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    Lost Aaraaff – Concert from the Genyasai Festival

    July 5th, 2008

    Lost Aaraaff - Concert from the Genyasai Festival

    This disc is part of a 4-CD box set from 1995 called The Sou’ls True Love that chronicles the first decade of Keiji Haino’s career: from Lost Aaraaff in 1971 on through solo home recordings and eventually to the birth of an early version of Fushitsusha near the end of that decade. It contains 58 minutes of music featuring two long tracks of live mayhem from Keiji Haino’s very first group, the free-jazz-inspired Lost Aaraaff. The vocals / keyboards / drums approach here is very similar to their lone effort reissued by PSF, just way more lo-fi and obviously recorded live in front of a festival audience, as a few screams, shouts and catcalls are flung back toward the stage by the restless mob. But it’s no match for the hyperactive haunt-screech of Lost Aaraaff, as the trio offer their skittering, drifting, exploding, spontaneous wares to the Gods of cacophony. And the clouds nod in approval. Label: Purple Trap Catalog Number: PT 001 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case inside a box set Tracks: 2 Total Time: 58:17 Country: Japan Released: 1995 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Lost Aaraaff

    July 5th, 2008

    Lost Aaraaff

    Back we go to the very beginning of Keiji Haino’s “professional” career: 1971 and his first group, Lost Aaraaff. This free jazz-inspired ensemble scarved out a vicious splash of crazed piano, slop-o drumming (credits are not given) and Haino’s most toasted, gargled, feedback microphone vocals ever: groaning, growling, shrieking, screaming and kicking his way through 64 minutes over three long tracks. Ah, youth. Someone additionally squawks away on sax for a bit near the end of the 38-minute track two, plus Haino performs some low key pick-to-string guitar hits in the first part of track three, as well.

    Although the band does get kind of “bluesy” at times, this music is definitely the sort of thing that makes most people perk up and politely request, “Turn that crap off!” From explosive, acoustic improv with screeching voice to ambient tinkling and ghostly vocal murmurs, it’s amazing that someone had a tape recorder rolling—especially then and there and for this kind of thing. All in all, it’s a very impressive set of pushed rawness. A vintage, color cover photo shows a blurry, youthful Haino onstage shaking a guitar around. It’s probably not from the same session, but who knows for sure?

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-18 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 3 Total Time: 61:32 Country: Japan Released: 1991 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia

    Knead – This Melting Happiness: I Want You To Realize It Is Another Trap

    July 5th, 2008

    Knead - This Melting Happiness

    Here we see a rare return to the vinyl format for a certain Mr. Haino–not to mention his second commercially available outing with the Ruins. Like you might expect, this 12″ black saucer contains eight tracks of mega-distorto guitar with hyperactive bass and drums lightly peppered with the occasional moan or scream. Basically, it’s a big, long electric tantrum. So, do you really need this? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Well, yes, if your’re a fan of Haino’s solo electric guitar workouts and/or the Ruins and/or, obviously, the first Knead CD. No dis to the Ruins, but I like the rhythm section of Yasushi Ozawa and Jun Kosugi a heck of a lot more. I’m talking Fushitsusha here, man! Overall, this release is a good one, though, no matter how you try to divvy it up. The cover sports a curious combination of one of Haino’s abstract line drawings repeated as a pattern over a photo of a natural sandstone arch. Unexpected.

    Label: Fractal Catalog Number: Fractal 023 Format: LP Packaging: LP jacket Tracks: 8 Total Time: Unknown Country: France Released: 2003 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia


    July 5th, 2008


    Keiji Haino meets The Ruins. Superficially, Knead sounds like a faster, hyper, prog-like Fushitsusha. But, of course, the spare, skeletal rhythm section of Fushitsusha is very unique and important to that band and no guitar-based creation on Earth can match their supreme density and abstract beauty. But, Knead doesn’t need to. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) This new trio happily launches Haino into territory that he has never really operated in before. We’re talking complex mathematics here, folks, and it’s well-known The Ruins practice it in spades. Crazed precision drumming and bass playing that meticulously teases each and every fret offer plenty of melding support for Haino’s crunchy feedback explosions and searing peak wail. There’s some quiet, spacey moments here and there and the “no overdubs” man even throws in some real-time vocal loops and other special effects. It’s nothing less than an entire CD filled with ultra intensity—so much music, it’ll leave even the most hardened fan tuckered. Pretty dang impressive.

