Kawabata Makoto, Suzuki Junzo
A couple of key members of Japan’s psychedelic underground here; one old release, one new release.
The new one is from Kawabata Makoto, who presumably needs no introduction here given his years of output with Acid Mother’s Temple, Mainliner, and so many others. Shade of Burning Snow is a soundtrack, improvised over Audrey Ginestet’s film “Spring Yes Yes Yes”. Solo electric guitar, this sees Kawabata in full-on drone mode, 38 minutes of buzzing, murmuring, and occasionally getting nearly electronic with the effects. There are a couple of moments that sound like robotic insects, and occasionally it gets rough and a bit noisy (the last minute will shake you out of any daze you may have fallen into!), but for the most part this is dreamy background sound. Released by Chaotic Noise Recordings in Kochi, where it was recorded in 2012.
The older release is Ode to a Blue Ghost, from Tokyo’s Suzuki Junzo. His is certainly a less-recognized name compared to Kawabata, but he’s responsible for years of solo and other releases, primarily solo guitar work like this one. He’s semi-recently taken on the guitar and vocal duties in Koji Shimura’s Miminokoto project (which all readers of this blog have a duty to be familiar with). This CD was originally released on Junzo’s own Plunk’s Plan label, then reissued by the always-interesting Utech label. Four long tracks (the title is 20 minutes!), the aptly-named ghostly guitar work chimes delicately in a gentle reverb, recalling Loren Mazzacane Conners in his quieter moments. However, don’t relax too much: at a moment’s notice the music bursts apart into chaotic scrapes and disturbed scratchings, delayed and reverbed into uncomfortable atmospheres as layers of distortion build upon each other. And that’s all just the title track. There’s quite a variety here, showing quite well the range of Junzo’s playing.