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    Fushitsusha at Spaceland

    January 5th, 2009

    Los Angeles, California
    November 13, 1999

    About a hundred or so people schlepped out on this night for a few opening bands at Spaceland. A small, die-hard crowd of around 50 hung around for Earth’s finest, who played last. Two or three guys even videotaped and mini-disked the event. It doesn’t take long to figure it out: Fushitsusha simply makes all other guitar music sound silly. The three members walked on stage and—after a quick nod from Haino-san—proved this by plunging straight away into the deepest ashen region of your subconscious:

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    Fushitsusha at the Empty Bottle

    January 3rd, 2009

    Table of the Elements Festival No. 2: Yttrium
    Chicago, Illinois
    November 9, 1996

    Since 1978, Tokyo’s Fushitsusha have translated spiral galaxy hub / black hole reality into electronic sound via the most immense guitar, bass and drums storms imaginable. Their guitarist Keiji Haino has established himself as the most original, intentionally sloppy, free, loose, soul-soaring and deeply felt guitarist ever. With simple, plodding bass by Yasushi Ozawa and drums by Jun Kosugi acting as a foundation, many uncharted territories of serenity and chaos, lightness and dark were explored at the Empty Bottle through a way overloaded half stack with much true abandon and freedom.

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    Fushitsusha – 1978

    February 5th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - It Was Eternity That Reached Out First

    This is an archival recording dating from 1978 that, fortunately, finally received a public service release 25 years later in 2003. While it’s nowhere near as dense as classic Fushitsusha of the ’90s, this set finds Keiji Haino and cohorts in a quite scorching free improv mode fairly similar to that contained on their Purple Trap CD, which was part of Keiji Haino’s The Soul’s True Love box set from 1995. Documenting the very beginning of Fushitsusha, this lo-fi recording is chock-full of heavy tape hiss and amp hum, which only adds to the overall raw flavor of the proceedings. Clocking in at 13:54, track one moves effortlessly from dry, dissonant guitar strums alternating with high-pitched scree–accompanied by Jun Hamano’s plodding bass and Takashima’s simple cymbal and drum smacks–into a completely corroded cumulus cloud of massive, blurry, almost-rock.

    What’s a Fushitsusha CD without at least one really long track? The second one on this disc offers up over 35 minutes of all-over-the-map fun for your noise-hungry head. Haino nonchalantly navigates his guitar all the way from dry strums to amp squeal to heavy reverb to scattered free picking to distorted wailing–occasionally nicely melded with some spare drum splack and even a little bass rhythm at one point. A couple of huge crescendos of distortion–accompanied by Haino’s lost ghost vocal wailing–appear near the middle and end of the piece. The second one–a massive, sound flurry-spewing sphere bigger than the sun–rolls into view and completely pummels the life out of the unsuspecting listener. Overall, after listening to this CD, it’s quite obvious that Fushitsusha practiced their unique deconstruction of rock in a fully-realized manner from the get-go. It comes housed in an all-black mini-LP gatefold cover with a black disc and booklet just like all of the previous Fushitsusha CDs on PSF. Just lovely, all around.

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-8016 Format: CD Packaging: Mini-LP gatefold Tracks: 2 Total Time: 49:10 Country: Japan Released: 2003 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – Origin’s Hesitation

    January 28th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - Origin’s Hesitation

    After seven years of releases on other labels, Fushitsusha finally comes home to roost in the PSF loft once again—and, aye, what a different bird they be. After the last drummer, Ikuro Takahashi, unfortunately split in the year 2000, Fushitsusha soldiered on, playing live shows as a duo with Yasushi Ozawa on bass and Keiji Haino handling guitar and often even the drum kit himself, offering up some effects-washed splacks. In the Summer of 2001, Haino and Yoshizawa decided to actually record their next album this way—minus the guitar. Yes, you did just read that, and no, you’re not dreaming: the ever-mighty Fushitsusha with no guitar! No one but Keiji Haino and no group but Fushitsusha would ever have the nuts to go for something like this.

    Origin’s Hesitation opens with a dense storm cloud of drumming and moaning, but the funny thing is, it sounds like hundreds of people drumming and three or four Hainos moaning simultaneously. As it turns out, this track—like the entire album—is layered in real-time with heavy loop effects. (Still no overdubs for the Haino clan.) At any rate, I’ve never heard anything remotely like this in all my years of music-listenin’. It’s so experimentally damaged, it wouldn’t sound too out of place on some old avant classical comp like Music From Mills.

    The rest of the album is a vast, corrugated array, ranging from simple, effected drum hits and muted bass jabs to pissed vocal cries and long stretches of digital silence. From lone, high-pitched bass notes and choked vocals to fragmented melodies and hazy washes of percussion. From straight-up drum sounds and urgent, alluring vocals to plenty of low moaning and subtle bass riffing—all crammed in the most beguiling way into six tracks and 68 minutes of pleasurable playing time. Despite my love for their typical black hole-filling volume, I really appreciate Haino trying to take Fushitsusha into a new direction, and this CD certainly accomplishes that to an extreme degree.

