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    Keiji Haino – Percussion Solo

    February 25th, 2008

    Keiji Haino - Percussion Solo

    It’s been a long time—around a decade, actually—since PSF last offered a treat for our eyes as well as our ears. This here flick of a solo percussion show by Keiji Haino is of recent vintage, filmed at Plan B in Tokyo and released on May 10, 2002—just after Haino’s 50th birthday. Plan B is a concrete basement venue, usually used for avant garde dance / performance. Haino regularly plays either solo percussion or percussion / dance duos with the famous butoh dancer Min Tanaka, who also has released a duo record with Derek Bailey on Table of the Elements.

    Needless to say, this video is a dimly-lit affair, comprised of numerous edited segments—each featuring Haino manhandling a different instrument. The show begins pitched in black as Haino flicks a tiny light off and on repeatedly. A little more light appears as he bows the rungs of some sort of musical “bird cage” which resonates wildly—sending shrill, ethereal tones flying throughout the space. A lion’s share of the rest of the show is comprised of Haino banging and scraping cymbals around on the floor and walls, pinging small “xylophones” and ringing two little hand bells while moaning and growling. My favorite part is when he sits down in a chair and slowly starts going postal with two big ol’ tambourines.

    Overall, I have mixed feelings about Haino’s percussion performances. I tend to be sort of mid-whelmed by them. Certain parts are amazing, while others drag on way too long. I think Haino’s percussion playing in general would sound a lot better if it were done with other like-minded musicians. The end of this performance is surprising when a sizable crowd suddenly erupts into applause—I didn’t hear the slightest peep out of them throughout the entire performance and didn’t even realize they were there. The video closes as Haino solemnly intones a poem over credits on a blank black screen to very strange effect.

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFV-3 Format: VHS video Packaging: VHS video case Tracks: 10 Total Time: 60:45 Country: Japan Released: 2002 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida – Until Water Grasps Flame

    February 25th, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida - Until Water Grasps Flame

    This disc is a recording of a live performance from April 2000. All 12 tracks are duets, but the instrumentation on each track varies, with Haino playing guitar, sarode, gyumbari, gothan, esraj and darbouka. Yoshida plays drums, Korg X5D and darbouka. (Track 10 is a darbouka duet, whatever a darbouka is—some sort of percussion.) Most of the tracks are purely instrumental. Only two actually have a little bit of Haino singing, and only one of those is really a song designed around Haino’s voice. The rest are freely-improvised instrumentals. Some of the songs–especially the electric guitar and drums duets–are dense and heavy-sounding improvisations a la Ruins. In fact, the guitar and drums duets really bring to mind the Derek Bailey / Ruins collaborations like Tohjinbo on Paratactile and Saisoro on Tzadik. But, about half the songs have Haino on a variety of ethnic (for lack of a more accurate term) instruments. These improvisations are mellower. When two longtime improvisers get together, you expect seamless improvisation and that is just what is captured on this CD. Calling it improvisation almost seems like cheating. No one expecting these sorts of results will be disappointed. This is not a rock album—expectations of such will not be met. Too good.—David Keffer

    Label: Noise Asia Catalog Number: NAIM 12 Format: CD Packaging: Mini-LP gatefold Tracks: 12 Total Time: 64:12 Country: Japan Released: 2002 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino – Abandon All Words at a Stroke so That Prayer Can Come Spilling Out

    February 25th, 2008

    Keiji Haino - Abandon All Words

    Two full CDs worth of slowly-inching tectonic continental sound plates from Tokyo’s supreme sullen small one, Keiji Haino. The first five-inch tiddlywink in this set finds Haino teaming up with the hurdy gurdy for the fourth time–in CDland, that is. Unlike the relentless PSF, Tokuma and Halana screech cloud forays of yore, however, this’n’ here forges onward into much more subtle, almost shy areas of own-foot-starin’ quasi-gentle puffery. But such a nicely suspended example of sustained spirit envelope hasn’t often been floated by anyone else in such a pristine manner as this. Deep, drifting atmosphere with distant banshee vocals emanate from the direct center of infinity. What a nice addition–a la Affection, Nijiumu, etc.–to a catalog now hinting at the vastness of Sun Ra’s.

