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    Keiji Haino at Beyond Baroque

    January 6th, 2009

    Santa Monica, California
    November 14, 1999

    On a brisk Fall evening, Keiji Haino played a solo percussion set on a bill with Jens Brand–whose performance was featured in a two-page spread in the second issue of Arcane Candy–and some other folks I can’t recall. Haino arranged a huge battery of percussion instruments and scraps of wood and metal across the floor and proceeded to bang, scrape and drag them around the room to create a solid half hour of clattery goodness. You can view a similar performance in the comfort of your own home via his Percussion Solo video on PSF.

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    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida – Uhrfasudhasdd

    July 5th, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida - Uhrfasudhasdd

    This is part two of Hauenfiomiume, which was released in March 2008. Review coming later.

    Label: Tzadik Catalog Number: TZ-7265 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 16 Total Time: 50:07 Country: United States Released: 2008 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino + Masami Akita (Kikuri) – Pulverized Purple

    July 4th, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Masami Akita (Kikuri) - Pulverized Purple

    Considering the fact that musical maverick Keiji Haino has been on the scene since the beginning of the 1970s and that legendary noisester Masami Akita (better known as Merzbow) got his start at the end of that decade, it’s sort of mind-boggling that it took a full three decades for these two icons of the Japanese underground to join forces and release an actual legit album. Recorded live on May 21, 2007 at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Canada–during their first-ever gig together outside of Japan–what a semi-surprising collection of sounds it is! Although one might have expected Haino to don his overdriven axe or man the hectic air snyth to engage in a titanic noise battle with Akita’s power electronics, that’s not exclusively the case here.

    Wisely, Haino often eases back a bit and, by way of some gentle, cooing ghost vocals and dry, squiggly “mini-guitar” stabs, provides some subtle yet poignant counterpoint to Akita’s scalding maelstroms. On one track, Haino even mans the staggered drum kit while Akita’s laptop chatters away. During the final 30-minute blowout, the two pelt each other with vocal bile and Haino makes his amped-up axe fly like a screeching Mothra over Akita’s flame-spewing Godzilla as they perform a gargantuan dance of death in an earnest attempt to destroy the sun. Then it’s time for a break as the duo relaxes in some rather tangled-up woods in the booklet’s centerspread. Overall, I must say that Pulverized Purple is more than worthy of your hard-earned bucks.

    Label: Victo, Catalog Number: VICTO cd 110 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 69:17 Country: Canada Released: 2008 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida – Hauenfiomiume

    July 4th, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida - Hauenfiomiume

    Hauenfiomiume? Wow. I dare you to say that really fast one time, let alone 10. Betcha can’t. This is the third album from the duo of Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida, following Until Water Grasps Flame in 2002 and New Rap in 2006. It’s also part one of a projected two-part release. My, how ambitious!

    Quite different from this duo’s previous output, Hauenfiomiume is exceedingly odd, quirky, and chock full of a wide variety of tracks that can and will turn on a dime. The sounds veer so suddenly! From classical acoustic guitar bathed in reverb to quiet, moaning, forlorn vocals to maniacally-paced distorted electric guitar and drums to weirdly sped-up interludes with screaming vocals to repetitive, dry guitar and drum riffs to strange, slow, echoing drum rhythms to somewhat straightforward rock to whispered vocals with electric reverb guitar supported by a steady kick drum beat to more classical guitar and keyboard tangles with vocals from Yoshida to a New Rap-style electric guitar and drum kit attack with hyperactive explosions to complex riffs with spoken vocals and backup singing to distorted feedback riffs to a quiet flute and drum interlude to rapid-fire stop ‘n’ start garble to fractured acoustic guitar rhythms with buried singing to upbeat, distorted rock to frantically chopped-up weirdness to heavily edited, ultra dry, distorted, stabbing rhythms with garbled vocals to clouds of blurry chaos to a strange baroque dream and back to the classical guitar that started it all.

    It’s good to hear Yoshida on bass and keyboards as well as the usual drums, and his singing in particular melds nicely with Haino’s and helps set these sessions apart. Plus, Yoshida’s taut, heavily edited production takes Haino to places he’d never go alone. It also makes this variety show sound like a consistent collection. If you’re a private in the Army, don’t worry about blasting Hauenfiomiume in the barracks, because if your sargeant makes an unexpected appearance, he’ll be able to bounce a dime off of this music, no problem. All in all, this is a fresh, vital work from both artists. And it comes appropriately housed in an ultra-luxurious, three-panel mini-LP jacket festooned with colorful(!) artwork from both Haino and Yoshida prominently displayed under heavy gloss. This one’s a keeper.