    At first, Origin’s Hesitation struck me as more of a Haino solo percussion release along the lines of Abandon All Words at a Stroke and Tenshi No Gijinka, but after hearing how Yoshizawa’s subtle, low-bubbling bass playing tethers all of Haino’s lost vocal / drum ghost float together into the trademark Fushitsusha dynamic, I pretty much set fire to that thought. In a vague way, this music even harks back to the very beginnings of Fushitsusha in the late ’70s, when Haino would ease back on the guitar for long stretches, lurching forth with nothing more than his plaintive singing and some sparse drum-whack. (Check disc four of The Soul’s True Love box set.) Origin’s Hesitation comes packaged in another gorgeous, all-black, mini LP-style gatefold jacket ala their early classic PSF releases, with numerous band photos and Japanese lyrics inside.

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-8010 Format: CD Packaging: Mini-LP gatefold Tracks: 6 Total Time: 68:19 Country: Japan Released: 2001 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – I Saw It! That Which Before I Could Only Sense

    January 28th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - I Saw It!

    At this point, what is left to say? With almost every release, Fushitsusha further refine and perfect their absolutely one-of-a-kind music. Seemingly incapable of making a stale move, this new set finds the band just totally peaking—it’s got to be their best effort since the glory days of PSF. I Saw It! is yet another 2-CD offering from merely the heaviest band of all time, packed in a double jewel case from the British label Paratactile. A three-panel booklet contains the usual front cover design, three photos of Haino close-up at the mic, plus more lengthy track titles on the rear.

    A short intro called “A Reflecting, Reflecting Echo, My Soul Could Perhaps Become” throws out the welcome mat: totally unique, dry guitar tangle with massive reverb and buried vocals. “I Sink Down in Search of Your Breath’s Abode” and “Don’t Be Afraid. Even if Your Nerves Snap, You Can Tie Them to A Fragment Of The Universe” are both likewise surprisingly short–by Fushitsusha standards–and are just so thick with totally non-lame, abstract, electric beauty.

    “Staring at a Point in Time, Memorizing. Vowing Never to Return” is a floating array of airy strum beauty and another messy mesmerizer that lopes along so nicely in an almost minstrelsy way. The centerpiece is the title track, which takes up the final half-hour of disc one. It’s full of distant, cavernous quaking and Haino himself seeping over the event horizon into the black abyss, twisting unbelievable dream weave guitar wail through chaotic asteroid belts of non-generic, well-fedback sound-shawls. This is one of those spontaneously- and perfectly-constructed realms of supreme spirit-density that only Fushitsusha is capable of.

    The title track shifts gears a bit as it continues onto disc two for some slightly less-filling, overboard graveyard screech. Fascinating, dry-slash-distorted strum interchanges appear later, a spell before the maelstrom simmers down for some destroyed psych lines around the 40-minute mark. The track finally draws to a close at 54 minutes after another brave dive into full storm thickness. Total elapsed time: 84 minutes, making this the longest Fushitsusha track ever by nine minutes—and probably one of the longest pieces of music on CD anywhere–except, you know, La Monte Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano.

    A way quiet, muted array of bass, drums and voice called “Hasn’t Something Like This Happened Before?” appropriately closes the set. It’s been totally thrilling watching the Fushitsusha saga unfold this past decade and I feel really lucky to be a small part of it. Here’s looking forward to the future…

    Label: Paratactile Catalog Number: PLE1106/07-2 Format: 2-CD Packaging: Double jewel case Tracks: Disc 1: 5, Disc 2: 2 Total Time: Disc 1: 61:34, Disc 2: 58:25 Country: England Released: 2000 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – Withdrawe, This Sable Disclosure Ere Devot’d

    January 28th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - Withdrawe

    This eight-track, 65-minute CD features a live concert recording from the 14th Annual Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville on May 16, 1997. “This Is” is this whirlwind of chaotic, electric soundquake that should increase ear putty sales dramatically. For the first, second, or maybe third time ever, Fushitsusha repeat a track, “Pathétique,” a version of which existed before as track one on PSFD-50. The treatment this time out is quite different, of course—only somewhat recognizable and much more projectile-vomited. “Hazama” and “Precipitate” join together to pair the most spare bass and drum simplicities with another round of feedback mic vocal stylings. On “Small Laugh,” beautifully keening vocals mix with pensive guitar wafts, bass strum and cymbal clouds to delight the sensitive senses.

    The centerpiece is a 17-minute affair of way pensive minor note twine called “Vertigo” that could easily bind you up into a cobwebbed pantry for a spell, then toss you out into the backyard for a good soaking by a very threatening weather system. “Just A Piece Of” harkens back to track one, just before the set is closed out with “W 1/7” and yet more thick spontaneity that somehow ends up with no guitar—the fast pounding from the rhythm section inciting Haino to vocally scald your face off for one super intense ending. The crowd approves. This release comes outfitted in a different kind of cover, for once: a very dark color photo of a bed of nails highlighted with an abstractly-shaped sliver of light, plus the band’s name and title in dark, blood red. A stretched photo of Keiji Haino playing live lies inside.

    Label: Victo Catalog Number: VICTO CD060 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 8 Total Time: 64:49 Country: Canada Released: 1998 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – The Wisdom Prepared

    January 28th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - The Wisdom Prepared

    Just to throw you off, this one’s pretty much the opposite of its predecessor, A Little Longer Thus. Supremely loud, distorted and free-form guitar, bass and drum twine with no let-up all on one long, thick track—this time fully realized at the nearly full CD length of 75 minutes. It’s nothing less than another exhausting, expansive, galactic black napkin of unsurpassed density and absorbing power. No other band should ever even think about attempting something like this. There are several photos inside the booklet of the black-clad, sunglassed group hangin’ around in some pretty dank surroundings.

    Label: Tokuma Catalog Number: TKCF 77021 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 1 Total Time: 74:55 Country: Japan Released: 1998 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – A Little Longer Thus

    January 28th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - A Little Longer Thus

    1998 sees Keiji Haino busting out with four more simultaneous CDs on Tokuma, including two Fushitsusha titles, another solo hurdy gurdy affair called Even Now, Still I Think and a debut disc from Haino’s new group Aihiyo. Unpredictable at times, Fushitsusha confounds with an unexpected move. Could this be their most unusual effort so far? It presents a very stark and spare environment featuring staple gun-like drum and cymbal hits from new drummer Ikuroh Takahashi; plus occasional, simple bass notes. When Haino’s guitar does rarely appear, it’s either barely audible in the background; jackin’ off little upward squirts or just sketching simple, dry briars.

    A variety pack of vocals intertwines throughout: feedback mic squeals, loud ’n’ clean singing and almost inaudible muttering, which sounds like it could be someone besides Haino. Just to confuse you a little more, Fushitsusha tack a very light, melodic ballad on the end—but you know it totally belongs there. Using the simplest equipment and incredibly restrained playing style, Fushitsusha maintains a captivating aura of interestingness on this nine-track, 61-minute CD that is totally unlike all others. I’m convinced that no one else could ever conceive of something like this—let alone pull it off.

    Label: Tokuma Catalog Number: TKCF-77020 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Total Time: 60:42 Country: Japan Released: 1998 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – Gold Blood

    January 27th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - Gold Blood

    Finally, the first-ever domestic U.S. release from Fushitsusha, recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on November 7, 1996 while the band was en route to Chicago for the Table Of The Elements Festival and, eventually, London to record their first two Tokuma albums. So, it should be no surprise that the material on Gold Blood has been pumped from a similar heart.

    From more wailing, feedback-dipped sound cones with crackling burger amp damage and lost ’n’ never found vocals to distant Ouija Board flail slowly coalescing into an intimidating maelstrom eventually ending in colossal sky shudders, this is another little, flat disc that should never become a coaster. The 24-minute spare feedback quirk and spat vocals of “Cipher” turns all angelic on you with the sweetest of voices, only to shift back to some full-on pedal overbore at the end. Filled with 72 minutes of sound spread over five tracks, this CD sports more chapter-like track titles. A nice one: “This Trembling in My Core, With Which of Your Cells Couldn’t it Hold Hands?”

    Label: Charnel Music Catalog Number: CHCD-30 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 4 Total Time: 71:51 Country: United States Released: 1998 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    Fushitsusha – The Time Is Nigh

    January 27th, 2008

    Fushitsusha - The Time Is Nigh

    Four tracks and 75 minutes of oozing, black lava—headed straight for your house. “Just Before” intros the disc with a feeling of short, slow and quiet. “My Precious Thing” is a 21-minute aurora of white furnace blast—just an incredibly shrill, piercing, unearthly guitar nebula with the most cosmically connected ghost-moaning ever. “Black Cluster,” which is similar but somewhat more down to Earth, is a nearly half-hour tanker you’d be much more likely to take home to mom. Well, okay, you probably wouldn’t. The vocals are much more up front and the pea sound-soup is a little thinner. Some unbelievable forehead eye psych arches appear later, the likes of which haven’t been heard since track three on Pathetique. Damn! “The Time Is Nigh” closes out the disc with a little melody mixed in with the shard carnival. Inside the booklet is a photo of each band member performing live: Jun Kosugi on drums, Yasushi Ozawa on bass and Keiji Haino on guitar.

    Label: Tokuma Catalog Number: TKCF-77015 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 4 Total Time: 75:06 Country: Japan Released: 1997 Related Artists: Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia