Thursday, February 23, 2012
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?
UNIQUE TO THE MAX, BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!!!
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
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
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
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Disc 2: Strong Out Deeper Than The Night / Otherwise Fallin' In Love With You / Field of Artificial Flower / White Waking / A Memory is Far / Improvisation
Disc 3: Dream / Night of The Assassins / Field of Artificial Flowers / The Night Collectors / Flames of Ice / A Voice of Bird
Disc 4: Flames of Ice / Night of The Assassins / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (Part 1) / A Memory is Far / Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (Part 2)
Thanks to those good bootleggers at Phoenix, we have this interesting to say the least early career spanning (1974-1980) set of four live shows - a Rallizes appetizer combo plate of a set.
Now im not going to speculate the hows or whys of this package originally on Univive was conceptually put together - the sound quality ranges from fair to fairly good on all the dates - all the shows having very good bits and some odd clunkers and tape flutters to say the least. I can only basically assume its meant to be a sophomore Rallizes fan's first deep initiation purchase - all good to great shows but nothing of the sustaining spectacular variety.
This has taken a few listens to get into - admittedly the first track on the first disk put me off of this thing for a while (a couple months to be exact) - real slop-o Rallizes (sub-Godz like in its execution - more on that later).
Enough intro splat you say - we'll lets dive in!
Disc 1 is from 7/13/1974 at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo - Mizutani, a rhythm guitarist, probably Hiroshi Nar on bass and a really decent drummer - almost 74 minutes in its length. The booklet that comes with the set has Moshe Idel of Toledo, Spain describe this set as "a fabulously aggressive performance" - I guess Moshe had some strong drinks before writing that as this is a fairly laid back set from Rallizes - really the start of their Electric Phoenix era (1974-1978) in my book - its barbed wire but CENTERED, whereas the truly wild Rallizes on their initial punque era are far left of center. He even goes so far to compare this to the Guitar Amp Tape version of Sister Ray - MOSHE WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? C'MON DUDE! Yes, there are some awesome solos but the band just aint that together man - its a transition year.
This seems to be an audience recording due to the chatter and hand clapping occasionally making an appearance throughout. This has the highest guitar highs of all the discs along with the lowest lows.
Field of Artificial Flowers stumbles in so mightily drunk (which is what stalled my earlier attempts - hotdog being thrown down a hallway loose - get me?) - but for an early show this is pretty good fidelity - drums front and center although not especially driving on this version, the bass is prominent and the second out of tune guitar also audible. Mizutani sounds pissed - so pissed he's taking it out on his amp - a real ugly nasty fuzz on his solos leading the plod. The yell/shouted vocals give way about halfway though to the some really manic WL/WH Lou Reed-isms from Mizutani as the rhythm section finally starts to drive this thing into overdrive - eventually Mizutani's guitar becomes pure white heat until it falls apart as loosely as it came in.
Some garbled drip and drops until the rare Inside Heart strums in, a tough ballad if that makes any sense - a stoic Crazy Horse-esque force building in intensity until Mizutani steps on the awesome pedal and sends out those perfect solo notes that drift and melt away far above the metaphysical planes - burning the metals until he returns to the sacred strum of the verses again. A whooshing is heard throughout perhaps the second guitarist doing some Roxy Music-Eno style live manipulations with a phase-shifter? Wouldn't put it past them. Nor should you. Mizutani solo's the song to an end of feedback and some (gasp) mild applause and chatter?
Otherwise Fallin' In Love With You comes in all cloying and bright - upbeat in tempo compared to later versions. Mizutani is delightfully in tune and strumming like Hackamore Brick - there's even some fans clapping in time !!! WHAT! CROWD APPROVAL! WHOA! Mizutani takes the first solo all inside Sterling-esque (everything is an esque in my world). The tape speeds seems to be fluctuating which sends this minutely out of tune for sections - kinda like being drowsy but not asleep. The second solo from Mizutani loosens up and gets more out and noisy until it falls apart.
Angel comes strumming in way out of tune next - the rhythm guitarist flubbing chords - it takes about a minute for this one to come together ( in the purest MC5 sense - RIP Mike Davis) - about two minutes in Mizutani decides to take over and just stomps on the destructo box - SOLO TIME MUTHAFUGGERS!!! - it pretty much drowns out the rhythm guitar and just rises above the incompetence. Eventually, Mizutani comes in to tell us of his angel before taking flight again. Some really beautiful playing before the song falls apart again.
Whoops! Here we go again with Otherwise Fallin' In Love With You - a second set version? I guess no one will know - maybe Mizutani just had a perverse sense of humor - playing endless versions of the same ballad in the same set . . . This version is about as together and enjoyable as the first version but much shorter and falls apart in about half the time.
You Were Known comes gently strumming in - another manly tough ballad - reminiscent of Killer era Alice Cooper for some reason. Behind the tough tight rhythm section Mizutani cuts loose his second best solo of the night - truly stretching in its totality from tonal to atonal and back again - really killer speed freak guitar which pushes the rhythm section to drive it on home - an Oh Sweet Nuthin with Lou on guitar instead of Doug - until the whole thing drops out on tape.
