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Fushitsusha, "Hikari to Nazukeyo"

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cover imageMy life was never the same after hearing Fushitsusha for the first time. The second live album was a gargantuan asteroid of free rock headed straight for the center of my brain. The group has undergone many line-up changes and periods of inactivity but on this first album in about a decade, and the first since Yasushi Ozawa’s death in 2008, Keiji Haino is rejoined by Ikuro Takahashi on drums (Takahashi having previously filled the drum stool for Fushitsusha as well as other stalwarts of the Japanese psych scene like High Rise, Kousokuya, Aihiyo and LSD March) and by bassist Mitsuru Nasuno (a long-time collaborator with Otomo Yoshihide and former member of Ground Zero).

Heartfast Records

It was Nasuno’s other band with Haino, Seijaku, that led to this new Fushitsusha as Haino felt that the energy and music created on their two 2010 albums was very similar to the elements that made Fushitsusha what it was. Indeed, Seijaku’s Mail from Fushitsusha made the point incredibly clear (especially considering the usual obliqueness of Haino’s titles). Picking up the baton from where Seijaku left off, this sounds less like the Fushitsusha of It Was Eternity That Reached Out First or Origin’s Hesitation than expected; those looking for something like the first two live albums will be scratching their heads (though they can look to Haino’s new group Nazoranai for satisfying that urge).

There is a bright, early rock’n’roll feel to a lot of the rhythms so it is probably no coincidence that Fushitsusha have dropped the black artwork and gone for a cheery blue-green colour scheme on the sleeve. These short songs have something akin to a structure in most of them and a style that has shades of Les Rallizes Dénudés about it. Hikari to Nazukeyo clips along with the trio firing out intense, almost danceable pieces. On the fourth track (no English translations are given for the song titles), Haino comes as close to conventional playing as he has ever come while Takahashi and Nasuno punch out a solid rhythm; it sounds like something that might have been cast away by The Rolling Stones for being a bit too loose.

Although there is no fear of Fushitsusha becoming a pop band, both the opening and fifth piece provide ample opportunities for the group to flex those muscles. The first has a frenetic and uncomfortable rhythm that creates an air of mania whereas the fifth is an intense exploration of guitar feedback and heavy drumming. Towards the end of this latter piece, Haino goes off on an extended guitar solo where he hits every note bar the one I expect. The album finishes with all three musicians unleashing the full fury of their instruments to create a perfect storm of noise. This is music felt in the chest.

While Haino is obviously the most notorious member of the group, especially as later Fushitsusha albums felt more and more like his solo outings with extra musicians, this album demonstrates that the group is more than just a prop for him to show off his guitar playing. This new Fushitsusha play with a unity that makes it very difficult to think of them as anything less than a three-headed organism in its own right. Hopefully they will not call it quits again in the near future!

 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 04:26  


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