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-128 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 8 Total Time: 75:46 Country: Japan Released: 2002 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia

    Black Stage

    July 5th, 2008

    Black Stage

    This is a collection of very pleasant and listenable improvisations with Keiji Haino on vocals, six- and twelve-string electric guitars, flute and harp; Kido Natsuki on acoustic guitar and Katsui Yuji on five-string electric violin. It was recorded in 1994, but not released until 1996. Rather austere, largely acoustic and most always oddly rhythmic, this is among the most enjoyable spontaneous music of recent vintage that you’re likely to stumble into. What it all amounts to is three long tracks and 55 minutes of campfire music for your favorite tied-up, rotating, roasting hiker who happily chokes on liquefied marshmallows. It was all recorded live, as evidenced by the smattering of polite applause at the end. The cover sports abstract curtains of red and black cigarette smoke wafting through your lungs.

    Label: Maboroshi No Sekai Catalog Number: MABO 005 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 3 Total Time: 55:36 Country: Japan Released: 1996 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    Aihiyo – Live

    July 5th, 2008

    Aihiyo - Live

    This is release number two from Keiji Haino’s bar band. (The first self-titled one was released on a Japanese major label called Tokuma, catalog number TKCF 77022.) It features covers of The Ronettes, The Rolling Stones and The Spiders—among a slew of “hoary old Japanese MOR classics” with titles like “Your Eyes Have the Sparkle of 10,000 Volts,” “150 Tons Of Dynamite” and “Vent Your Anger.” These tunes, brightly recorded live in tiny dumps and mostly played in a vaguely straightforward manner, display Haino in some of his most regular rocking moments ever—albeit in full-on garage mode spackled with squealing distortion. It’s interesting to hear “Be My Baby” plod along as the vocal lines are joined with keening guitar distortion. The main riff of “Satisfaction” is somewhat recognizable, despite the fact that the song is submerged in screeching dissonance, but not much else of the original remains within the lengthy 14 minutes of this irreverent psych / dunce workout. Haino spits some words (in Japanese) in apparent disgust, the amplifier whistles, the rhythm section of Ikuro Takahashi on drums and Masami Kawaguchi on bass plods ever forward. If you insist that covers must be done, this is surely the way to do it. Serious garage fans and likers of the first Aihiyo disc better put a sticky note on this CD that reads, “Buy very soon.” The all-black package boasts numerous photos of Haino kicking it around Tokyo, hanging out by a high rise building and stone globe or sitting in a local café enjoying a cup of tea. Can you say lifestyle?

    Label: PSF Catalog Number: PSFD-8006 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Total Time: 72:59 Country: Japan Released: 2000 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, Wikipedia

    Aihiyo – (First)

    July 5th, 2008

    Aihiyo -(First)

    Aihiyo is a guitar, bass and drums trio fronted by Keiji Haino that played skewed versions of traditional Japanese pop songs back in the late 1990s. Along with the first Fushitsusha Live 2-CD (PSFD-3/4) this is the most “accessible” Keiji Haino music available, yet it’s sufficiently scattered off-center to be of interest to those who enjoy staring at aquariums. The CD opens with a rapidly jaunting little verse-chorus-verse number that is a very joyful listen—especially coming from Haino. It’s not too often you hear something so peppy coming from this camp. Track two is something of a ballad that starts off with mellower melodies that explode into loud feedback guitar with spare bass and drum accompaniment. Haino busts out the harmonica on the next song—interspersed with his exclusive feedback microphone vocal attacks. There’s no guitar on this one, and it’s still more raw than than your average trailer park. Track four is a very quiet, floating guitar and voice ballad with nary any other accompaniment. The following song is propelled by a looping bassline and steady drum beat; along with an exquisite, trebly, psych-guitar workout from Haino-san. It’s really a rocker and one of his best, most popularly enjoyable tracks anywhere. Track six is more slow, and lurches forward in awkward stutters. The last three songs are fairly mild ballads–with track eight adding keening vocals and sections of rising amplitude—exploding into feedback and agitated vocals at the end. Unfortunately, there are no English lyric translations with this CD. If you’ve never heard Keiji Haino, this is one of the best points of entry.

    Label: Tokuma Catalog Number: TKCF 77022 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Total Time: 59:09 Country: Japan Released: 1998 Related Artists: Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino More: Forced Exposure, Official, Poison Pie, PSF, Wikipedia

    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