You can’t release a track named – Walk for “345” minutes, while saying “Ah Yeah!” with a “Mountain Book” in one hand, until a shower of light pours down – and get away from me. The track is from the record Nijimusi by OOIOO. Here the complete thing:
The band is not new at all: its origin takes place in 1995 in Japan, quoting from Wikipedia as a “fictitious band for a photo shoot” when YoshikiO, already a member of Boredoms, invited her friends to make a fake group that became real after a while. Their music it’s often been described as indescribable but I’ll try to do my best by telling you about this record, released in January.
To be honest, I don’t know what this album is about at all because I can’t speak Japanese but Google Translate helped me with the album title: Bleeding. This is why the opening track is the title one because almost seems like something is killing the musicians during a gig. Crashes are crashed, bass and guitars let the open strings play by themselves and whoever is singing is imitating a girl being butchered. It’s only 49 seconds but it instantly impresses the listener, warning that the stuff that’s going to come is not for everyone.
Then comes Nijimu starting what I think it’s the “first half” of the album: the first tunes are more math rock and noise, while the last ones are influenced by classic psychedelia. It’s a fast ride on the drums almost like a swing, frenetic sixteenths on the strings and a syncopated guitar where the voice mumbles over, the bass circling around the same melodic cell giving a round motion to the flow. Then everything stops just to re-start again with a funk attitude, the vocals cry and squeal and electronic noises mess everything on specific spots. The improvisation goes on with the groovy pulse of Jibun, the guitars paint some weird melodies and the singer whispers upon them. Similarly to
the previous song, this one stops and then suddenly continues with great energy and prosecuting the stop-and-goes until the end. the “specials” has a peculiar post-rock mood with descending cascades of heavily effected guitars. Tisou makes the singer give energy to the intro with syllables growing in pitch and reverb. The improvised elements here are more recognizable: notes clashing each other, screaming vocals paired by a whistle, every instrument follows a different pattern and crosses with the mates when the math lets them cross. It’s the song that challenges your brain to move even before your hips, leading into a final ride with insane stabs. In Asozan5 the electronica dominates your ears with pitch slides at the limit of the humanly bearable, the singer squeals at insane pitches. Again, the musicians take different time paths to find each other at precise crosses. Useless to say, the atonality of it all reaches the peak in this song, there’s no more trace of proper lyrics or traces of “normal” melodic hooks. Asozan5 is a noisy locomotive of abstract lines that close the first half of the record.
Only three tracks for the countdown to the end but they’re the longest ones! There’s less right-into-your-face stuff going on and more on the psychedelic side, especially inspired by classic psychedelia. Bulun is a looping melodic cell and it’s a bit kraut due to the 5/4 pulse going on and the obsessive pentatonics together with the choirs. There’s even some attempt in soloing by guitars and synth until flowing to a tribal outro with a constant noise on the toms. And now enters the longest tune, both in length and in the title: A long jam where the composition is clearly made in a sort of continuous exchange of roles between the instruments in a constant crescendo that adds and leaves out things, grows higher and louder and speeding up, while everything reverberates around. At the sixth minute, it takes the form of a normal song with the entrance of the vocals and the “Ah Yeah!” refrain. The shower of light of the title pours down through fragments of effected guitars and electronic madness that ends the piece in a chaos of noise. It’s the final turn of the game: “Kawasemi Ah…so loud!” is the obsessive sentence on which the final song is built on, at least this is what I hear (Google translates kawasemi as kingfisher). We’re in the middle of the sixties, psych-rock at its best, based on long jams where the most important thing is to keep the music going on. A trumpet is the main melodic tool added to the band to break the repetition and just some little details here and there. After a moment of silence, an acapella choir made by all the band puts an end to the madness.
This is not an album for everyone here in the “west”. I honestly don’t know if it’s an upgrade or downgrades respect to their previous material, but I enjoyed it a lot and I want more, despite my ignorance in understanding Japanese, the music speaks by itself and it’s made for those who look for uncommon sounds.
Listened to and written for you by Music Pills
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