Sunday, June 26, 2011

Les Rallizes Denudes - Cable Hogue Soundtrack

Disc 1: Night Of The Assassins / Otherwise, Fallin' in Love With . . . / White Awakening / Flames of Ice + The Last One / The Last One

Disc 2: Feeling High / Fantastique / But I was Different / Field of Artificial Flowers / White Awakening / Night of The Assassins / Night of The Assassins

Cable, don't leave me here! Oh Cable Hogue, where ya been? (ok - ill stop the John Cale quotes)

Mizutani, you glorious mystery of a man - here you are given the chance to compile and present another winning argument for the LIFE AFFIRMING ENERGY of your sonic testaments in the form of a career spanning soundtrack to a documentary video SOLELY about how awesome your band is and spread over 2 cd's we have 3 Versions of Night Of The Assassins, 2 Versions of The Last One, 2 Versions of White Awakening and tape cuts, blurts, low fidelity everywhere . . .

Cable Hogue covers a lot of ground, with seemingly all performances centered around how awesome the solo within the songs are contrasted with the most achingly beautiful versions of Mizutani's best ballads. Theoretically, I should have watched the entire film instead of the clips i have seen on youtube forever to offer some compare/contrast, but until i snatch a boot dvd of it, thatll have to wait.

That being said, its hard to argue with Mizutani's Damon Edge/Faust Tapes approach throughout the record - I mean Mizutani I would have thought sequenced the 77 Live set with all the songs and tape flips that make that into such a cohesive energy statement - so perhaps here is a more natural (to Mizutani anyways) allocation of the Rallizes canon in his mindset.

Mizutani is joined in various lineups spanning a 25? year period by Nakamura Takeshi, Nagata Mikio, Shoda Shunichiro, Hiroshi Nar, Mimaki Toshirou, Takada Kiyohiro, Noma Yukimichi, and Takahashi Youkai. (So what this is saying is that Doronco (early-mid 80's bassman) and Fujio (early 80's rhythm guitarist) arent on the set - so no early 80's version - although with the sound qualities in flux throughout i would argue that there are late 80's/very early 90's versions on the set).

Disc 1 kicks off right in the middle of a high energy Night Of The Assassins (version 1), Mizutani launching into a phase shifted swirl of a solo after the scrunch of the tape edit. Some low fidelity especially on this version although with great bass sound that makes up for the lack of drums. Mizutani is in a lyrical mood while in outer space with his solos, bass and tambourine pumping along behind him until he spins his repeat-o riffs unto themselves as the song suddenly stops. A great abriged version.

Tape cut straight into perhaps the most beautiful of all Rallizes ballads, Otherwise Fallin' in Love With . . . , Mizutani arising from the tuning ashes to float above the clouds in reverbed guitar splendor, as the drums bring the backbeat and the huge whale of a bass descends in. Audience noise, tape garbles and the wind backup the band throughout the song. But oh the hazy drifting sunday vibe of a ballad this one is, Mizutani releasing his note perfect crystalline solos into the atmosphere between his most perfect coo-ing, bass shuffling between two Velvets chords into forever until the clouds collapse. So so so good - its hard to find a better 10 minute straight soloing section from any guitarist. My favorite version of any Rallizes ballad, gunk and all. For some reason the direct lead up to another jam starts, with Mizutani providing a Cinnamon Girl type coda intro  before a ripping Field of Artificial Flowers fades out after 1 minute into . . .

White Awakening (version 1), another ballad sounding like its from the same concert, similar to Otherwise . . .  but a different ballad altogether, the bass ascending and descending within the Velvet cloud as Mizutani implores in the yelping echo realm , guitar still in perfect fragile soaring beauty. Perhaps without the blurt of Field at the end of the previous track it would be too similar, but I cant really argue with the performance which is once again beautiful in its descent to tape hiss.

Tape flip/cut and we join into a high energy version of Flames of Ice, the ride cymbal high in the mix pumping it along for 30 seconds, before the band stops and directly reforms into The Last One (version 1). Two guitars are featured in this version, Mizutani rolling around in pure black noise behind that riff from the rhythm section until he intones his messages. The martial beat is uptempo in this version, the cymbals nice and high cutting through the guitar density, Mizutani cutting loose in Crazy Horse style glory until the song breaks down so that Mizutani can just explode in a phase shifted noise solo by himself for a couple of shattered minutes, full blackness into the headspace. The bass dares to reform the song after the earth parts and begins that death march again, Mizutani reclaiming the ashes of his distortion to provide lyrical mirrored end solos to siren like screeches within the mantra. The sonic desecration eventually breaks down into noise, with the bass threatening to jam the ending out until it falls apart to actual applause form the audience.

