Maso. Kawabata is best known as the bearded high priest of the Acid Mothers Temple (and other bands like Mainliner, Musica Transonic, Nishinihon, Toho Sara, Seikazoku, etc. etc.). Sticksman Okano is/was a member of Nishinihon, Ghost, and Subvert Blaze. And in addition to being none other than notorious noisician Masonna, Yamazaki is also a member of Christine 23 Onna -- but more pertinent to his contribution to Andromelos, though, is his project Space Machine, which takes its inspiration from '70s cosmic analog synth masters like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. Early TD could certainly be a model for Andromelos, indeed. Freaky, waaay out spacey kosmiche kraut-lovin' soundscapes with percussive drive, gobs of electronic FX, ambient drift, and some wonderfully fried guitar fuzz. But if you're familiar with Acid Mothers Temple or Space Machine we probably could omit that description and you'd guess as much anyway! It sounds like just what you'd think, just like what you'd want. If we add that there's just two looooong tracks, totaling 72 minutes, you'll be even more in the ballpark with your imaginings of Andromelos' blasted and blissed out charms. The tracks are titled "Tea Breaks Are Under Attack From 2300000 Light Years" parts 1 and 2, and we've got to say, for once a title on a Kawabata album that really makes sense!! That totally IS what this sounds like. Well, give it a listen n' see if you agree...
"Tea Breaks Are Under Attack From 2300000 Light Years Part.1" MPEG Stream:
"Tea Breaks Are Under Attack From 2300000 Light Years Part.2"
ANGEL 'IN HEAVY SYRUP IV (Monotremata Records) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Yay! The welcome return of this great all-girl Japanese psych band. Now a power trio, Angel 'In Heavy Syrup still produce the beautiful, trippy sounds that made their previous three discs AQ-faves. Guitar-heavy psych rock, often evoking triumphant, epic soundtrack themes to Western movies, but with delicate, lovely vocals drifting into the mix. Hopefully this release means that the band will be coming to the States to play some shows again, sometime soon. Recommended.
ANGEL 'IN HEAVY SYRUP s/t (Subterranean Records) cd 12.98
Angel 'In Heavy Syrup were an all female Japanese psychedelic rock trio who flourished in the '90s, as you may know. We were always big fans, and a bunch of us here still consider ourselves lucky to have seen these girls live at the Kilowatt in SF, when they came over to play in the US one time in the mid '90s - an amazing show. The group released 4 albums, plus a "best of" compilation, but we had only ever reviewed their last one, IV, 'cause their other three albums proper pretty much predated our aQ list. And we thought they were all out of print, most of 'em having been released by the now sadly defunct Japanese label Alchemy. But, recently we discovered that one our suppliers still has copies - while they last - of the 1992 domestic US edition of Angel 'In Heavy Syrup's self-titled debut!!! Good news for any fan of the band who's been looking for it for years, but also good news for ANYONE who would enjoy some absolutely gorgeous, melodic and moody tripped out psych rock. It's a mix of dreamy balladry and all-out storms of distortodelic heaviness, breathy female vocals and swirling psych-guitar solos. The Angel 'In Heavy Syrup girls had their melancholic, timeless sound dialed in from the get-go, and there are two (uncredited) covers on here that help illuminate some of their vintage influences - the first a pretty one called "Why Don't You Take A Sight-Seeing Bus With Me?" written by Japanese folk chanteuse Morita Doji (familiar to fans of Angel 'In Heavy Syrup / Hijokaidan / Subvert Blaze side project Slap Happy Humphrey), the other being "Underground Railroad" by great US sixties garage psych act The Lollipop Shoppe (aka Fred Cole's band long before Dead Moon!). This US version of Angel 'In Heavy Syrup's debut also comes with a lengthy bonus track not found on the original 1991 Japanese Alchemy edition, the nearly 12 minute epic "Crazy Blues", taken from Taste Of Wild West 3, an incredibly rare 1990 compilation that also featured the Boredoms, Omoide Hatoba, Solmania, Hijokaidan, Incapacitants, and UFO Or Die. A highly recommended find, for sure! (Also - interesting to note how much more seemingly solid and sturdy both jewel cases and compact discs themselves were made 20 years ago, compared to nowadays.)
