March 13, 2019
New Japanese Noise
PNL Records PNL 043
Eruptive as the result of a violent coupling between bursts of Heavy Metal excesses and the boiling point of a 1960s New Thing program, New Japanese Noise readily reflects the first and third words in its title. However as proof that noise is universal, two of the players featured on the four tracks that are constantly on the point of detonating aren’t Japanese. Ostensible leader, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is Norwegian and fiery guitarist Kiko Dinucci is Brazilian. Additionally while electronics manipulators Kohei Gomi and Toshiji Mikawa hail from Japan’s world of Noise-Rock with groups like Pain Jerk and the Incapacitants, Akira Sakata, who plays alto saxophone, clarinet and vocalizes here is an epic Japanese Free Jazzers, who has worked with numerous sound experimenters since the 1960s, and fronts a contemporary trio with Nilssen-Love.
Assertive in his improvisations as always, the 73-year-old saxophonist’s playing is overshadowed by none of the younger associates output, either in length or volume. Backed by the drummer’s seemingly indefatigable banging and pumping plus distorted flanges and hammered licks from the guitarist, Sakata goers his own way, outputting paroxysm of screeching multiphonics and inflated, triple-tongued phrasing. Meanwhile Gomi’s and Mikawa’s oscillated splashes and blurry wave forms create counterpoint and fuel the reedist’s outbursts.
Although “Eats, Shites and Leaves” contains instances of his mellow coloratura clarinet pacing, Sakata’s earlier screaming alto saxophone glissandi and later banshee-like vocalizing prod the others to more elevated, craggy and grinding splatters when featured. Asian-tinged nonsense syllables teamed with brutal yodels and groans characterizes Sakata’s vocal delivery with the theatrical end result midway between stylized Noh Drama dialogue and the menacing bellows of the villain in a blood-drenched Oriental horror film.
Before the quintet wraps up the program on “Birdsong” blending elevated false-register reed vibrations, pressurized drumming, twanging string ripples and swaying oscillations, the CD’s climax occurs on the penultimate “The Bone People”. With Sakata’s parlando dialogue and thriller-like yowls alternating with slurred fingering from Dinucci and Nilssen-Love’s consistent crashes and ruffs, the band works up to a crescendo of collective pulsations that never climax, but usher in the final noise detonation.
By defining noise, this unit’s program shows that as much as a mellow interface excessive loudness and speed can create profound music.
Track Listing: 1. Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves 2. 2 Up the Line to Death 3. Eats, Shites and Leaves 4. The Bone People 5. Birdsong
Personnel: Akira Sakata (alto saxophone, Bb clarinet, voice); Kiko Dinucci (guitar); Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Kohei Gomi and Toshiji Mikawa (electronics)