Fade into what else (after 24 minutes) but ANOTHER version of The Last One (version 2), and what a turgid appearance this one is in contrast, the march limping along into being. (As much as i respect his choices, this back to back compare contrast method of presentation was annoying enough when jazz cds were first reissued - this is a LISTENING experience, not a academic exercise, ugh - i mean what is this a throbbing gristle record?) The sound immediately gives us the clue that this is a late 80's performance, Mizutani especially sounding very solid-state. Now with all that being said, I CAN see why this was picked, as Mizutani takes a more Sharrock like sheets of noise sound approach to the guitar soloing, heavy on white noise and shattered clusters of notes - presenting a whole new FEEL - the guitar absolving everything in its excessive energy, threatening at points to destroy the amp. Pure noise until it literally falls apart into the amp hum universe.

So before we hit disk two, you can see from above we are going to get more compare/contrast segments - so grab that coffee or beer and here we go.

Disk 2 opens in pure Neu fashion with Feeling High, a rarity in Rallizes land, a higher fidelity studio jam with a catchy bassline, motorik drum beat and a super processed guitar (sounding like an early synth-guitar) from Mizutani climbing the repeat-o-walls in a great Rother style. What a refreshing short little jam, the catchy bass hook cycling in a circle until it suddenly stops and cuts out. Great great pop from Mizutani and Co.

Tape cuts to a high quality Fantastique, and oh what a FANTASTIC number this is as usual. Since Mizutani's formula is so effective in its iterations with the Rallizes Songbook, the more, er, organic built, for lack of a better term, numbers really give a sensation of freedom and drive. Built on a two note repeat-o bass riff and building drums, this jam follows a more Detroit approach to high energy rock in the purest Black To Comm variety, Mizutani exploring the phase shifted soundscape as the motorik beat increases, quick tape flip cuts to a an even faster building section until it suddenly drops out to a bass solo builds into Ice of Fire before suddenly dropping out into . . .

But I Was Different, another beautiful ballad (still in high quality) in purest New Age/Sweet Jane 1969 Live Versions mode, the bass descending languidly as Mizutani does some great Sterling Morrison style soloing over everything. Mizutani quietly intones towards the end as a tape cut happens before soloing us out again in restrained beauty until of course it drops out . . .

Tape flip to the megaton Field of Artificial Flowers, pumping its hard rock in high energy fashion, better in its low fi glory. What a groove on this version, like early Can driving a race car. Mizutani ripping the mind open with his manic destructo soloing during that amazing bridge, leaving nothing in his wake until the ending just impodes in high energy pile up and the mandatory tape cut. This competes with the 1973 version (to be assessed later) in ferocity.

Cut to White Awakening (version 2), even more laid back then the first version, but this is in higher quality, sounding 80's in its sonic range. Another great solo (as is the case of every track), but the performance seems rather perfunctory until it ends abrubtly. (Enter the Mirror or something could have been substituted for equal balladeering effect methinks).

Cut to the dual guitar excess of Night of the Assassins (version 2), both guitars soloing over the upbeat bass hook, Mizutani in tune in delayed stereo echo (or is this a studio version, his vocals could be double tracked?), hi-hat snapping away with disco fervor, catchy as can be. And lookout -  an Andy Mackay style SAX solo at the end? - so weird but satisfying. This really is a quite unique version and justifies its second coming on the set as we quickly fade out to . . .

Night of The Assassins (version 3) (what else would do?) started by Mizutani's guitar for a change of pace, definitely more late 80's/early 90's sounding and slightly less upbeat than the previous version. Mizutani is out of tune with both his guitar and voice on this version - although once that distortion kicks on, that kind of criticism falls away. Although its easier to deal with this song back to back because of its bass line, of all the choices on this set, this seems the oddest, since its not that interesting sonically or solo wise. It abruptly ends 2/3's through as Mizutani monotones in silence and amp hum until he brings it back with his rhythm guitar to have the rest of the band finish the song with him in feedback.

Another 2 disc workout of the sonic variety. Overall the set is strong but I personally wish there was a little more restraint on the doubling up of tracks, its cool, but there are y'know 40 or so songs in the  Rallizes songbook.

In an ideal curatorial move I would have laid this thing out as:

Disc 1:
Night of the Assassins (Version 2)
Otherwsie Fallin in Love With . . . 
Flames of Ice / The Last One (Version 1)

Disc 2:
Feeling High
But I Was Different
White Awakening (Version1)
Field of Artificial Flowers

As it stands though, this still has some rare tracks, some great high energy burners and THE BEST COMP of ballads (repetitions and all) that you can buy. Thanks to those bootleggers at Phoenix Records for making this available at a reasonable cost for once. Overall 7/10. PD

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