Friday, September 28, 2007

Peter Brötzmann/Keiji Haino/Shoji Hano - Shadows: Live in Wels

In listening to this remarkable series of improvisations by Euro reed/woodwind madman Peter Brötzmann, Japanese guitar shaman Keiji Haino, and fellow Nippon drum demigod Shoji Hano, I am struck by a fantasy. What would it be like to reunite Brötzmann with bassist Bill Laswell and enlist Haino and Hano to re-form Last Exit? Even considering this possibility gives you a decent clue as to what this wondrous album sounds like: Skronk and overdriven, passionate excess given direction and fluidity by three strong personas who understand how to push each other's buttons and to hold back when the (rare) occasion calls for it. This CD is one of the European concerts played by the trio in 2000. The group had played as a trio together only once before back in 1992, so these concerts were a proving ground to see if after eight years of individual development they could come together and improvise and make it work. Haino here is exceptional. His playing (and vocal screaming) is the equivalent of the Buddhist hell realms and pure lands becoming extensions of one another, and Brötzmann's empathy for Haino's need for music to be an ever-revelatory enigma here stands in sharp contrast to his own need for raw expressionism and an aggressive approach to breaking sound barriers. Shoji Hano is more than merely support; he creates the bridge his collaborators breathe fire on and then destroys it in their wake in order to erect another one. "Shadows" is the longest piece here, divided into three sections: The first is a blasting, stratospheric crack of an eruption. The second begins far more theoretically but gradually works itself into a frenzy of activity, with Brötzmann turning his saxophone inside out and Haino inventing percussive chords to play in contrast to the cymbal and tom work of Hano before taking himself into the single-string shred zone. The last section combines both sets of dynamics and tonal extension on the plane of drones that shift according to where Brötzmann moves with his horn as Hano opens up spaces inside his runs. "A Silhouette" is close to jazz, as it uses spatial dynamics, tempo, and even time in places to dictate a particular transference of improvisatory energy into a somewhat structured space. Haino's singing here, long and short in low- and high-pitched tones, adds an eerie and haunting effect that is nonetheless stunningly beautiful. The "Encore," a mere two minutes, sounds like a short musical conversation that sums up all the places the trio traveled to over the previous hour. This is not going to be everybody's cup of absinthe, but for those whose tastes run toward the extreme, there are few albums as transcendentally excessive as this one. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

No longer available, download it.

Keiji Haino & Coil - Play The Blues: Live at Mandala 2 in Kichijoji, Tokyo, Sept 28, 2003

Haino is the name to follow in underground circles in Japan. Notorious for the noise he makes on his guitars, this short 45-min set has him with Coil stripping the blues to the bone. You’ve never heard these blues standards played like this before.

The band are Keiji Haino [vocals, gtr, harmonica], Natsuki Kido [gtr], Takeharu Hayakawa [bs] and Eiji Tanaka [drms].

It's not much of a write up, but thats all I could find. Really good whacked out renditions of blues.

Track 01 Bad To The Bone
Track 02 Suzie Q
Track 03 Spoonful
Track 04 Got My Mojo Workin’

Download it. This is no longer available.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

German Oak - Nibelungenlied 1972-1976

By request.

The dark German collective back with completely catchy kraut-improvisations. All tracks deliver memacing heavy, fuzzy psychedelic moments that merit a serious listening. After their amazing and most popular effort, "Nibelungenlied" stresses the free-sonic-destruction dimension of their music. The sound is always dominated by screaming / electric bluesy guitar parts, sound experiments and macabre keyboards effects. "The heroic deeds of Siegfried" is a dark and minimalist, melancholic composition with a dubtle "medieval" flavour. The savage percussions announces a delicate, simplistic guitar sequence in a moody tone. "Nibelungenlied I" is an agressive, dynamic guitar orientated composition, featuring really hypnotic, rocking sequences; all in improvisation with a repetitive bass line and some vicious guitar solos. "Gunter & Brunhild", "Hagen von Tronje" & "Siegfried's death" are bluesy-kraut jam with wha wha effects and strangely doom, sinister atmospheres. Heavy, complex, weird & cool! A "poisoning" masterpiece. This album only has to be avoided by those who can't support an extremely poor, infect sound production

Not available anywhere that I know of.

Download it.

People - Ceremony Buddha Meet Rock

Psychadelic rock from Japan. Vinyl release from 1971, from what I hear it's extremely hard to find, but has been reissued. This is the original vinyl rip.

I’m not sure if these guys actually existed as a performing band, or if they were only a studio super-session project. Guitarist Kimio Mizutani had previously [or simultaneously, or shortly after?] played with Love Live Life + One and Masahiko Satoh’s Sound Brakers . At any rate, their sole album, the concept piece ‘Ceremony – Buddha Meet Rock’ [Teichiku, 1971], is an absolute classic. The album came with extensive liner notes elaborating on the intended meaning for each track – the whole album flowing more or less as a conceptual whole. As the title would suggest, it was an attempt to fuse a Buddhist-influenced spiritual vibe into an innovative oriental form of hypnotic psychedelic progressive rock. It’s all quite unique and doesn’t sound like any preceding groups that I’m aware of, though some bits are like a much less-heavy Flower Travellin’ Band circa ‘Satori’. It’s a bit jazzy in places, hinting at some of Stomu Yamash’ta’s work with Come to the Edge.
There’s lots of nice fuzz guitar leads and overall, a very sanctified vibe that makes this a deep but groovy experience. Following this , Mizutani recorded his equally great solo album.

Quite a weird little record -- part psychedelia, but with some really rootsy elements -- and also some odd use of recorded music as well! The sound here is really mindblowing -- experimental and trippy, but never too free or over the top -- and the core instrumentation includes lots of fuzzy guitar, organ, and rough percussion -- plus additional vocals in parts, and even a bit of sitar as well! The production abstracts some of the sounds nicely, but never too much -- and at times a more traditional Japanese style of music lurks in the background, possibly as a brief nod to the Buddha in the title. Most unusually, though, is that the first track on the record features part of a David Axelrod album playing in the background! There's clearly an Axelrod influence going on -- both in the structure and sound of the record -- although the group also take things very much in their own direction too.".

Download it.

Only place I can find to buy the reissue.