Les Rallizes Denudes - Heavier Than A Death In The Family
Beautiful and obliterating. After Fushitsusha this is definitely my favorite Japanese noise/psych-rock outfit. I particularly adore Night of the Assassins and Enter the Mirror. Essential listening for anyone with the slightest interest in good music.
Some more ultra-minimal free improvisation for you fine people, this time entirely acoustic. Stéphane Rives plays saxophone, but it sounds more like some some sort of insect flying in small circles, making a steady, high-pitched whine. That’s mostly what you get here, a barely audible whine punctuated by long gaps of silence and occasional intakes of air. It’s honestly been a bit since I last listened to this, so I think it does actually develop over the course of the hour, but I’m not totally sure. Anyway, it’s fascinating stuff. Put it on at your next dinner party and see if anyone realizes it’s not tinnitus.
Selektiv hogst is one of the best electro-acoustic improvisation albums of 2010, and if you’ve never heard of electro-acoustic improvisation, this is a great place to start!
Koboku Senjû is a quintet made up of Japanese eai superstars Toshimaru Nakamura and Tetuzi Akiyama with Scandinavian wind players Espen Reinertsen, Eivind Lønning and Martin Taxt, whose work outside of this album I’m unfamiliar with. Together, they create a rich, detailed environment, full of pops and buzzes and Akiyama’s carefully strummed guitar sentences. The whole album has a warm, summery feel to it, but things are kept from getting too sunny by Nakamura’s strategically placed lines of feedback. If you’re familiar at all with eai, you’ve either already heard this or it’s on your wantlist, but if you’ve never heard the term before, take a chance and check this out. Really, it’s worth it.
Abner Jay - The Backbone of America is a Mule and Cotton
People should already be familiar with the crazy one-man-blues-band that is Abner Jay, but, despite Mississippi Records’ best efforts, he remains sadly under-appreciated. Here are a few facts about him:
In his later years he carried drank from a half-gallon fruit jar filled with water from the Swanee river, to which he attributes his deep and low voice.
Among the several instruments he played were the “bones”, literally chicken and cow bones, bleached in the sun, that were used as percussion.
Now here’s some real unpleasant listening. 31 minutes of hardcore punk being played in a blast furnace with broken instruments. Utter filth. I mostly love this for the last track, Master, which takes up more than half the running time and allows the band to stretch out and actually develop their ideas fully. Obviously, very few people would consider this a pleasant listen, but it’s pretty good for a bad mood, and in case you haven’t noticed, entertainment isn’t really the idea here.
Flower-Corsano Duo - You’ll Never Work In This Town Again
And now for something much more accessible! I’ve been sort of in love with this album as of late, mostly because it’s such a lovely album. Three tracks of kaleidoscopic free improvisation courtesy of Chris Corsano, manning the drums like an insane genius monkey, and Mick Flower, who plays “Japanese banjo,” an instrument I am almost totally unfamiliar with, but it certainly sounds interesting, flitting from one liquid note to another. Their first album was called The Radiant Mirror, which is a rather apt metaphor for the sounds contained here.
Right then. If we’re gonna be doing this I can’t imagine anything better to start with. This is as near as we’ve yet gotten to the sonic end of music, folks. 60 minutes of one tone, then another, then that first one again, then a slight increase in volume, then the end. I guess you could call it the most hardcore drone album ever. This certainly isn’t her best work, but it’s sort of necessary to hear at least once in your life. Great brain cleaner, also.