Bo Ningen – Bo Ningen (album, Stolen)

By turns visceral and ambient, Bo Ningen’s [trans: ‘Stick Men’] eponymous debut represents a remarkably accomplished first outing for this London-based Japanese quartet. Here, apparently, are one of the many bands who owe a great debt to the likes of Can and Cluster, but one of the few that possess the nous to pay it off via sheer creativity and verve. Opener, ‘4 Seconds To Ascension’ establishes the collective manifesto as the opening aural turbulence gives way to blocks of grinding, heavy garage rock that force their way through the solar storm generated by Yuki Tsujii and Kohhei Matsuda  across ten light years of strings. The thermaturge riffage is matched by Taigen Kawabe’s hysteric vocal, and the whole charged ball of plasma is grounded by a thunderous rhythm section. ‘Yurayura Kaeru’ extends this template, throwing spikes of coruscating acid psych across a shimmering heat haze of reverb, while a tectonic bassline prevents the entire throbbing pulsar spiralling off into a gravity well of its own making.

More dystopian is ‘Koroshitai Kimochi’ – a discordant and frantic opening holds sway until the afterburners kick in to resolve the number as something resembling a Kleenex/Hawkwind fusion. The superbly titled ‘Gasmask Rabbit’ offers a moment’s respite, creating space only to fill it with diaphanous echoplex phantoms. Then the freeform riffola detonates and were thrown across the heliosheath of a nascent galaxy. ‘Kage’ exists in these outer reaches, too – a grandiose vision of transuranic elemantalism, whereupon parsec spanning clouds of fuzz and flange scrape across a mesmeric bassline that sounds like the heartbeat of the cosmos.

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The Krautrock influence is especially evident in ‘Post Yokhai’ – a brooding backwoods slice of epic head music reminiscent of ‘Poptones’. Like PiL’s classic 1979 track, this unwinds into a laconically rolling evocation of a fecund yet windblown landscape. Just as hypnosis is setting in, the band accelerate toward a re-entry point before decompressing into a solo-laden acid-rock splashdown.

Possibly the outstanding track on offer, ‘Maguro (Rewind)’ pulses and vibrates in time with the music of the spheres, before anxious soloing and Hiroshi Kyono style vocals propel the number toward a conflict between blistering white dwarf fuzz and pounding red giant bass. Although many of the tracks on Bo Ningen explode into violent and thrilling soundstorms, ‘Yurayakana Ao’ demonstrates how the group can restrain and control their almost unlimited power. Combining classic Wire shimmer with Liebezeit rhythms to create a transcendent sound that inhales air and exhales beauty.

Beginning with a subtle teahouse intro and liquid sound effects that bring Cluster to mind, the epic 15 minute album closer ‘∆’ also, through Kawabe’s vocal, evokes the spirit of Damo Suzuki. After the meditative  opening, a kind of intense aural confusion sets in, the jazziness dropping away as the number gains intensity and insistence. After seven minutes, the Deep purple guitars are broken out and by ten, we’re in full blown spacerock mode. Again, the Solaris cycle is played out, as urgent voices from Mission Control crackle across the sonic solar winds, urging the track home. Finally, a slow deceleration, then Earthfall. Is it rising, son? It most certainly is.


Originally posted 2011-03-18 20:01:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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