"S.G.E (Space Giant Eye)" MPEG Stream:
"Why Don't You Take A Sight-Seeing Bus With Me?" MPEG Stream:
ANGEL 'IN HEAVY SYRUP The Very Best Of... (Alchemy) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
AOA Emotion Vacation (Psy-Harmonics) cd 16.98
AOA is a Boredoms related group featuring newest member E-da and bassist Hilah (formerly Hira). "Emotion Vacation", their second full length, was recorded in Melbourne, Australia by "deep house / industrial techno / trance" producer Ollie Olsen. Eye supposedly makes a guest appearance on one track -- playing gong -- nothing exceptional, though. Very drum heavy and trancey, but unfortunately doesn't quite live up to our high expectations or overall high quality of most Boredoms-related projects (Z-Rock Hawaii, anyone??). Certainly worth seeking out for hardcore fans, but if you're looking for more psychedelic drum circle trance-out, best to seek out Psycho-Baba first.
AOKI, TAKAMASA + TUJIKO NORIKO 28 (Fat Cat) cd 15.98
28 pairs up the always lovely Ms Tujiko Noriko with Aoki Takamasa. Both are Japanese artists living in Paris, both are 28 years old (hence the title of the record). The pair initially met over 3 years ago at an event for the Cartier Foundation in Paris. Their collaboration, originally intended for just one song, worked out so well that they decided to work on a full length together, exchanging and sewing more sound bits with the loving attention of a precocious collage prodigy. A patchwork quilt of blissful, Morr-esque electronics, broken toy IDM, lilting, tender vocals, and gently textured raindrops-on-a-corrugated-roof beats. The album is silky and caressing, less jagged than Noriko's recent collaboration with Lawrence English. Reminiscent as well as Japanese chanteuse, Salyu's vocal pieces for the film, "All About Lily Chou-Chou."
"" MPEG Stream:
AQUARIUS BUTTONS 2 x 1" buttons 1.00
Hey, we just got another batch of AQ buttons made up... Spread the word! Show the world your true aQ colors! COOL COOL COOL aQ buttons, now in 6 different vibrant color combinations. 5 new color combos (blue on pink, red on dark grey, dark blue on blue, orange on black, and yellowish green on dark green) and a popular one we had previously (brown on yellow). TWO FOR $1!!! Colors are random, but buy enough and you'll be guaranteed to get 'em all! And of course all feature our spiffy James Gang style logo!! So stylish!
ARKHA SVA Mikama Isaro Mada (Total Holocaust) cd 12.98
Arkha Sva are another one of our favorite black metal bands, who for whatever reason, have yet to appear on our list save for one solitary cassette listed way back in 2006. But holy shit, these guys are amazing, from Japan, these guys, along with aQ faves Avsolutized (who it's rumored might share a member or two) as well as Manierisme, make up a whole scene that seems to be lurking well beneath the underground, but we can't imagine for long, as the music of these bands is mind blowing, at once beholden to the BM that came before, but so much its own entity. Arkha Sva create a soundworld both buzzy and murky, lo-fi, with tangled arrangements, droney blasting blackness, so super atmospheric and evocative, managing to be grim and buzzy, but also haunting and intense, with some of the most insane vocals ever, a wildly operatic shriek, that will later define the band's sound, but here only pops up once or twice, more often existing as a harsh howled hellish growl. This disc collects two early tapes from 2005, and finds the band much more raw and primitive and rough, the sound only hinting at the more outsider and avant elements that would surface later. But in 2005, Arkha Sva were creating super grim, ultra murky buzz drenched black rituals. Channelling the spirit of the black legions, Mutiilation, Belktre, Vlad Tepes (one of the Black Legions members does all the cryptic calligraphy on AS records!), this is fierce and furious lo-fi blackness, the buzzing guitars a muddy swirl, the drums a throbbing murky pulse, all underpinning guttural strangled vocalisations, a swirling fuzzy black missive to the dark lord, there are some strange sonic surprises tucked away, most notably the aforementioned WAY louder-than-everything-else high pitched scream and weird falsetto. But for the most part this is just an awesome, droney blast of murky black buzz that is as hypnotic and space-y as it is blown out and brutal. They even do a couple covers, Mutiilation and Belketre! So so so recommended. And we suggest you do whatever you can to get everything you can by these guys, and we can guarantee that their next full length will be an epochal moment in black metal. People freaking out over Paysage and Darkspace and whoever else might just find themselves switching their allegiance. And check out this awesome live clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpuBqeCdOCM
