Thursday, February 23, 2012

Les Rallizes Denudes - Mizutani 2 With Association Love Songs

Disc 1: Memory Is Far / The Last One '70 / You Were Known / Cry of Bird / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night / Diza Star / Field of Artificial Flower /Romance Of Black Grief

Disc 2: Memory Is Far / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night/ Flames of Ice / Night of The Assassins / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (Part 2)

Disc 3: Improvisation / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night /  Romance Of Black Grief / Memory Is Far #1 / Memory Is Far #2 / Field Of Artificial Flowers / Flames of Ice / Night Of The Assassins

A 3-disc set on Univive, this set comprises a roughly similar era (1973-1980) as Great White Wonder except this one deals with studio/practice jams in addition to the live damage. The sound quality overall is better than Great White Wonder set, with the early tracks being taken from various gigs and therefore better curated (to a point).

Disc 1: Subtitled " From Mizutani Selection Reel 1973-1975" which is supposedly Mizutani's own greatest performances from that time period - sounds tasty to me! The sound quality is very bright and has good range  considering the age of the performances, there are tape gurgles and flips and random cuts to end the songs as usual. These appear to all be live versions, with a decent amount of tape hiss.

It starts with a gentle folky version of Memory Is Far, a good quality version for so early in their recorded career (tape hiss and noise notwithstanding). Mizutani appears to be with just a (prominent) drummer, and its a gently swinging version that this one is - just a simple folky rhythm and backbeat as Mizutani tells his gooey love story - la de da ing himself to a close. Very Nice.

Quick tape tape flip to The Last One '70 and lets make it clear right here that this is an entirely different beast than the normal The Last One - THAT RIFF isnt present yet - this jam is a more lysergic Quicksilver/ 69 Velvets thing than THAT RIFF is. Mizutani leads us in with some fractured soloing interspersed with feedback over a languid groove of a rhythm guitar, bass and drums. Mizutani steps back from the guitar slingin to start his rising pleading wail to the heavens - a more dramatic Herion-style bellow ebbed to and fro - he knows just where he is going.  About 7 minutes in he detonates his distortion and we are off in particularly atonal single note Reed-isms until it manages to cut off - bummer . . . Really great organic early Rallizes JAM.

You Were Known starts off in a beautiful echo world, notes glistening across your ears as a distant rhythm guitar is heard trying to peek through the haze - yet just as we think it might do so - WHAMMO distorto echo tsunami hits. After extinguishing his nickel wound fire, the song kicks in proper with the band (rhythm, bass+drums) joining in, Mizutani now trading echo solos with his strained voice. The band is pretty together behind the echo onslaught, keeping this a hazy drift into the oceans of night (tape cuts aside.) I can see why Mizutani picked this one - total RAMPAGE on his part - untill it cuts right off. ARRRGHHH, MIZUTANI you perverse tape cutting bastard. EPIC.

Cry of Bird gently ushers itself in with a full band arrangement with huge droning bass threatening to take over the track at any moment. Some whispy guitar lines punctuate the passages between the vocals from Mizutani, who is also happening to also sing very in a very reverbed yearning style. A beautiful 6 minute meditation.

Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (melodic version) starts up - a tight together opening and good run through. A decent version.

Tape cut to TOTAL ROCK ABANDON of Diza Star - drums are pumping in 4/4, Mizutani is loosing it on guitar, the bass is pounding a sub-troggs riff into the ground - THIS IS LIFE ALTERING HIGH ENERGY RIGHT HERE KIDS - total wipeout - (Diza Star is always sooooooooooooo Doghead). The energy just keeps RISING AND RISING AND RISING - until cutting out after 3 minutes - FUNK!!!

This starts another weirdo improv jam - feedback guitarist in addition to Mizutani with some wild effects engaged are jamming something weird between the rhythm section - bass feedback and tape flips making this Faust like. Everyone settles in for another pumping groove, phase shifters going off like car alarms until it suddenly becomes Field of Artificial Flowers - which apparently we entered at the bridge with here. It chugs in overtly bassy throb until it falls apart at the 5 minute mark. Even as a third of the song I like it.

Quick cut to Romance of Black Grief, again with the giant farting bass of death leading the ballad. Mizutani sounds like he is playing through an AM/FM clock radio behind the overwhelming bass on this track. Mizutani is thankfully in tune and making up for the bass dominance, singing sweetly - until it cuts off in the middle of the verse. I guess our 50 minutes were up . . .

Disc 2: was recorded on 12/13/1980 at Hosei University - its also written on the back cover that this is the incomplete soundboard master for Rallizes experts to label everywhere. Its Fujio years which means its Mizutani, Fujio Yamaguchi on second guitar, Doronco Gummo on Bass and some guy on drums. This is almost an hour long set, so i imagine about 20-30 minutes are missing . . . especially with all the fades that happen to the songs before the listener is done with them. FRUSTRATION!

Shockingly, Memory Is Far starts out this set as well, fading into the desolation of a university theatre loaning its soul for the event. Mizutani is echo mixed front and center in a well balanced mix with a nice bass feel - Fujio is embellishing the song with his tasty Sterling-esque licks. Its the 80's deep cut treatment for this one - swaying in its dream-state. Almost 5 minutes in, Mizutani lets loose his thunder solo of Neil Young-style ecstatic melodic destruction - Fujio occaisionally trading some licks here and there - until we return to the song proper - unfortunately it fades out gently after 8 minutes. Bummer.

Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (melodic version) starts up after the quick fade - both guitarists adding some angular stabs before submitting to the bass melody. Mizutani sounds strong belting out the lyrics as Fujio adds some surf guitar stabs to the proceedings between comping chords - they even get into some wonderful atonal dueling solos between verses. At 13 minutes this is a decent version.

