Gorgeous, hazed out trip through ethereal, ghostly guitar bliss captured live in 2010 courtesy of otherworldly Japanese psychonauts Suishou No Fune, eschewing anything remotely heavy or damaged in favor of sweet and elongated astral wandering. Like their psychedelic brethren, Suishou No Fune are capable of universe-quaking intensity when they want, channeling the awesome power of regret and a palpable sense of the unknown into something infinitely larger than the space hoping to contain it; here that intensity is dialed down and reworked into four pieces that are yearningly fragile, gentle, soothing and exploratory. The record reads like magic, grasping your hand tight as it flies you through spaces and pockets of reality carved out from the night, the stuff of stars and heavenly light glaring off your eyes and holding you close in its luminous embrace.
There's a warmth that permeates "Bonsai No Le," and it's not just from the pillowy washes of fuzz guitar that coat the songs like acid-drenched molasses. It comes from the intimacy of the performance, a naked and spectral communication between artist and audience that leaves nothing obscured. Suishou No Fune give everything, completely unafraid of sentiment or emotion; this music is reaching out to you because it wants to share something with you. You're meant to have a reaction to this. The earnestness and honesty present here practically beg for a dialogue. What that dialogue ultimately consists of is a matter between the listener and their heart; whether it's a memory or a feeling or an image makes little difference. What matters is the willingness to let the record's honesty work with you and extract something that is meaningful to you and you alone. It's privacy in terms of spectacle, confession in the context of performance.
And it's fucking beautiful. Suishou No Fune whip up a froth of swirling guitars, delicate and snaking their way through one another, creating vines of melody that shoot up into the sky, leaving the notion of reality far behind them. Lilting voices carry across the clouds, searching and prodding, pulling you closer with each breath. These vocals reach a wordless sort of ecstasy that's as impassioned as it is cracking, the feeling far exceeding the ability. I'm reminded of Keiji Haino, whose vocal explosions approach a similarly scarred emotional terrain. Suishou No Fune's work is far more inviting than Haino's, but the feelings present in both artists' output is too obvious to dismiss. Both reach deep into their own experiences and emerge with something almost frightening in its universality, an offer of connection that extends well beyond the reach of the physical. This music is experience. I can only imagine the power this performance must have had over those in attendance; just listening to this recording of it transports me to another place of consideration, a recess of allowance where experience recedes and perception blooms.
Like the flower adorning the cover, this record is open and unashamed of its own beauty. It's an invitation, a welcome, with no denials and no rules. This is completely for you. Few bands are as generous with what they do as Suishou No Fune; "Bonsai No Le" is a gift, and it's absolutely perfect.