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    Vajra – Tsugaru

    Vajra - Tsugaru

    Vajra is a supergroup that formed in the mid-1990s, similar to the lineup on Live in the First Year of Hesei, with Mikami Kan on vocals and guitar, Haino Keiji on guitar and Toshiaki Ishizuka on drums replacing Moto Yoshizawa on bass. Tsugaru, which means “outsiders” or “those people with the power to change an era,” also the name of Mikami Kan’s birthplace, is their first offering. It’s a 32-minute variety show (that is, by the way, more than an adequate follow-up to Carol Burnett) broken up into several distinct sections on one long track.

    Haino begins with some beautiful, plaintive, reverbed guitar hum ’n’ strum with almost military-like drum rolls from Ishizuka. In the second section, Mikami Kan offers up a short, quiet solo ballad on vocals and guitar followed by crazed, fast drum rolls blasting out suddenly as Haino startles full-throttle with jugular-bound, noise guitar flail spackled on top of Kan’s vague vocal muttering. Then there’s an upbeat tune highlighted by Mikami Kan’s gruff vocal delivery and Keiji Haino’s abstract guitar strokes off in the distance. Kan then reappears with another song spotlighting his inconsiderable vocal and guitar talents with Haino and Ishizuka quirking it up in the background. Haino even offers up a few choice high-pitched elf cries near the beginning. The next section finds Haino in feedback mode again, this time playing more identifiable lines, with Kan manhandling the vocals and Ishizuka on drums. Closing out the set is one more solo effort from Kan on acoustic and vocals.

    This is a fabulous first effort by a promising new human group. It’s a little more than exciting to hear these three making sound waves together. Absolutely luffly cover artwork featuring a white background with black brush strokes that swirl ’n’ splash outward toward you.

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-62 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 1 Total Time: 32:20 Country: Japan Released: 1995 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia

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