Acid Mothers Temple frontman Makoto Kawabata with his latest cosmic power trio project.
Peter Marsh 2002
Now that both Keiji Haino and Merzbow have slowed their release rate a little, it seems that Acid Mothers Temple's Makoto Kawabata is up for the coveted title of Most Prolific Japanese Noisy Person. With AMT's discography swelling monthly plus sundry solo projects and collaborations, it seems that Kawabata's approach is akin to Sun Ra'sidea of records as 'cosmic newspapers'; works in progress from Kawabata's universe.
And 'cosmic' is the right word. Though the title and cover art are fairly heavy handed pastiches of Frank Zappa's Hot Rats, there's very little sonic similarity to Zappa other than a shared interest in guitar solos that can be measured in days rather than minutes. Rather Kawabata's trio (featuring AMT bassist Tsuyama Atsushi and improvising percussionist Ichiraku Yoshimitsu) take the fried kosmische rock explorations of Guru Guru and Ashra Tempel as their starting point for their forays into deep space.
The opening "Theme Of Hot Rattlesnakes" is a distended blast of acid rock, with Kawabata's effects laden guitar lines nosing through a fog of drones and yawning black hole atmospherics over a distant, tinnyrhythm section. Though arguably Kawabata doesn't really have the invention to hold interest over the full 27 minutes (let's face it, few guitarists would) the inevitable descent into full on glissando freakout is wonderful. By this time it seems less like a piece of music than a part of the environment.
Contender for the single has to be "Fripian Flipped over Nifty Their King of Frippery". Astute readers may have noticed a reference to Robert Fripp in the title and indeed the shifting guitar ostinati here have something of the Crimson King about them. Fripp's rigorous precision is replaced by a shifting, loose pileup of guitar textures that plays with the unwary listener's perceptionsin true minimalist stylee. There's also an echo of obscure German avant cosmic guitar hero Gunter Schickert's methodology here too.
The closing "French Sweet Suger House" (sic) elicits Kawabata's finest moments. Opening with a collage of found voices (presumably from TV), drummer Yoshimitsu kicks off in prime 70's cosmic jam mode, eventually shifting down a gear to allow Kawabata to cut loose with his best playing; nibbling, meandering modal figures alternate with yearning bends and divebombing runs. After some minutes the need for speed returns astherhythm sectionescape earth orbit, leaving Kawabata's guitars alone in a boiling sea of feedback moans and distortions.
Phew. If you're planning to give Ibiza a miss this summer and take a trip to the far reaches of the known galaxy instead, this is a must for your Walkman. Recommended.