Monday, June 13, 2011
Les Rallizes Denudes - Le 12 Mars 1977 A Tachikawa (aka '77 Live)
Disc 2: Strong Out Deeper Than The Night / The Night Collectors / The Last One
Here we begin with the alpha and omega of the Rallizes Universe - my (and probably your) first introduction to the band - rightly considered their white hot masterpiece of synapse exploding destructo-rock - recorded almost 10 years into their anti-career.
This 2-cd album is a bootleg of their original '77 live 2cd set that was self-released in 1991. The band on this release is Takeshi Mizutani - Lead Guitar/Vocals, Nakamura Takeshi - Rhythm Guitar, Hiroshi Nar - Bass, and Mimaki Toshirou - Drums.
Here their career template of Velvety-chord junk ballads paired with the screaming onslaught of pure white noise rockers and dirges is laid out and what a magnificent combo platter it is - the passion with the violence as Brotzmann would say - the heated blown out rock leads following monolithic bass lines as a yelping ancestor moans from beyond the feedback, reminding the drummer down the hall that time needs to still be kept in this vortex.
The sonics of this record define the band as much as the playing does - hissing, white hot treble in a reverberated world of echo and icy cool bassline bottoms with drums keeping a simple beat. Amplifier hum is a not-so-secret band member playing at 11 in the background at all times. The bass in every song is left as a whale-sized hooked anchor within the composition, driving the racecar in the rockers, tapping the mainline for the ballads, providing the monolithic repetition that carries us under into their IN THE RED domain.
Songs performed by Rallizes are performed in a very singular way - they almost have more to do with jazz composition sometimes due to their open ended interpretation for improvisation within the song - really any Rallizes song can go for 4 min to 400 minutes if needed - there is an overall sense of LOOOSENESS that surrounds them, which speaks not to their talents as players, but as an ideological viewpoint of letting the song be a repository of energy for that particular performance. As they had a bad allergy to studios for some reason, its a incredible that they were able to have such variety performance-wise to express something different each time while working within a somewhat small palette.
(It is important to remember that Rallizes are a sonic OVERLOAD of a band - there energy is a lot to deal with sometimes - although they never play incredibly fast the sheer DENSITY of their sound can be energizing or taxing depending on your mood - just a heads up)
Enter the Mirror starts this off, wake and baking itself in Velvets chords until Mizutani's guitar becomes functional enough to join the ballad (a smacked out Heroin Being Your Mirror), following the sparse rhythm work with his lyrical leads, weaving lines between singing until the tension builds to a truly explosive end solo that hundreds of guitarists wish they had the psychic stamina to produce - hearing it for the first time burned an indelible mark and perhaps defines in my addled brain THE sound of his guitar playing for all future comparisons.
(Note: Mizutani is a unique psychic warrior guitarist - using only his hands (nope, no picks) to project an unruly beauty of ascension and destruction at the same time within the heat of the electricity. A man with truly superhuman spinal fluid unleashing his leads without care of the fabrics of time he is melting - succeeding as the true apprentice to Lou Reed's unholy I HEARD HER CALL MY NAME solos married with a lyrical "somehow hit the right note" ability of young Neal Young - but with a TIMING all his own - heard once, you'll know what i mean.)
Night Of The Assassins gently follows in its mid-tempo march (Little Peggy March that is). This is a key song in Rallizes repertoire, a bouncy rocker that gets played at various tempos throughout their career at almost every set. I wouldnt call it their theme song per say- but its a definitely a "beginners taste" within their songbook - can you take the catchy 50's pop bass bounce (with a massive hook to boot) with the hot noise breakdowns? Ill always say "more please". This is perhaps my favorite (mid-tempo) version with Mizutani giving it a particularly great phase shifted stun solo treatment - its so loud it garbles the tape at some point about 2/3rds through (a reoccurring value within the set)- and ends in a great clipping wall of noise (kinda like John Cale's LOOP flexi from the VU era).
Quick tape flip/smash/blurt and the monolithic mound of Flames Of Ice sets the speakers into a pulsing white haze - here is one version of how Rallizes "rocks" - up tempo circular repeat-o bass iceberg set on fire with atonal gasoline guitar blare with (finally) audible caveman drum pounce that Mizutani only vocally interjects occasionally to deliver his words of reckoning into the echo vision circling your ears. A truly SWIRLING head space in this one - instruments fighting each other within the mix until everything implodes in screeching feedback.
Blurt/tape splice and we begin the climbing beauty of A Memory is Far (aka Distant Memories) - Nar's beautiful climbing bass pattern following perhaps Mizutani's best ballad singing in the set (certainly his loudest for some reason in the mix - Mizutani's vocals are perhaps the point of argument most of the time in regards to listenability for some people, although i have no problem with his austere off kilter dead pan paeans, I can see their difficulty to some ears - power through it folks, itll hit you right eventually). Mizutani takes some beautiful leads within the song, but this is mainly a vehicle for his poetry (although i have no idea what he is saying) - you can just hear the LONGING in his voice. Every instrument at this point has maxed out of reverb for some reason lending it a special WASHED quality as the ballad drifts off into the island ether.
Switch the cd's - take a 5 minute breather for the next set or don't ( am i wrong to assume this is two sets from that night? - at least in my head it is considering the length of this record - thats one hell of a long single set considering 1977).
Sexy slinky Strong Out Deeper Than the Night begins and builds in creepy crawly intensity to its vocal hooks and guitar meltdowns - the bass diligently walking in psychic sound circles only to get sucker-punched and have to immediately recover. There is a real sense of BOTH guitars letting loose during the solos into a molten feedbacker glory that finally appears on this particular jam - almost cutting out the recording completely at certain points until it melts out indefinitely.
Building drums pound out the intro to The Night Collectors - a relatively rare straight up rocker in the Rallizes canon (and a rarely performed one at that), an almost 4/4 rock out with drums leading the charge for once (kind of like a really disoriented Hawkwind caught in a feedback tunnel) as Mizutani lets the echo guitar go into atonal flight until a nasty bass jam brings it up to White Light/White Heat-like coda frenzy freak out of electronic malevolence (think Sharrock jamming with Mo Tucker) until energy is imploded - (a personal fave song i wished they jammed more at concerts).
Duh duh duh - duh duh, DUH, da de dum- The Last One - THAT riff - a dirge to swallow New Orleans whole - sonic absolution. The traditional set closer in the Rallizes songbook for some reason. One descending guitar/bass unison riff decayed until the out of tune guitars consume the entire recording around you in the white light of electricity caught in the smoke of melted speaker wires. Mizutani extols through you his words until he decides to just say it with the currents in his fingers. The tape loses volume and garbles at various points in the song which makes you think that the air was temporarily imploded in Tachikawa that night - the jam falls into static half way through as the amplifier hum takes a mighty solo before beckoning the feedback to feast on itself and reverberate into silence.
The overload, the energy, the beauty, passion, longing and violence. Les Rallizes Denudes taped a particularly amazing live show and released it 14 years later to little fanfare and many years after that it stands as a true visionary example of heavy central nervous system energy music.
Go buy it at a local record shop or Forced Exposure - 10/10 - PD