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.
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