Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Les Rallizes Denudes - Yodo-Go-A-Go-Go

Otherwise My Conviction / Valle De L'eau / Enter The Mirror / Smokin' Cigarette Blues / Flames of Ice / Field of Artificial Flowers / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night / Otherwise My Conviction (Version 2)

FE FI FO FUM - I smell a compilation album on 10th Avenue Freeze Out.

This thing was one of the first things by the band widely available a few years ago and as its a comp bootleg of a few of their best performances ill suss it out as to why this thing is still mandatory in the here and now given Phoenix's "re-issuing" of vast chunks of the catalog.

Now, I aint saying this thing is bad by any means - it just contains a lot of different choices then I would personally make about assembling something like this - the major glaring piece being TWO VERSIONS OF OTHERWISE MY CONVICTION. It was totally unecessary on the 67-69 cd and unnecessary on this - its just not that interesting to hear both in one listening.

Consider the rant over - now to the tunes . . .

Otherwise My Conviction starts it all off - here's what i said about it before on the 67-69 Et Live album " Mizutani giving us a punctuated yelped wave of Seeds style drive - a simple vocal hook with Mizutani yammering away up front of a surf style bouncing bass. There's even a simple tasteful fuzz solo in the middle of it all that reappears to lead out the track. Yet for all its apparent enterprise to be a single, its most appealing in its perennial looseness of rhythm and percussion instruments - emitting a stoned Amon Duul style feel it the midst of it all. A great unique (yet not for this cd) song." - funny how that still applies on this cd. I mean it IS a good song no doubt - but the doubling up is so uneccesary.

Next is Valie De L'au - a gentle picked ballad with gorgeous singing underneath a layer of tape hiss and the accompaniment on varied percussion and other guitars, gently fading into a loop by its end. Its a brilliant melancholy ballad that sounds as if it were on the Mizutani album.

Cut to Enter The Mirror in one of my personal favorite versions - a hazy sunday afternoon languid version as it starts with some wonderful Sterling-esque picking from Fujio on second guitar - this is most probably from the 1980/1981 timeframe - although it's mastered incredibly loud - when Mizutani jumps from gentle picked harmonic rays of reverb to the distortion by the end of the song - it feels as if the earth is splitting in two and he is playing white hot magma instead of the guitar - contrast is not the right word - it swallows the band whole inside its phase shifting convulsions - INCREDIBLE  13+MINUTE VERSION!

Smokin' Cigarette Blues is a masterpiece  - but on this particular compilation its mastered so low as to be a ghost of itself - to quote Nancy Kerrigan " WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" WTF? 10th Avenue Freeze Out. I cant imagine hearing it at this volumne not knowing any better as my first time experiencing the song - total limp wristed volume job guys . . .

Flames Of Ice is up next - with that same molten sound carried over from Enter The Mirror - I would postulate that its from the same show. Rumble-esque rhythm chords are pounded out by Fujio as Mizutani sweeps back and forth in his lava detection destruction device - the rhythm section keeping it grounded in mid tempo groove. Those ragged reverbed chords build in pummel until the earth opens up for Mizutani to scorch it again - AMAZING FUNK THIS BE!! Mizutani gets crazy with his effects towards the end until the whole band dives under the fadeout. Again a 17 minute version for the ages.

Field of Artificial Flowers is the MARQUE version as featured on Live 1973 (and Heavier Than A Death In The Family). Here's what i've said before: " what a scorched earth version this is. If you have doubts about this being their best rocker, put them aside as Mizutani and company GROOVE like no other on the intro stanzas, and then out of nowhere, after piercing the highest registers with his hyper treble distortion, the group slinks into an amazing CAVEMAN lock groove (imagine Yoo Doo Right on fire) that stomps its way down the island. Serious rare wah damage from Mizutani as he leads the march in face melting solos of white hot electricity until the bassist suddenly picks up the original groove, their spinal cords energized enough to belt out the final rock groove, Mizutani sounding like he absorbed enough energy to belt out the chorus to the highest mountain climbers. Unfortunately, as they pick up the lock groove again, the track fades out - argh. This is THE DEFINITIVE VERSION of Field, unlike any others with that caveman stomp and hyper treble frying electricity- such a great version." MANDATORY RALLIZES LISTENING.

Strong Out Deeper Than The Night is from Live 77 (Aka Tachikawa) " 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. " HOWEVER IT FADES OUT ONLY AFTER 2 MINUTES - AGAIN WTF? 10th AVENUE FREEZOUT!!!

And sadly, Otherwise My Conviction (Version 2) ends this thing in a wimper - the wimpier version of the song - woof.

So there it is - a seemingly well curated collection for the beginner or Rallizes expert - but botched in a few places - a few aggravating places.

If they had just cut out this thing down to:

Enter The Mirror
Smokin' Cigarette Blues (real LOUD version)
Flames of Ice
Field of Artificial Flowers

It would be perfect and unassailable - tis a shame.

Overall still get this for the Enter The Mirror and Flames of Ice alone - 7.5/10. - PD

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