Flames of Ice starts off in some different fumbling time signatures until everything collides together and Fujio and Mizutani ascend to the atonal clouds. Mizutani is strong again behind the mic - his words echoing to the pissed distance. Fujio reigns it in as Mizutani lets it loose, comped chords giving way to scabrous white lights of the overdriven universe against the shouted vocals. The cat and mouse of the jam finally falls apart for no reason around the 8 minute mark.

A high tempo Night of The Assassins kicks in next, Mizutani coating the song with atonal icing, shouting out the words with punky snarl. A great groove in the high tempo of this version, Mizutani sounds like he's activating a chainsaw every time he takes off into flight - that upwards buzzing of skronk that is surprisingly restrained here. Chugging along like a 70's street pimp towards his nights collection, the swaggering bounce propels this for much of its 12+ duration and ending on a weird vocal cue from Mizutani . . . . Fade Out to . . ..

Fade in to Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (Part 2) (atonal slinky spider version) - and what a racket this one be - making a fool of the melodic version beforehand. All menace and wagging of the electric middle feedback finger - you just KNOW you're in for a great skronk ride in this monolithic tank! Dual feedbacking howls scout the landscape as the tank drives forward - Miztani eventually opening the hatch to yell out his warnings to the souls healthy enough to stare back at him. This is a heavy groover and they just keep it up up up until after 14 minutes it fades out . . . .  Dammit incomplete source - you tease!

Disc 3 - Demo Recording 1976 - what i would assume to be a demo of songs . . . in a studio . . . or more likely a rehearsal pad. Almost 70 minutes of demos . . . they could be great or

This disc begins with a true shocka! an Improvisation already in progress. A weird dub-like bass with some drums breaking beats, Mizutani playing over some SYNTH squeals -  definitely a weird atmosphere - sounds like a future Laswell production until the tape cut - to just synth and echo guitar chasing each other around the jam space, panning over each other into weird Sun Ra-like ambiance until after seven minutes of weirdness it suddenly fades out - UNIQUE and INTERESTING.

Cut right to Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (melodic version) - nice and tight at the intro - sounding more 80's than mid 70's but i can't really be sure - two guitars, bass and up front drums. Although the rhythm team messes up the changes in the song, this one goes along fairly straight ahead, nothing special really.  For a demo its pretty loose, but not in a good way and goes on a long long time at 10+ minutes until a strange quick fade out into . . .

Romance Of Black Grief which ups the ante of tape hiss and hidden guitars, switching the instruments in the stereo spectrum - Mizutani's vocals bleeding into microphones  across the room. Its a decent version with Mizutani eventually leading a good solo that almost cuts through the tape hiss - did i mention TAPE HISS on this one - oh, ok - tape hiss - pretty standard fare though its fades out in the middle again . . .

Another version of Memory Is Far (#1) starts in with Mizutani stretching his crooning capacities as they sway into the song. Again a typical performance outside although they almost drop the song via flubbed chord changes a couple of times. Mizutani starts a solo and then a sudden tape cut around the 5 minute mark goes into a solo weird electric piano doing almost "Memories" from CATS or something very similar - WTF? It fades out into . . .

Memory is Far (#2) already in progress which sounds about as average as the previous take, although it gets progressively sloppier as it ambles along - about 4 minutes until it fades out . . .

Fade into Field of Artificial Flowers, and things seem to be getter better finally - the stoned bass groove is going down a deep road - Mizutani cutting loose with a phased solo sputtering out in all directions - surviving the tape cuts and ascending the heights of the studio walls - wailing on for the remainder of the track - its a glorious example of Mizutani saving the day by choosing to disintegrate the half-hearted backing band by sending out his pure energy to levitate the track above the normal - pulling the drummer out of the doldrums to jam it out with him descending into weird altered zones of feedback improv with the second guitarist trying to keep something together with some bizzarro effects. Somehow the rhythm section reconnects to return to the groove with Mizutani obliging with the stoned lyrics and verse again until it resolves and fades out - A MAGICAL 17 MINUTE VERSION.

Although im spent, on comes a deep groove version of Flames of Ice - early Sabbath heavy and Mizutani making his guitar solos sounds as if they born purely out of reefer . . . psycho phased tantrums of guitar surround the ghost story unfolding (why do i always get so blown away by Flames of Ice . . . ) as the netherworld collapses seven steps behind him - this is mindfunk of the highest order!!!! It burns everything clean until the unfortunate 9 min fadeout in the middle of a verse again . . . TOTAL BUMMER

Night Of The Assassins leads in with dual feedback - uptempo and rolling - even extra tambourine!!! WATCHOUT! - MIZUTANI IS DOUBLETRACKING HIS VOCALS!!!! WHERE AM I???????????????????????????????????? This is THE studio version - high and tight with dueling solos from the two guitars - feedback searing underneath throughout the persistent bass melody. HOLD THE PHONE THERE'S A SAX SOLO (ANDY MACKAY STYLE) AT THE END!!!!!!!!!!! WHERE AM I?????????????? Its SEX BOMB BABY 5 years early!!!!!!!!!!! This could be THE underground extended-play single of 1976  if it was made- who even sounded like this?


So to wrap it up - the first disc has some killer selections but suffers from tapes running out, the second disc is a good but frustrating 1980 deep cut performance and disc 3 has some very unique highpoints bookending the studio plod - cant anything be easy in the Rallizes universe?

Its worth the hunt for the unique elements of the 3rd disc and the strength of the first, the second disc is kind of anonymous for that period, but i feel that the concert is better captured on December's Black Children. 


Disc 1 - 1973-75: 8/10
Disc 2 - 1980 : 6/10
Disc 3 - 1976 Studio : 7/10

Overall : 7/10 - PD

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