At over 20 minutes, The Last One is appropriate enough here - the whole band starting in great unison with some great additional listenable feedback from Mizutani who is yelling out his story to whoever is brave enough to keep listening. Almost from the get go he is simmering with his best wild strummed solos - breaking into atonal single notes stabs as he leaves the rest of the band behind - really jaw dropping work as he ascends and descends the guitar neck - perhaps his most busy fretwork on record in my memory ( I will contradict myself in the future - rest assured). About halfway in the rhythm section attempts to jam it in a different direction but Mizutani kills it with stabs of feedback - there is a brief jazzy jam with the drummer which erupts the volcano of Mt. Destruction until the thick skulled among them bring back THE RIFF - Mizutani is really vocally pissed and expressing it! He steps into the final solo to end all solos - even with the tape drop outs and garbles this is really awesome mind expanding HIGH ENERGY ROCK - Mizutani screeching into the atonal beyond dragging the band back after 2 false endings into free splatter - definitely a top tier The Last One.
Disc 2 - is from 10/01/1975 at Shibuya Adah in Tokyo. Its Mizutani, a rhythm guitarist, probably Hiroshi Nar on bass and another very competent drummer. This recording sounds more like a soundboard recording than the '74 show - at half the length too. Moshe Idel describes this as being "more overtly psychedelic" than the '74 show - I don't really know what that means in this context - there is some slight echo in the drums I guess. If anything this is more Robitussin than the previous gig . . . songs are always wanting to fall apart. Perhaps the least affecting disk in the box.
We fade into the previously begun Strong Out Deeper Than The Night - the band is tighter than it was about a year earlier - Mizutani's guitar is in flight in a better balanced mix with all instruments on a level playing field. Mizutani wafts in after his solo - upfront and in tune - deep in the vocal pocket as bursts of feedback and hiss pervade the song. About six minutes in they do this feedback gap where the band hits back in after a few seconds which really shows how deep into their groove they had developed by this point. This is a good slow burn version of the song which unsurprisingly tape cuts right into . . .
Otherwise Fallin' in Love With You - which happens to have the same intro guitar chord which is really confusing after the tape cut . . . This version is much more laid back in execution than '74 - there is a simpatico relationship between the roles of all the instruments - although its no Cable Hogue version, its very nice - tasteful soloing throughout by Mizutani until it falls apart.
Field Of Artificial Flowers rumbles in in mid-tempo anger (Rallizes don't get good at starting songs until a bit later) - all swagger on this version - the drumming being especially good. Mizutani is machismo in his delivery - until he unleashes the beast of electric thunder notes. The bass is very in the pocket in comparison to other versions which provides a more Seeds-esque rock groove that really pumps the drummer's violent fills and cymbals - a really powerful version from the ensemble until it cuts off.
White Waking comes strummed in - a nice version with a relatively laid back solo from Mizutani - nothing too special.
A Memory Is Far screeches in next through waves of feedback from both guitarists - to reveal its balladeering jaunt into the gooey sweet romantic center of Mizutani's mind. Mizutani is pleading in his delivery, Dylan-esque in its almost snotty whine. The band almost looses the song about three and a half minutes in but recovers to let Mizutani soar for a bit on guitar in the ether. Again nothing too special until it cuts out.
An Improvisation closes the set out - and what a weird high energy rocker it is - echo blasts from both guitars against a driving 60's bass riff - similar to the Laid Down '76 improv - really awesome skronk going through multiple tape transfers until it unfortunately cuts out - (WHY??????) So damn frustrating to dip your toe into the eye of a storm and to not have it electrically removed by a guitar shark . . .
Disc 3- is from 7/22/1977 at Maison Franco - Japonaise in Tokyo , a few months after their masterpiece was recorded that year (Live '77). There is a good amount of tape hiss that pervades this set as well as some serious weirdo background noises from effects boxes and otherwise. It appears to be a three piece, Mizutani with Hiroshi Nar on bass and an energetic drummer. This is the second most consistent show of the box - it should be up there as 1977 was definitely a high water mark for Rallizes.
We enter with weirdly pitched tape garbles until the Dream arrives - one of my favorites in any configuration. Two note bass drone as Mizutani floats above in solo heaven - cymbals calling from another country. Mizutani's vocals are phase shifted into oblivion - robot laser Mizutani is more accurately singing, whispering into the feedbacking void as single notes pierce the swooshing veil. It pulses along its path until abrupbtly ending.
Night of The Assassins starts up all upbeat and bouncy. Those robot vocals are seemingly going to stick around the whole set, so I guess we should get used to them. Behind the undulating tape hiss, Mizutani delivers some great solos between vocal sedan deliveries. A really good particularly driving upbeat version with a great outro solo.
Field of Artificial Flowers stumbles into being in a mid tempo haze - Mizutani taking his time at the bridge to start his solo - more deliberate in his phrasing - recalling Larry Wallis at points. Not as driving as other versions but also 5 minutes long.
