March 23, 2007

Erkin Koray – Nazilli 1974

Filed under: Hype,Music — Cy @ 5:06 pm

[Seidr; 1974]

This is noisy ass-kicking Middle Eastern hard psychedelic rock, plain and simple. The guitar is dripping in feedback and acid noise, and the atmosphere and production is mega fuzzy and sparky. The clean bass and drums are perfect complements to the cacaphonous guitar, the latter having a uniquely fresh and sonorous sound not often heard in rock music. Compared to Koray’s studio albums, this recording is like a maffia meeting (complete with Stewart and the gang); it is violent, boisterous and downright headfucking. What the album lacks in variety of songwriting it makes up for in sheer energy and momentum; tracks 3-7 seem like one long medley of demented speed psych tunes, while tracks 7-10 feature some slow buildups and then quick noisy dropkicks to the head. In many ways, the recording is comparable to Les Rallizes Denudes’ ’77 Live: they’re both live albums, they both feature similarly acidic atmospheres and the guitars in both cut through souls. Heck, even Koray’s vocals on this have that familiar high-pitched unintelligible spaciness that are so individual to Mizutani’s. If you like hard psychedelia with a violent, almost nihilistic mindset and novelty (but still enjoyable!) Jewish chord progressions, this is the perfect album. I bought this on a whim, and it was probably the best random purchase I’ve ever made.

March 18, 2007

Sapat – Mortise and Tenon

Filed under: Hype,Music — Shiny Beast @ 10:21 pm

[Siltbreeze; 2007]

A genre’s capacity to generate new and exciting sounds is not limitless. Eventually, groups will need to evolve – or, less creatively, steal elements from other genres – unless they’re fine with rehashing. With Mortise and Tenon, Sapat gracefully chooses the former option, bending psychedelic jams to their creative whim. Instead of pilfering ideas and superficially pasting them onto timeless templates, they start from scratch, only realizing a psych-rock aesthetic post-synthesis.

Perhaps the most impressive strength of this album is the seamless transitions from one arrangement to the next, building a case for it being a completely coherent whole despite the differences in surface appearances. Maat Fount, its functional beginning, jams harder than Bardo Pond has in years, capturing infinite space via guitars, drums and horns. From there, Dark Silver takes the stage with haunting falsettos and a simple guitar/drum interplay. In a surprisingly delicious juxtaposition, Root Bulb combines some of the album’s most pop-oriented and avant-garde moments, using minimal instances of horns and strings while the drum and bass infect your audio sensory store.

Proving that they have the musical handling for another sharp turn, Lovely & Free bares itself unabashed, striking with stark, buzzing echoes and haphazard vocals. Though never harsh, its edge is visibly brandished, creating one of the record’s most memorable tracks. The following song, Who U With?, is an eleven minute rhythm heavy affair with synthesizers stumbling forward through the song’s gradual advances. While a vital part of the record, its unfolding could have been more time efficient, especially since its temporal girth keeps listeners waiting to experience the excellent closer. Fante may be the most traditional song on Mortise and Tenon, but after establishing the authenticity of the band with the rest of the album, it’s natural to get caught up in the guitar jam at its apex. When it finishes, we’re reminded that, yes, this has the spirit of a psych-rock album. Most impressively, its spirit needs no reference list to avoid accusations of plagiarism.

March 14, 2007

The Terminals – Touch

Filed under: Hype,Music — RadioFly @ 10:37 am

[Raffmond; 1993]

New Zealand has, over time, deservedly garnered a reputation as one of the world’s leading exporters of intelligent pop music. This lively music scene is most known for the pure pop of the likes of the Verlaines and the Chills, but the experimentalism of such bands as Bailter Space and the Dead C has its audience as well. On their 1993 album Touch, the oft-ignored Terminals infuse their pop sense with layers of chaotic noise and bring the disparate styles to a head-on collision that lasts the length of the album. Touch is no perfect amalgam of noise and pop, but rather it’s a rickety, wooden roller coaster of an album—it jostles you throughout, making it a better ride than any slick steel production.

The Terminals have had the fortune of being featured on all of New Zealand’s premier compilations, but those tracks will not prepare you for what you will find on Touch. Most of their anthologized cuts are culled from their Flying Nun debut, Uncoffined. Though a great, jangly college rock record, it suffers from a relative lack of teeth. Touch has no such problems, opening with electronic effects surrounding a guitar that snakes between psychedelic solos and a catchy pop riff. Stephen Cogle’s vocals soon descend into the music, sounding like some bizarre combination of Mark E. Smith and Syd Barrett. It quickly becomes clear that, thanks to that voice and drummer Peter Stapleton’s surreal lyrics in coalition with their music, the Terminals demand your full attention at all times.

