Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The second album from Haino's new band, Seijaku, showcases a radically different approach while still staying true to the minimalism established by its predecessor, "Mail from FUSHITSUSHA." This is Seijaku in full on recidivist rock formation, attacking the idea of standardization with no-wave knife in hand. Immediately more "rocking" (and therefore slightly more accessible) than its forebear "You Should Prepare..." at the outset seems better equipped and more willing to take up the mantle left behind by Haino's psych rock sensibilities. After one track in, however, any notion of continuing a tradition is thrown into the dust and completely obliterated by Haino's fierce artistic obstinancy and newfound dedication to a "less is more" mentality concerning rock and roll.
Things start off almost classically, a straight rock track dominated by lurching bass and simple timekeeping drums whilst over the top Haino lets loose with a few slicing guitar shreds and his near Slayeresque vocals (seriously, the man's vocal performance here is fucking amazing-these two records are worth it just for the vocal anguish alone). Things move along and roll into the expected earthshaking Hendrix-on-ludes solo from the mastermind and then settle back in to the track proper to takes us out. The guitar solo is more or less what we've been waiting for the entire stretch of the previous album but far too short-Haino seems content with teasing us and forcing us to accept what little destructive guitar he's willing to give at this point. This distancing from expectation just creates more tension in yet another record brimming over with it.
After that first track things get more thorny. The remainder of the album is given over to a crushingly minimalist take on the primitive blues, with most of the record consisting of bass, drums and harmonica. The guitar all but disappears until the final monolithic track, and even then there's a sort of restraint to Haino's playing that further pushes the man away from his legacy. This minimalism serves the record very well, drawing us as listeners further in to the dense sex-drenched pre-release world that Seijaku's creating, rumbling things over into a total gurgling boil. Again the colours are pitch black and shades of grey yet you feel sweaty and alive as you wade through this thick soupy dreamscape. Haino's howls ululate throughout, anguished and angry, screaming scorn at some dejection and threatening violence until recompense. It's hot, it's agonized, and it's truthful rock and roll. This is what Robert Johnson sold his soul for. No boogie, no shake-just pure and honest threat.
The last track is the drowning void, 16 minutes of deconstructed blues and fractured yearning. Everything sounds at angles and stumbles along mad and perplexed until its inevitable stumbling petering out. At this point the music just gives up, relenting to Haino's sado-sexual wrangling and giving in to the baser urges found in its very bottom. This is the blues. This is rock. This is what Keiji Haino is so effortlessly able to muster up at his best. This is the regressive dinosaur posturing that made Fushitsusha so fucking unstoppable. While the familiarities are gone-the crushing distortion and reverbs so noticeably absent-the soul of the music remains. Seijaku's second offering is a major piece of work amongst the annals of modern psychedelia, one that cannot be ignored. This work must be heralded lest Haino sound the trumpet and unleash fiery burning apocalypse upon us all. Fucking magnificent.

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