    Label: Magaibutsu, Catalog Number: MGC-34 Format: CD Packaging: Three-panel mini-LP jacket Tracks: 16 Total Time: 50:10 Country: Japan Released: 2008 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino + My Cat Is An Alien – Cosmic Debris Volume III

    June 3rd, 2008

    Keiji Haino + My Cat Is An Alien - Cosmic Debris Vol. III

    eBay alert! This album was originally released as an LP in an impossibly rare, private edition of 100 copies, each of which contains an original acrylic painting and a one-of-a-kind Polaroid photo on the cover. I may or may not be stoked that I don’t own one. But, as a consolation, at least it was reissued on CD! Keiji Haino scores the first of two long tracks, which was recorded live on November 22, 2005 at Koenji Show Boat in Tokyo, Japan. The black clad elf completely fills the room with more of the scalding electronic noise feedback, oscillating theremin-like nightmares, scattered drum samples and layered vocal torture that filled his first two air synth albums that were released back in 2005. Italian duo My Cat Is An Alien grab ahold of the reins on track two, which was recorded live on September 29, 2006, at The Beach in Torino, Italy on a bill conveniently shared with Keiji Haino. They maintain a heavily reverbed atmosphere full of tinkling bells, distant clatter, sparse drumming, wailing banshee vocals and churning feedback for the better part of a half-hour. Good for them…and you!

    Labels: Opax Records, A Silent Place Catalog Numbers: OPX LP10, ASP28 Format: LP, CD Packaging: LP: Handpainted covers, CD: Mini-LP gatefold Tracks: 2 Total Time: 44:03 Country: Italy Released: 2007 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino + KK Null – Mamono

    June 3rd, 2008

    Keiji Haino - Mamono

    After a wait of several decades, the first-ever collaborative album from longtime Japanese noise-mongers Keiji Haino and KK Null comes kicking and screaming into the world. Contrary to expectation, these two characters offer up exactly zero examples of dueling electric guitar feedback, opting instead to open the album with two tracks of power electronics spackled with Haino’s plaintive vocal screeching. End result: The walls of your ear canals come crashing down. On track three, Haino supplies a staggered drum beat while Null continues spluttering the electronics and screeches like a cat that has been skinned alive then set on fire. On tracks four and five. Null takes over on sloppy drums while Haino brandishes some dry, quirky guitar tussle that gets mangled inside an aluminum tornado. Track six is a long, 22-minute excursion into the wonderful world of garbled power electronics, as both men handle those duties and vocals, plus Haino on drum machine. (Don’t worry, you can’t dance to it.) Track seven closes the whole album in a similar manner, but with the added “pleasure” of Null on drum machine. Basically, we’re talking about a 16-minute free noise fest that sounds like a gigantic peanut butter and jelly sandwich got shoved in a meat grinder stuck on the “Reverb” setting. So, if you’re a die-hard fan of Haino or Null, there’s at least a 50% chance that Mamono will most likely make you moan “Oh!” with delight.

    Label: Blossoming Noise Catalog Number: BN018CD Format: CD Packaging: Custom folder Tracks: 7 Total Time: 67:50 Country: United States Released: 2006 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino – Yaranai Ga Dekinai Kotoni Natte Yuku

    May 27th, 2008

    Keiji Haino - Yaranaiga Dekinaikotoni Natteyuku

    Hot on the heels of albums in which he experimented with air synth, acoustic guitar, drum kit and even a sitar army, Keiji Haino revisits his past to offer us another take on the kind of forlorn solo vocals with electric guitar atmospheres that he does so well. One long track splays out for well over an hour, building from quiet, sparse, late-night picking to atonal strumming and, eventually, virtual storms of multi-layered guitar. So, did Haino do overdubs or simply stomp on a delay pedal? Since there are no liner notes and he so seldomly does the former, I cast my vote for the latter. The overall modus operandi on this disc involves maintaining a simple, stark, space bliss soaked in massive reverb that gives way to a sudden stop punctured by a sour, wailing field of distortion chaos and eventually back again. Lather, rinse, repeat. And most of the vocals throughout are surprisingly up front. On the cover, one last tiny sliver of light disappears from the black void, just as a really freaking nice, professional photo of Haino playing guitar floats effortlessly on the back. Pretty much all this album amounts to is another near-classic to throw on the pile.

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-8024 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 1 Total Time: 68:48 Country: Japan Released: 2006 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino and Sitaar Tah! – Animamima

    May 26th, 2008

    Keiji Haino - Animamima

    Animamima–or Aunt Jemima as I like to call it–is a sprawling two-disc set of spectacular drone ‘n’ tussle from a huge all-star ensemble, including Keiji Haino on electric hurdy gurdy, electric sruthi-box, electric tanbur, flute, rhythm box and voice; Yoshida Daikiti on sitar; Sitaar Tah! manning 20 more of the things; and Fuyuki Yamakawa offering up some throat singing and igill–whatever the hell that is. Brought to you by the same label, recording and mastering folks that foisted Haino’s Reveal’d to None as Yet 2-CD upon the world, the whole thing is beautifully packaged beyond the call of duty in one of the nicest fold-out cards this side of Hallmark. We’re talking a deluxe die-cut job with intricate folds and ornate borders that lusciously frame photos of Haino and Sitaar Tah! in action. So, of course, I had to drop mine and crease the corner!

    As the CDs twirl on, some saltine-raspy throat singing supports Haino’s own loud wailing, as he pilots his drone instruments and a heavily reverbed flute over an army of nicely monotonous sitars. Coated in the maximum amount of reverb possible, this whole aural contraption coalesces into layers of knocking, buzzing and low-pitched chugging to create a super shrill storm over a massive coastal bay with occasional rays of sunshine peeking through the dense fog. Needless to say, I highly recommend Aunt Jemima to fans of any and all minimal drone music…and a short stack of pancakes.

    Label: aRCHIVE + Important Catalog Number: aRCHIVE 22/23 + imprec099 Format: 2-CD Packaging: Die-cut foldout card Tracks: 2 Total Time: Disc 1: 46:38, Disc 2: 51:12 Country: United States Released: 2006 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida – New Rap

    May 23rd, 2008

    Keiji Haino + Tatsuya Yoshida - New Rap

    When I first encountered the title of this album, I half-jokingly feared that Keiji Haino may be heading off into a new (for him) musical direction. You know the stereotype, rudely and rhythmically boasting about his “ice” and “rims,” and barking a slew of profane abuse at all of his “bitches.” But, of course, that’s not the case at all. What we have here is a lively (to say the least) set of short duets for electric guitar, vocals and drums. Haino dons his axe, grabs his mic and compleletly goes off his rocker with Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida for a solid 48 minutes. A wide variety of squealing, snarling, gargling vocals sprayed all over loads of homely guitar plucking and dissonant feedback clouds–all propped up by the most manic, hyper-active, start ‘n’ stop drumming ever–make New Rap anything but. Needless to say, this album should sit quite well with fans of Musica Transonic.

    Label: Tzadik Catalog Number: TZ-7262 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Total Time: 48:04 Country: United States Released: 2006 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Keiji Haino – Reveal’d to None as Yet: an Expedience to Utterly Vanish Consciousness While Still Alive

    May 22nd, 2008

    Keiji Haino - Reveal'd to None as Yet

    Recorded live in Japan at Super Deluxe on April 7, 2005 and mastered by fellow experimental guitarist James Plotkin, Reveal’d to None as Yet is a fancy pants two-disc set released by, appropriately enough, two different American psych / noise labels, aRCHIVE and Important. Now, that’s entertainment! I mean collaboration! Disc one is packed to the gills with one long track full of Keiji Haino brutalizing the theremin-like air synth that we first encountered on his similar Uchu Ni Karami Tsuiteiru Waga Itami album, which was released earlier in 2005 on PSF. Once again, the listener is battered by a whole airplane hangar’s worth of craggy, whining, sputtering electronic mayhem. But, this time, Haino’s occasional mysterious vocal cords add an air of instant familiarity to the hectic proceedings. All kinds of reverberant bass drum samples boom away as muffled tornadoes, menacing swirling dervishes and headache-inducing scouring pads unfurl all over the place. And it’s all supported by the most grating drones this side of Cluster’s gaseous explosions.

    On the second disc, Haino continues the hurdy gurdy drone fest atmosphere that first appeared on his PSF album The 21st Century Hard-y Guide-y Man back in 1995. Providing some really pleasant counterpoint to the chaos of disc one, the ebb and flow of the sound fabric here is, surprisingly, occasionally halted and replaced with knocks upon the instrument’s body and a few choice string plucks. This novel stop ‘n’ go action is the exception, though, as the shrill, raspy string fluctuations and pillow hoverings on cloud nine meshed with Haino’s gently cooing vocals continue unabated for most of the track’s duration. This release comes packaged in an ultra-nice, three-panel accordian foldout letterpress cover with a photo of Haino manhandling the instruments on the front, plus English and Japanese notes inside. Oh, and it sold out pretty soon after release, too, so happy eBaying!

    Label: aRCHIVE + Important Catalog Number: aRCHIVE 14/15 + imprec074 Format: CD Packaging: Three-panel accordian foldout Tracks: 2 Total Time: Disc 1: 54:27, Disc 2: 46:55 Country: United States Released: 2005 Related Artists: Fushitsusha More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia