Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Les Rallizes Denudes - Laid Down '76 Again

Disc 1: Memory is Far / Improvisation / Dream / Field of Artificial Flowers / Night of The Assassins / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night / Improvisation #2 / The Last One

Live June 22 1976 at Shibuya,Yaneura - an hour long set of their great second era.

(Rallizes eras according to me: atonal punque era 1967-1973, electric phoenix era 1974-1978, heavy psychic era 1979-1987, final era 1988-1997)

I got this as a bonus disc with the Volcanic Performance set, so im not sure on the specifics of personnel : probably Hiroshi Nar on bass, with somebody on (a really distant) drums.

This reasonably good quality live show starts in with the already started Memory Is Far , gentle and syrupy in its balladering, Mizutani singing out of tune, nothing too special in this version as it ends after only a few minutes.

Next is an Improvisation thats sounds like an outtake of Smokin' Cigarete Blues, free cymbals and repeat-o bass splatter as Mizutani wanders the electric phase shifter guitar jungle, Godz like in its dunce rock thud.

Dream fades in with a beautiful two note bass drone that drifts throughout the composition, hazy cymbals, Mizutani's guitar being the reverbed guiding light in the evil drone density. There is a heavy hanging air of suspense that envelops the song as it begins and builds in intensity, Mizutani barely an echoed whisper. (Sonic Youth wish they could be this engaging in guitar mist.) This is almost like a bizarro version of the Ocean, but instead of waves hitting the beach, we have pulsars hitting the night sky of your mind. Mizutani shows off his restrained sense of melodic and counterpointed echo guitar. Such a unique and evil track in the Rallizes canon. GREAT GREAT GREAT.

Filed of Artificial Flowers starts up, everything grooving in the super bassy oblivion. Not as hot as the 1973 version (what is?), but Mizutani is in fine singing form, and as they slink into the caveman groove, Mizutani cuts loose into a crusty chainsaw solo fighitng to cut through the uber-bassy rhythm, letting loose the ghosts of albert ayler and lou reed skronk into the moment. They rejoin the main thrust of the song with some slightly higher energy until Mizutani lets loose one of his UGLIEST guitar stabs, black sonic mud flying over everything, the guitar going through 40 different pedal changes until Mizutani finds the right sonic knife, slaying notes everywhere. A great long 12 minute version.

Night of The Assassins follows, shuffling in a slowed down tempo - all the better for it here - instead of sounding turgid, it sounds full of melodic purpose in the wake of Mizutani thrashings on Field.  Mizutani tips his tasteful cap during the solos, keeping down the noise - literally at one point his signal seems about to disintegrate until its plugged back into Full Volume and another flight of the guitar phoenix begins. Some bass flubs stall this version later on as it drags on to the almost 10 min. mark - nothing too special, a pretty good version.

Quick tape cut to Strong Out Deeper Than The Night -  a low key affair as well, although Miztani's guitar seems to have been mixed up proper again. Theres lots of galloping build towards the choruses in this one, until it slinks back again under the weight again of the bass riff or Mizutani's guitar explosions - all effects are full up and in the red. At least, until the bassist looses the riff which then cuts directly to . . .

Improvisation #2 with a driving 60's bass line that eventually brings the band back together in marching band style - Mizutani hitting the single note solo expressway - pure Deviants drive on this one, snare's a rat a tat tatting everyone onwards. Everything swooshes together to sound like a energy tunnel - Mizutani erupting at the entrance. This has a great long drive until it ends abruptly at a tape flip. A great Rallizes improv.

And then we fade into the weirdest SABBATH like version of The Last One i've ever heard (high energy style/tempo for the win!) - Hiroshi doing a great rapid note dive-bomb reinterpretation of the riff sounding like Geezer on speed, the drummer still keeping it martial on that snare and Mizutani soloing with a bazillion effects producing this trebly swirl echo screech - the audio mixer begins fading everything in at different times, leading to a seriously odd transition as the real death march begins in super slo mo down time - almost a feedback epitaph to the high energy just released into the atmosphere - Mizutani doing his best Nothing Song-esque droning dark notes and WAH damage  until the fadeout . But oh man, what a SPECIAL version of The Last One here - completely unique in the Rallizes Canon.

Overall this has a lot of great driving surprises (including some great atonal improvisations), weird Mizutani guitar effects everywhere and the gorgeous DREAM with a couple of numbers that fade out too early or stick around too long. A better editor could have made this an amazing album, but as it stands in scrunched completeness - 6/10 - PD

(Just imagine this track order after you play it:

Improv #1
Improv 2
The Last One)