Though it opens with two harder songs, Touch certainly has its sedate points. A well-placed guitar sound or odd rhythm, however, will invariably reclaim your attention. After the first sedate period it will be “Amnesia” that completely sells the record. It draws the listener in with loud guitars and a pounding rhythm section before seamlessly turning into one of the record’s catchiest songs. Brian Cook’s eerie “That Thing Upstairs is Not My Mother” comes next, and the record progresses from there to the aptly titled final track–“In and Out of My Mind” features crushing guitar work and an absolutely epic atmosphere that makes for the perfect closer

Touch is a record that is impossible to get to know. In fact, it spends all of its time preventing you from doing just that, while simultaneously demanding that you try. The result is an engrossing record on par with any of New Zealand’s best.

March 12, 2007

Fushitsusha – Pathetique

Filed under: Hype,Music — rkodrzy @ 10:45 pm

[PSF; 1994]

For some reason unknown to man, the Japanese are the best at producing good noise rock albums. Maybe it’s in their genes or something. Anyway, if you’re looking for some good noise, it’s standard procedure to direct your gaze towards Japan. And where better to search than within the discography of one of the grandaddies of the genre, Fushitsusha? Combining ponderous and insistent rhythms with eardrum-ripping guitar torture chamber recordings, they put out some of the best noise rock you’ll find anywhere.

Which brings us to their loudest album, Pathetique. Take the walls of guitar feedback and minimalist rhythm section from Les Rallizes DeNudes, take away any even remotely conventional melodies, add a more sinister tone, turn up the volume, and you arrive at this album. Listening to this music is akin to getting beat over the head repeatedly with your dad’s prehistoric oversized stereo system tuned to the static between radio stations. It takes a bit of endurance to make it through the whole way, but it is quite a harrowing experience if listened to in full.

The first half of Pathetique sounds a bit like a twisted version of a drunken doom metal band playing in their garage. The drums pound away slowly and without mercy on and on for long periods of time while Keiji Haino summons up some of the chunkiest and ugliest riffs ever conceived. The opener in particular sounds like some sort of a lost Khanate recording, only more pained and abstract. The second half of the album is made up of a single 45 minute long song in which Haino produces possibly the biggest sound I’ve ever heard from a guitar. It’s simply Merzbow-meets-My Bloody Valentine in a massive guitar wall that never really lets up the entire length of the track.

Only the bravest of listeners will be able suffer through this noise rock gem, but isn’t that what the genre is all about? Check this album out to hear some of the best experimental guitar playing ever to come out of Japan, or anywhere.

March 7, 2007

The Oblivains: Play 9 Songs with Mr. Quintron

Filed under: Hype,Music — ihggy @ 9:41 pm

[Crypt; 1997]

This is the last record that Memphis trio the Oblivians ever released, which is unfortunate because it sees the band pushing the limits of their sound in a really bold and interesting way.  On The Oblivians Play 9 Songs with Mr. Quintron, the band (featuring New Orleans avant-garage organist/sleazemeister Quintron) isn’t so much a great garage-punk group with gospel and Memphis soul leanings as they are, for the most part, a full-on gospel-punk band. In fact, several of these songs are covers of traditional gospel tunes, filtered through dirt and distortion. In less capable hands, this move could have been very messy, but the Oblivs pull it off convincingly with tight, enthusiastic performances and impeccable song selection.

“Feel All Right” and “What’s the Matter Now?” epitomize the album’s raucous side. All full of shuffling guitars and organ, handclaps on the offbeats, driving fuzzed-out bass, these two tracks are joyous — no, ecstatic — pieces of soul-stomp excellence. During the breakdown in the latter, when Greg Oblivian repeatedly shouts “The Holy Ghost… got me!!” you can’t help but believe him. That the band can remain so genuine, and not come off as “ironic,” while playing such overtly religious material is crucial, and really sets this record apart.

But Play 9 Songs isn’t all upbeat stomp. There are a few slower tunes thrown in to mix things up. These tunes may not be as boisterous as the others on the record, but they’re certainly as energetic, and carry the momentum of the record with ease. “Live the Life,” one of the most powerful cuts on the record, is a real organ-driven burner, garaunteed to make you get up and holler along.

It’s a real bummer that the band broke up shortly after this record was released, because it’s such a great example of a band taking a risk and succeeding in a huge way, and it makes me wonder what else the Oblivians were capable of. As it is, though, I’m extremely happy with this half-hour of music. It’s as fresh and exciting as anything I’ve heard in quite a while.

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