Acid Mothers Temple supremo Kawabata Makoto, arch dude of the stratospheric guitar, harbours his more reflective side on most of these discs for French label Bam Balam, transmissions from the mellower drone-loving universe that we occasional glimpse between projects.
Kawabata Makoto – We’re one-sided lovers each other
First up, We’re one-sided lovers each other captures Makoto at his LaMonte Young best. A two-tracker, with the title track (dedicated to the mysterious O) taking up the majority of the recording. It’s a gloriously sustained affair, forty minutes filled with drifting guitar æthers and tiny shape-shifting tonalities that religiously hook your head like some Arvo Pärt or Jóhann Jóhannsson composition. A universe that expands beyond its simplistic premise/means, pens a wordless sonnet to the curved slumber of the cover.The second track, “I Can’t Reach Your Lips” is more fraught, ploughs a stormier furrow. A buzz drone with rotting Alka-seltzer spires, puckered in slight discordances, instabilities. Wading a gulf between longing and satisfaction, caught on the painful calm of reminiscing. Lovely Father Moo qualities that seamlessly transport you to the next album’s mantle.
Ame No Tsurugi is a collaboration with Japanese accordion player À Qui Avec Gabriel (“À Qui” being the performer’s name, and “Gabriel” being the name of her accordion). She’s previously had dealings on John Zorn‘s Tzadik imprint and has worked with Makoto before, so I was eager to hear this one and it didn’t disappoint.Things start tentatively, Makoto bowing out a quivering drone as each waltzes round the other in playful conversation, mojo testing, polka-dotting the shadows. By the second track “Susanoo Was Exiled from Heaven,” it’s milking a divine union, Makoto’s guitar all prepared piano chime (sounding amazing) to her slow, languid exhales, the accordion dissolving in weird feather-like mirages that climb out of rubbing tones, the betweens tingling a ritualised dirge, an ache replete with elephantine howls and wheezing rotaries. The whole blurring definition glow-worms your skull, transports you beyond, an unusual flavour that breaks off into maundering sunsets. The remainder full of odd snippets of musicality getting lost to joyous repeats, overtaken by sloping angles, sped up tempos revealing cackling geese pulled like chewing gum from an ever-slowing turntable, catching glinting tin to a hushed resolution.
The final track “Between Takamagahara and Yomi” (roughly translated as heaven and the netherworld) prefers to dance in stabs of string and Persian bursts. Leaking drones and creaking curiously until an apparition of vocals hit, vowel owls that levitate to Makoto’s gentle wavering focus as if suckling every nuance. Magic that’s short lived, overtaken by abstract breakdowns; bellow-tapped percussives and breeze-caught flights of Bartok-esque sway, re-enacting the Japanese mythological back story.
Another great addition to the AMT discography, housed in the obligatory ‘exploitative’ arts we’ve all come to expect since Wild Gals A Go-Go. This 70 minute gem sees Makoto back in the Acid Mothers fold, dabbling the Melting Paraiso UFO. Adopts a surprise of Angus MacLise to start, a boho of gongs, temple bells and guttural vowels wrapped in wormhole bubbles and reverbatory eclipse. A “Sunburned Man” improv turning crooner, babbling the Jim Morrison sweet blood blisters with a dash of Scott Walker caught on space whispers and jetting Korg kandy.“Planet Billions of Light Years Away” follows on its heels, a trickling riff infinitely running, gathering rhythm in a slow elixir of beat, all mantra sewn in galaxical tapers, comet bingos . An altogether mellow hit chiming inside your inner cosmos, suddenly soaked in a buzz-heavy wah. Unleashes a gigantic turbine heart. A whirring manga of burning butterflies propelled by a simple six-note sequence, the insert describes it as resonate waves to infinite ecstasy and embellished like this it’s delivering. Cranked up to an unholy volume this is incredible, pedal-pumped in slabs of counter-running bass and sub currents of interstellar riffery. Collapsing castles of pulsating WOW eating away the album’s duration with ease.
“Circular System 7777777” takes the same template, shakes it up in echoing tidal guitar and a dirty techno thump – yes, you read me right… techno! The Temple embracing club culture to good effect, sucked on a reverse splattered carpet of digi-delay chop suey and electro-cannon zappery. It’s a roaring train into a Escher-sphered beyond, taken to a vapou- treading drone death reanimated on “Milky Way Star” in classic ‘Acid Mothers burn.