May 4, 2007

Les Rallizes DeNudes – Le 12 Mars 1977 a Tachikawa

Filed under: Hype,Music — rkodrzy @ 6:45 am

[Over Level; 1991]

The internet is a beautiful thing sometimes. Bits of information that would otherwise be doomed to obscurity can be spread with relative ease, and everyone stands on equal ground. This is certainly the case with Les Rallizes DeNudes, a Japanese psych band shrouded in mystery that exists now only as a handful of live bootleg recordings, but somehow managed to be one of the most important bands in the history of modern rock.

Their 1977 live album kicks off with what is probably the best song of all time, entitled “Enter the Mirror”. Everything is perfect. That bass line that just calmly meanders along everywhere it pleases, with the near-nonexistent drums plodding away in the background, while Mizutani’s guitar fills the airspace with that dreamy, sleepy, soothing wash of sound. The way he sings whatever he’s singing just rips my heart out. It’s the weirdest emotion ever, kind of sad or pained or pensive or romantic, but I don’t know, maybe all of them at once. And then of course the way he slllllllllowly brings in the guitar noise that this album is absolutely covered with. Subtly at first, akin to dipping one’s body slowly in a cold pool to get accustomed to the water temperature, and then finally at the end releasing all of the restraints with a searing audio attack on your senses, and you’re staring into the sun and you can’t look away because it’s as beautiful as it is painful, as it burns your retinas to crisps.

At this point in the album, it might be hard to believe that anything could possibly follow up those first 12 minutes of perfection. But Les Rallizes DeNudes do not deal in the realm of realistic possibilities. They manage to follow up “Enter the Mirror” with what might be the best song of all time, “Night of the Assassins,” which is a rockin’ romp through a doo-wop bass line (which is sure to stick in the listener’s head for hours on end) anchoring a mammoth guitar maelstrom of fury and feedback. The remaining tracks on this monumental live recording are also joint runners for the best song of all time, and they all do so by adhering to the band’s simple formula of minimalist drums, simple ‘n catchy bass lines, enough vocal reverb to fuel an entire army of psych bands, and head spinning walls of guitar noise attacks that threaten to damage ear drums permanently.

There is an entire movement of Japanese bands that probably wouldn’t exist if these guys hadn’t made this music. Big name Japanese pysch forerunners such as High Rise, Mainliner, and Fushitsusha fall into this group of bands. Absolutely essential album, essential band, go get this now.

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