"Thou Disappear" MPEG Stream:
ARKHA SVA / WOODS OF INFINITY Old Ugly Trees (Devoted Art Propaganda) 7" 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Holy shit, does Arkha Sva just keep getting weirder and weirder and better and better! These Japanese black metal freaks begin this latest assault with a tripped out swirly psychedelic intro, before the band launch into some super twisted POST-black metal, a loping super dramatic almost cabaret sounding avant metal, with super over the top crooned clean vocals, the guitars washed out and buzzy, the only hint of troo blackness are the occasional flurries of double kick, until finally those insane Arkha Sva vocals swoop in, impossibly high and totally operatic, a little eighties metal, soaring and shrieking, the band following suit, blasting into some filthy pounding blackness. The track's twisted and gnarled, and totally epic, with those vocals, easily the most amazing in BM, and this song is most definitely the best thing we've heard from these guys which is saying A LOT. Woods Of Infinity counter with their own take on twisted dramatic blackness, super melodic metal with lots of synths, totally catchy, but all over the map, the vocals freaked out and manic, slipping from nearly spoken to crooned to shrieked, while the music soars majestically in the background, from midtempo Lifelover style black pop to almost symphonic sounding black metal, all the while the vocals never letting up. The second WoI track is a creepy abstract drift, all acoustic guitars, monk-like chanting, and more of those dramatic vocals, haunting and freaky, dark and mysterious and really cool. Packaged in a super swank gatefold 7" sleeve, LIMITED TO 666 COPIES (of course), each one hand numbered...
ASANO, KOJI A Second Dam (Solstice) cd 14.98
Wow, what with a new Koji Asano release coming out every month (literally!) it's a bit hard for us to always come up with something original to say. If you search for "Asano" on our website you'll find a ton of reviews of his past releases, many of them AQ-faves, which should give you a fairly good picture of this eclectic experimentalist and his works. Briefly though, Asano is a young Japanese sound-artist who puts very few limits on his creativity -- or the frequency of his output. In general, he miraculously manages to do pretty well on both sides of the quality/quantity equation! This new title, though, might really be one for hardcore Koji Asano fans only, as it consists of over an hour of varying tones of the sort discomforting to both dog and man alike. Did I say "frequency of his output"? Yep, no limits there: this is a painful program of high pitched whines that perhaps can be considered Asano's tribute to Iannis Xenakis' equally earhole abusing "La Legend d'Eer". Brutal, but if you're tough enough you'll find the beauty in it.
"A Second Dam (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI A Secret Path Of Rain (Solstice) cd 14.98
Two 20+ minute tracks of solo computer noise music from the prolific 26 year-old Japanese composer Koji Asano (now based in Barcelona). Although a computer is involved, this ain't glitchy laptop techno! This material isn't that far removed from the electroacoustic drone/static of his excellent previous album "Momentum". Lovely cover photo by Asano as usual, not indicative of the difficult sounds inside. Asano says: "At this stage, powerful but sensitive music constructed by strong high frequencies and the space. Sometimes sounds are like small steps of insects or huge movements of the ground."
ASANO, KOJI Absurd Summer (Solstice) cd 13.98