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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

Japanese New Music Festival - Music Review
By:Eric Nielsen

Hotter and muggier than sh*t in the underground subway, 3 musicians (YoshidaTatsuya from Ruins, Tsuyama Atsushi and Kawabata Makoto from Acid Mothers Temple) form 7 units!! A cappella, comic free form, progressive core, troubadour, cosmic psychedelic. The smell is infamous and it came through with an underground night of music that was not to be forgotten.

These three virtuosos continue to amaze. Hot off the plane from their sold out show in SF they arrived in manic style to provide a sweaty crowd the lovely feelings of humor, sadness and mind blowing rock. I had never seen Yoshida drum and when he did his Ruins solo set it blew my mind. His one handed snare, his ability to switch genres mid song, his use of a sampler made me so happy that I was there as a witness. His powerful drumming was too amazing.

I couldn't wait to see the final set of AMT SWR with that kind of attack and it didn't let me down. All the sets were fairly short including the AMT SWR set and played at a faster tempo than most of their other shows as the Melting Paraiso or the Cosmic Inferno. Pink Lady Lemonade has been a staple of the AMT set for a while now and I was happy to hear it buzzing from Makotos guitar at record pace. It was a short intro with the melody and then quickly into psychadelia and then nearly as quickly it was back into the melody line short and smiling and sweet. The musicians were in a sauna on stage and the crowd had it worse. It was packed and sweaty and hot like good old LA.

The other acts consisted of combinations of the three gurus in a singing trio grouped around one mic, a silly set from Tsuyama and Yoshida playing everyday items with contact mics (including zipper song, toothbrushing song, scissor song and drinking song) a set of very famous cover songs, and some really nice ambient violin drone work from Makoto.

These guys did this 9 show tour on an around the world plane ticket and every stop was a 24 hour layover. We all wanted to go drinking but they were staying at a hotel near LAX to catch an early flight for their first show in Mexico City.

Here's a list of the bands and their descriptions that played the festival:

- ZUBI ZUVA X (Yoshida/Tsuyama/Kawabata)

Eccentric poly-rhythmic a cappella ensemble. It covers from Gregorian chant to ethnic music, to do-wop to hardcore screaming, heavily using irregular rhythms and polyrhythm. All sorts of ideas and aberrant musicality overturn the image of a cappella. their totally meaningless lyrics and desperate performances throw the audiences into the abyss of the laughter and admiration. it makes the concept of "singing ability"nonsense.

- AKATEN (Tsuyama/Yoshida)

Formed in 1995 with the motto of "irresponsibleness" and "perfunctoriness." They easily free themselves from the spell of the traditional seriousness of the art. Using daily commodities like scissors, toothbrush, zipper, camera, and plastic bottle as percussions, and shouting their brand names over and over as the "songs," the show is performed under the concept of low cost and maximum sound effect. AKATEN is the experimental convenience store punk band that provides the sound images of cheap and simple daily lives.

- RUINS ALONE (Yoshida)

RUINS is pioneer of Drum & Bass duo. Tunes are complicated and mysterious, and songs are sung in the language of their own invention. It's high-tension, wild, heavy, speedy, acute, and powerful tremendous ensemble never sounds like they are only two players. since last bassist left Yoshida still seeking a bassist and currently he has been playing as RUINS ALONE. playing RUINS songs with sampling bass. this time Yoshida will play songs from Koenji Hyakkei and Korekyojinn too.

- ZOFFY (Tsuyama/Kawabata)

Formed in 1998. Zoffy's music hints both at the members' deep musical knowledge via their improvised performances of troubadour music and European trad, and also at their deep love for rock via their destructivist covers of classic rock songs, that no longer sounds like anything but ZOFFY. The group believes that humor is essential in music, and their unprecedented performances stray far from the beaten track. Is this the Ultima Thule that rock music has long been aiming for?

- SHRINP WARK (Kawabata/Yoshida)

A new improvising duo consisting of Yoshida from Ruins and Kawabata from AMT. group inspired by This Heat and band name taken from their song "Shrink Wrap". Cosmic chemical reaction sound that embraces a multidimensional chaos based upon the principles of minimalism, an anarchistic warping of the time axis, and ultra-accelerated revolving of time particles.

- ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE SWR (Kawabata/Tsuyama/Yoshida)

Acid Mothers Temple have rapidly become acclaimed as the greatest, most extreme trip psychedelic group in the world. Releases have appeared on labels around the world at an amazing pace, and the magnificence of their live performances is already being whispered of as legendary. SWR is the AMT Family's most powerful battle-formation yet. featuring Tsuyama and Kawabata from the original AMT and Yoshida from Ruins. their crushingly acute freakout sound will pulverize the world's legions of wannabe psych groups.

- SEIKAZOKU (Kawabata/Tsuyama/Yoshida)

Formed in 1996. The expansive musicality of the group, which nonchalantly references classic prog and rock, ethnic music, jazz and contemporary composition, is backed up the three members' impressive backgrounds and the depth of their musical knowledge. Improvised music for holy trinity heresy that runs the full gamut of ethnic and electric instruments, primitive stupidity, the suspicious stench of medieval alchemy, the raw power of early rock music, all leavened with a pinch of cosmic incoherency.


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