    Disc two marks Haino’s first recorded use of the wave drum. This instrument “allows you to select/design your own drum sound, and because it uses a drum head with mics for its source waveforms, it accurately captures the nuances of various drumming techniques—including brushing, etc. It has not sold well, probably partly because of the price, and partly because of the culture and mindset of most drummers, who seem to prefer a diverse kit that they can whack with a stick to the sonic possibilities that the wave drum offers.” This disc features one long track divided up into numerous different sections, ranging from far away echoey mists to dry percussion taps with flangey electronic washes that sound exactly as you would expect something called a “wave drum” to. And it’s almost constantly accompanied by a wide variety pack of vocals, including grunts, groans, moans, squeals, squeaks and screams–you know, the full treatment of pure Haino vocal cordness. If you want an opinion, I like the hurdy gurdy CD better. For a second opinion, give birth to a doctor.

    Label: Alien8 Catalog Number: ALIEN CD 27 Format: 2-CD Packaging: Mini-LP gatefold Tracks: Disc 1: 1, Disc 2: 1 Total Time: Disc 1: 47:13, Disc 2: 44:18 Country: Canada Released: 2001 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino and Derek Bailey – Songs

    February 25th, 2008

    Keiji Haino and Derek Bailey - Songs

    Released in 2000, this CD was recorded back in November 1996 at Moat Studios in London during the same sessions which begat some of the Tokuma releases of yore, if I’m not mistaken. With the Incus label at the helm, you can never really expect your cruise to be one of smooth sailing. The father of improv guitar, Derek Bailey, and Japan’s longtime sound wanderer, Keiji Haino, spontaneously mesh together many merging / clashing, guitar / vocal sound patterns here with as much displeasure as expected. Featuring Derek on electric guitar only and Haino on vocals only, who sounds for all the world as if he were strapped into the dentist’s chair for the duration and getting root canals in every one of his teeth with no anesthesia. A nice, squirrelly, abstract Haino drawing adorns the cover.

    Label: Incus Catalog Number: INCUS CD 40 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 16 Total Time: 42:20 Country: England Released: 2000 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino and Coa – If a Billion Curses Already Exist, You Should Draw Out the Billion and First Prayer

    February 25th, 2008

    Keiji Haino and Coa - If a Billion Curses

    This is a short and totally pleasing CD from the Japanese label Horen, broken up into seven songs of prime psychedelic slop rock wonder. Legendary hurt amp-coaxer Keiji Haino splatters out gobs of fuzz guitar backed up quite simply by two Japanese women named Eddie on bass, vocals and keyboard; and Bill on drums and vocals. Haino’s guitar tone here is more shimmery, trebly and scintillating than usual, adding a nice twist to his usual sound. (Oh, wait, that’s a cretan bulgari on a few tracks.) The two long, wandering songs here are fully ruling and should easily enough send you bussing off into a most pleasant, darkened bedroom full of a smoke of uncertain origin. Definitely for fans of Fushitsusha, although, needless to say, this isn’t nearly as heavy or galaxy hub-bound. If any kind of smoke whatsoever has at any time ever left your lips, you need this. The very light pastel pink cover is unusual for Haino, and it’s also heavily textured in the nicest way. But, as I’ve said before, on Haino collaboration CDs, sometimes another color besides black may appear.

    Label: Horen Catalog Number: MIMI-010 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 7 Total Time: 44:30 Country: Japan Released: 2000 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Peter Brotzmann + Keiji Haino + Shoji Hano – Shadows

    February 25th, 2008

    Peter Brotzmann + Keiji Haino + Shoji Hano - Shadows

    This CD contains nearly an hour’s worth of live performances recorded at the Schlachthof in Wels, Austria on March 31, 2000 during a Spring concert tour of Europe. Featuring Peter Brotzmann on clarinet and tenor sax, Keiji Haino on electric guitar and vocals, and Shoji Hano on bamboo horn and drums, this clearly-recorded thang aggressively wrangles its way through the jungles of hair covering your your head, your ears—hell, your entire body! Once inside your brain, this heapin’ helpin’ of scaldin’ soul-scour will quickly erase all memories of servitude that you’ve ever amassed. Haino’s vocal shrieking with Brotzmann’s acoustic squealing—all held-up by Hano’s faithful tub work—should clear out your ailin’ head better than a continual administration of nitrous oxide on the deck of a Caribbean-bound luxury boat. Brotzmann even momentarily shows that he’s still not afraid of a tune. The cover shows off a nicer layout than usual: tangled trees inked on the front cover, plus liner notes by Shoji Hano and pics of the participants inside.

