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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keiji Haino / Jim O’Rourke / Oren Ambarchi - 君は気がついたかな 「すみません」 という響きがとても美しいことに それ以上悪くしないように (I Wonder If You Noticed ”I’m Sorry” Is Such A Lovely Sound It Keeps Things From Getting Worse) (Black Truffle, 2016) ****

By Eyal Hareuveni

Japanese Keiji Haino, Tokyo-based American Jim O’Rourke, and Australian Oren Ambarchi are all sound sculptors and multi-instrumentalists that never cared much about genre or style boundaries. Free improvisation, art-rock, noise, minimalism, ritual music and live poetry just begin to describe the dynamics of this trio's seventh album since 2010, and as the previous albums, one with a suggestive, poetic title (and if you will follow Haino tweets you will find many more of such koan-like poetics). This album documents the trio's entire set at Tokyo’s SuperDeluxe club on March 2014. Haino recites and sings his metaphysical ponderings in English (for the first time) and Japanese, explores the Turkish string instrument baglama (that sound almost like the Japanese shamisen) and the contrabass harmonica and adds electronics; O’Rourke plays on effects-laden, processed bass and Ambarchi plays percussion and drums.

This performance as many of the trio past ones is a kind of futuristic-tribal ritual and Haino, no doubt, is the master of ceremonies. He leads the first piece, "Who is so cleverly manipulating The word ‘Everything’", with a fragile, haunting recitation in English and economic, repetitive riffs on the baglama while O’Rourke and Ambarchi build the tension methodically with psychedelic, heavy bass pulsations and pulse-free percussive touches. The second piece "Be careful of this word ‘New’ With it's glittering trap" adds a mysterious vein to the already established ritualistic spirit. Haino recites now in Japanese with a much more authoritative command, soon his guttural growls are washed in a dense electric storm comprised of the tortured-spacey of O’Rourke processed bass and Ambarchi massive, cosmic pulse. This epic and volatile eruption becomes even more bizarre when Haino experiments with the contrabass harmonica, a sound that softens the previous tsunami waves of ecstatic noise.

The third piece "The universe is tired Please For just one second stop thinking" changes the course and now O’Rourke resourceful bass work is in the center, heavily processed with an array of effects, sketching a magnificent, hypnotic noisy drone, backed by the repetitive, thunderous drumming of Ambarchi and occasional screams of Haino. This sonic storm suddenly quiets and leaves Haino pondering his cryptic-metaphysical ideas in a tempting-tortured voice, often obscured by O’Rourke bass noises. The last piece "That ‘?’ Squatting Proudly at the Edge of Surface Tension Is It Perhaps a Mystery..?" continues the explosive spirit with a simple but highly addictive single-chord grind that brings to mind Haino seminal psychedelic group Fushitsusha. Haino keeps screaming “explode” between his Japanese growls. Again, suddenly the grind halts and Haino closes this ritual as it began more than an hour ago, chanting with a soft and compassionate voice and playing gently on the baglama.

A moving experience.