Acid Mothers Temple
“La Balanguera misteriosa,
com una aranya d'art subtil,
buida que buida sa filosa,
de nostra vida treu lo fil.”
“The mysterious Balanguera
Like a spider of subtle art,
Emptying to empty her loom,
Removing the thread from our lives.”
For me seeing AMT again came at a moment when I had just gotten back into their music. They may be as prolific as ever, but this should not hide some important recent releases from the group.
I was in the toilet looking for paper to plug my ears when N’toko started. My first thought was that it was strange that the DJ had decided to put on a hip hop record for a rock crowd. When I came down the stairs I found Miha Blažič on stage to a near empty crowd. Blažič is a Slavian rapper also known as N’toko and vocalist for Moveknowledgement. A few minutes into the show and I was ready to forget any incongruences between his music and what was to come. Blažič is a brilliant performer and clearly a seriously intelligent guy. Several times Slovenian freestyle champion, he has also lived state side and now in Japan where he has learned Japanese and settled down into a strong relationship with local musicians. His appearance tonight was down to his sharing a European tour with next act Praha Depart. Blažič’s music is pure cut and paste mastery, shifting jaggedly and suddenly between styles in such a way as to catapult the rhythm forward in continuous unbalance. He raps over some tracks, sometimes English, other times Slovenian, on others he sings and samples his voice. The beats thrash and dart like fish, mostly hip hop, but then sculpting themselves into geometric IDM patterns and finally, for the crescendo, rushing conveys of four-four techno. It is like UK’s Rephlex label remixing the Anticon label To make it work, Blažičn needs a lot of movement and rapid thinking, which might explain his lean physique. His movements are deft and yet not practised, perfection isn’t necessary as he is quick enough to turn error into new texture or momentum. The crowd was heavy by the time he left the stage, but hopefully they didn't miss too much of an entertaining show.
Few bands have made such an immediate and positive impact on me as Praha Depart. Without ever having heard of the group or their music I couldn’t help but be blown away by their show. Hailing from Tokyo the trio consists of Junpei Yamamoto on drums, cutting a Reni-esque figure with his round spectacles and floppy fisherman’s hat; Tsukasa Kameya on guitar and somewhat reminiscent in style and sound to Ichirou Agata of Melt Banana; and Mai Yano the bass player and vocalist who is clearly the prism from which Praha Depart gathers its colours. Yano is the perfect performer. She is technically proficient on bass, tone perfect with her fiery voice, even at velocity or volume, and her charisma is blinding. She projects sexiness, intelligence and outsider fashion into a maelstrom of ferocity and power. The group’s music is jazz punk rock, drawing from John Zorn and Mike Patton while also harking back to the classic days of Japanese indie, such as the car crash instrument pile-ups and heavy riffing of Musica Transonic, the heavy haiku glyphs of Melt Banana and Otomo Yoshide’s Optical*8 project as well as the dark forces of groups like Shizuka and Fushitsusha. A brilliant spectacle live and with outstanding songs like “Dot” from their recent CD on Call and Response, you can only imagine and hope bigger things for them. Astounding.