Saturday, January 16, 2016

In Zero to Infinity (2010)

The Japanese psychedelic noise band Acid Mothers Temple (& the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.) is an act I became familiar with in downloading days, though as with everything from then I've had to go back again to listen more carefully and round up information. There was always something uniquely intoxicating about their long jams when they cropped up in shuffle, loose-limbed and rough-textured and strangely seductive, with a swirling sense of rising motion, but I barely know a thing. I had a chance to see them in Portland two years before this came out and I'm a little sorry I didn't take it. I have it on Internet authority that this album is one of their best and, perhaps not unrelated, that it's the continuation of an homage from nearly 10 years earlier to Terry Riley's 1964 improvisational piece, In C. The four long tracks that compose this album, each over 18 minutes, are titled "In Zero" ("In 0")," "In A," "In Z," and "In Infinity" ("In ∞"). They seem to me in some ways much closer to ambient than psychedelic, though it's true they tend to fight for attention rather than recede to the background. There are no lyrics, it's just playing, with a standard rock band setup outfitted with keyboards, looping, and other effects. I had the sense even before I looked up the discography that they had been doing this a long time—or Kawabata Makoto had, as he appears to be the stable continuing figure of the larger multifaceted project. It's obviously past novelty or effect for the sake of effect, drifting through currents of texture and sound with an evident amount of intentionality. Of course, I am sure, there are all the typical surprises and happy accidents that come of such epic jamming tomfoolery—interviews with those in the sessions would no doubt yield up anecdotes by the handful. I have not gotten that far yet in my studies. I'm still fascinated by the way I can put this on and let it play, and it changes things around in subtle and elusive ways, the contours of my physical space and head space and such. At times the room is haunted with the voices of tiny people trapped somehow. Or I soar through blackest space at unimaginable speeds. Or I am in a laboratory of boiling vats of chemicals. Or some celestial corner of heaven. It doesn't smell right. Shades of green, and orange, and blue wash across my mental fields of vision. It's psychedelic in the way that people tripping on hallucinogens speak of tasting sound, feeling sight, hearing visions. And even though I am somewhat overstating for effect—because most of this experience is more at a nonverbal level that is not explained well with words—it's a fact that just playing the record transports me about to many mysterious places.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds more shoegaze than pigfuck, no? Funny guy in the Best Music Writing volume I'm currently picking my way through-- '06, I think; the Gaitskill edition-- suggests The Boredoms might be the next Japanese noise rock band you need to check out. The skronkier stuff can wear me out, and so I have to take in small doses, but sometimes I feel like I could live on the dronier stuff.