Field feedback segues directly into The Night Collectors which picks up the pace as it grooves along, Mizutani picks up on the drive and leads them into a high energy tom tom groover, letting loose on some feedback drenched surf solos from Mars - exploding back into the main groove stronger than ever. High High Energy!!
Feeding off that energy that start into particularly swinging high energy Flames Of Ice with great phased soloing from Mizutani to start it off - only vocally intoning sporadically to contrast the amp destruction engrossing the room - jabbed at chords and detuned bridges fighting the fleet fingered skronk points hitting the atmosphere. The rhythm keeps building and building as Mizutani lays it down - even Keiji Haino was cowering in some shadow of the stage, waiting for his day as skronk king to come. Truly pulsars of guitar hemorrhage swallowing misery whole - Mizutani ends this version on his lonesome slashing out chords for the echo eternity. If there is a "manic" version of Flames of Ice this is it - 14 minuites of caveman abandon.
A Voice Of Bird (aka Cry of Bird) starts with some tuning and tape flips until the sad ballad begins in earnest - Mizutani delicately solo's us into the song - the bird flying above as bass swims below. Hushed vocals are as delicate as the guitar until it erupts between the gentle verse strums and feedback. This is one of the best downer ballads in the Rallizes songbook given a beautiful reading here - its first since the late sixties i believe and a fitting way to end the set - awash in the tape hiss and phase shifters . . . as we hear voices in the distance that mutate into tape flips and random soloing from Mizutani until we fade out.
Disc 4: is originally a bonus disc in the set - from 11/ 07/1980 at Kanagawa University. As tends to be the case, this show is the best fidelity of the bunch as its from a much later date. It features the awesome line-up of Mizutani, Fujio Yamaguchi on second guitar (lending that tasty two lead interplay version of Rallizes), Doronco Gummo on bass and some guy on drums. This show is also the most consistent show in the box and a long one at 72 minutes.
Flames Of Ice starts up from the lowest register of the bass with a true menace to it - Mizutani and Fujio in dueling guitar splatter splendor - trading electric stabs between the confident vocals. This version like most of the 80's material is about the deep cut groove, the bass front and center in the mix. Prickly guitars crawl around the jam, Mizutani's abstract with tasty blues licks from Fujio - imagine for a minute a shadow-world evil Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith slinging atonal barbs at the MC5's most out - guitars oppose then meet, repelling off their harmonies into discordant feedback laced malevolent simmers. A sixteen minute meditational funk of the highest psychic order.
Next Nights Of The Assassins leads in with both guitars ascending into atonal bliss mountains as they tune up - Mizutani give a final blast of white noise and then Doronco drops the modified bass riff , moderately downtown subway tempo style. The band builds it up, Fujio embellishing the chords with bluesy scales - Mizutani is confident and in tune as he tells his story into his echo world. Both guitarists restrain themselves, dancing around the edges of the song (in a Quicksilver sense) until Mizutani lets it loose at the fourteen minute mark with Fujio responding with Sterling style riff bombs. After about sixteen minutes it falls apart into amp drone as the taper fiddles around a table and the guitarists tune up again - 2 minutes of concrete waiting that yells for an editor . . .
Finally we ease into Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (Part 1) - gentle strumming giving way for a truly narcoleptic trance of a song. Everything is gently gliding by with Mizutani guiding us via intonation - he continually lets loose gorgeous solos, flying above Fujio's grounding chords before returning to his intonations again - occasionally both guitars even ascending to the spaceways. Really lush and aching version with Mizutani leading the final outro solo. Great Long version.
Following on the heals is A Memory Is Far - slinking in the same fashion as Strong Out . . . even the chords are similar enough to through me off, gliding into a baked ether, although the tape quality seems to continually degenerate for some reason, some nasty distracting audio fuzz starting around the 11 minute mark and growing until the song ends - a real bummer.
And the bummer continues as they start Strong Out Deeper Than The Night (Part 2) - hugely distracting tape fuzz overcomes the track - (HEY PHOENIX HOW ABOUT NOT PUTTING THIS TRACK ON HERE GADDAMMIT!) - Although its REALLY unlistenable until about 2 minutes in, I promise if you fight through it you get to a radically different version of Strong Out (although it could be taken as a jam) - a slowly grinding jam - gone off all traces of beauty we have a stranded at a late night midwest gas station motor riff condensed into terse statement of factory made desolation. Five notes combusting in the night with Mizutani pleading into his echo mind for sanity. The duel guitars screaming into space, building the creepy crawly tension until it of course fades out mid song - bummer.
So overall, this is a purchase for the initiated Rallizes connoisseur - Disc 1 having some manic guitar displays contrasting the drunk band, Disc 2 being the runt of the litter, Disc 3 having some manic jamming and energy and Disc 4 having the best overall and unique performance but also having those awful sound gurgles towards the end.
Individually i'd rate them as:
Disc1 - 1974 - 7/10
Disc 2 - 1975 - 5/10
Disc 3 - 1977 - 6/10
Disc 4 - 1980 - 8/10
All around its a 6.5/10. - PD