The world’s premier psychedelic warriors have blasted out an album that distills their weird world into 11 tracks of sonic mayhem.
The sprawling 40 minute title track is based on an Occitanian folk tune, and the unearthly acoustic opening with its overtone singing sounds like something that might have made its way on to a Werner Herzog soundtrack. Indeed once the guitars come in and the band stoke up their mighty drone, the effect is that of an amped up Popul Vuh, the German band who soundtracked many Herzog films. Ashra Tempel or Amon Duul are other reference points. At times, it’s impossible to believe that this wasn’t recorded in Berlin in 1972, such is the authenticity of the enterprise. But Kawabata’s crew aren’t merely K-tel Krautrockers; La Novia shows a deep respect for the traditional folk form and integrates it completely with the long forays into deep space that the leader’s fuzz
In the works for almost 3 years, ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE vs. PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE comic book/7in record set on prophase music & film! Yes, plotted/written by Makoto Kawabata and Sir Crimewave and drawn by Plastic Crimewave, this cataclysmic tale of aliens, magic, and psychedelia is actually somewhat autobiographical, and packaged just like the 70s ‘Power’ book/record sets of his youth. The ‘soundtrack’ on the 33 1/3 7in is collaborative as well!
The onslaught continues. Makoto Kawabata, lead guitarist for the Japanese freakout collective Acid Mothers Temple, has issued yet another side project — it seems there is either an Acid Mothers or solo record coming out every month (maybe more than one). In any case, it hardly matters, because this is one of the strongest things ever released by Kawabata. Accompanied by bassist Tsuyama Atsushi and drummer Ichiraku Yoshimitsu, Kawabata wastes no time in taking the exploration to the stratosphere on the 27-minute opener, “Theme of Hot Rattlesnakes.” Right, it’s all jamming. And what sublime jamming it is. Kawabata and his counterparts never take the easy way out. There is no constant riffing here to get a groove and move from there, no song structures to be used as easy backdrops for liftoff points. It’s all exploration and it’s all rock. While the Acid Mothers can be extreme to the point of unlistenability at times, this music is extreme in another way, in the way Jimi Hendrix was extreme — in dynamics, sonic texture, space, and in his use of time slippage. Kawabata and his Mothers of Invasion use the studio as a mirror, and create a live performance within it. Yoshimitsu’s unreal drumming carries the weight in this ensemble, as Mitch Mitchell did with Hendrix, yet keeps both Kawabata and Atsushi moving in concentric circles ever outward, weaving the two instruments in the middle of the jam so tightly that they cease to have individual identities. On the humorously titled solo guitar piece, “Frippian Flipped Over Niffy Their King of Frippery,” a multi-note repetitive pattern (only remotely similar to something the guy whose name gets played on here would ever actually play) becomes something else almost immediately; the mirror image of tape delay becomes the bedrock for a host of lush sonics that all but swallow the guitar’s sound inside itself, becoming a blur of texture and low-end blissed-out choruses. The final track, “French Sweet Sugar House,” brings back the trio and the assault is on the unknown, on the boundaries of rock, jazz, and free improvisation, all played with such mastery and toughness that it’s almost unbearable for 15 minutes. This is acid music. This is music as acid. This is acid as music. This is music.
– AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
This is the third collaboration between Acid Mothers Temple guitar guru Makoto Kawabata and LSD March fuzz wizz Michishita Shinsuke. “Maru Mankaru Shikaku” means “Circle Triangle Square,” the three words describing the figure appearing on the album cover. The album consists of two 20-minute improvisations featuring small percussion instruments (various gongs, cymbals, shakers, and singing bowls, mostly at the beginning of “Rock of Fate”) and an impressive array of traditional string instruments, from lute and hurdy-gurdy to sitar, bouzouki, and mandocello — an in-studio photograph of the musicians and their combined arsenal shows 14 string instruments, and not a conventional guitar among them. Both tracks are long, inner-searching pieces, rhythm-less and mostly tone-less. These are drones; quiet though not peaceful, as they are ripe with dissonances, full of delicate mood swings like moments of doubt and philosophical turmoil. The tracks are echo-drenched, but one can easily hear both musicians switch back and forth between instruments, constantly keeping the music moving forward in a sedate chaotic state, even though there’s no real momentum to speak of. This is meditative music, but here meditation is seen as a dynamic, uncertain process, not a new-agey beatific practice.Maru Mankaru Shikaku is one of Kawabata’s most artistically successful releases in this vein, and will appeal to fans of his Inui series. This album first came out in a stunning LP edition on Prophase Music, on white-spotted green vinyl in a thick gatefold sleeve.