    Label: DIW Catalog Number: DIW-938 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 56:23 Country: Japan Released: 2000 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino + Shoji Hano – The Strange Face

    February 25th, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Shoji Hano - The Strange Face

    The Strange Face is a continuation of sorts to Shoji Hano’s 1991 Tayhei Nippon percussion CD, two tracks of which Haino played guitar on. Well, here we are again a decade later, but with Haino and his axe more up front. Clearly and loudly recorded in Asagaya Studio and released in 2000, this CD is filled with plenty of high guitar keens, sweet vocals with percussion tinkles, dissonant rockings, growling vocal exorcisms, jaunty workouts, light percussion patter with distant guitar shimmers and much more that you may and may not expect. The all-black booklet comes complete with Japanese liner notes and photos of the musicians. The cover shot of both of ’em together is really nice, although it looks like it may have been Photoshopped together.

    Label: Ultra Hard Gel Catalog Number: GEL CD 01 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 7 Total Time: 43:59 Country: Japan Released: 2000 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino + Jean Francois Pauvros – Y

    February 24th, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Jean Francois Pauvros - Y

    This year 2000 CD from France fixes Keiji Haino up with French avant guitarist Jean Francois Pauvros, who, like Haino, has been working for three decades now, and percussionist Francois Causse. Why he is given lesser billing is beyond me, as he plays on many of these tracks. This album is full of gently floating freedom atmospherics of a most dim and misty hue—the perfect soundtrack to blast out into your front yard next Halloween. The glacial pace picks up at times, even rocking out for a short while in the middle. On the way from A to Z, we encounter bouts of Haino’s trademark solo vocal torture, collections of meandering sound flurries and areas of uncertain ambience. Overall, this is the perfect album for fans of clouded aquariums. The white cover sports a really blurry landscape photo with the two guitarists on the front. Then there’s the matter of this “Y” thing. Is it really the title of the album (it’s not on the spine), or just a graphic device? The world may never know.

    Label: Shambala Catalog Number: SHAMB 99003 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 8 Total Time: 58:10 Country: France Released: 1999 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino with Greg Cohen and Joey Baron – An Unclear Trial: More Than This

    February 24th, 2008

    Keiji Haino with Greg Cohen and Joey Baron - An Unclear Trial: More Than This

    There’s a green cover on this one, but sometimes when Keiji Haino collaborates, the other party may take liberties on the artwork and some sort of color—even white—may appear. I know, it’s shocking. The photo shows a hollow body guitar by some leopard print fabric and a big red pillow in a shadow-laden, candle-lit room. The music consists of a series of improvs between Haino and the rhythm section of John Zorn’s Masada, featuring acoustic guitar, stand-up bass and very professional, virtuosic drum kit workouts that are sure to confuse any farmers you might know. I do believe it’s ’bout supper time, lil’ darlin’. With plenty of quirky swingin’ and rockin’ bandied about all over—this is another good one. Recommended.

    Label: Avant Catalog Number: AVAN 074 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 57:43 Country: Japan Released: 1998 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Keiji Haino with Boris – Black: Implication Flooding

    February 24th, 2008

    Keiji Haino with Boris - Black: Implication Flooding

    As far as CD music length goes, Keiji Haino never rips you off. Here’s another 73-minute pile-up of really long hair blast. Japan’s father of sonic hurt feelings teams up with an outfit of young upstarts on nine tracks marked with Haino’s recently developing penchant for increasingly lengthy titles. The most smirk-inducing one is “Offer it All Up, Our Madness, That Will be Crushed on This Land That Has Come to Be Called Chaos Unzipped.” A deep red cover with black, silhouetted amp skyscrapers looming ominously foreshadows the sourness and heavy feel of this CD, which is comprised largely of rock band instrument feedback carnivals. Some sections of subtle “rocking” can be found buried in the debris, with others not rolling at all—just coalescing billows of overblown amp hassle.

    A couple of exceptions include track one, in which a nice, long, throbbing, electronic sruthi box drone with low-moaned vocals–sounding alot like the So, Black Is Myself CD–eventually unfolds until Haino’s screaming and Boris’ smashing drums, percussion and feedbacking drone guitars kick in. Track six, as well, features a similar effect from Boris with Haino wailing away on an ethnic oboe. The main man then switches over to his patented guitar roar on the last three tracks, with the eye-of-Jupiter-storm thickness of number nine, especially, sure to be best-loved by everyone down at the office.

    Label: Inoxia Catalog Number: IXCD-0002 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Total Time: 72:40 Country: Japan Released: 1998 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia