Sunday, January 05, 2014

Fumio Kosakai - Earth Calling

Fumio Kosakai - Earth Calling.
Memoirs of a Crater Lake. MCL LP1. LP
250 copies.

Fumio Kosakai, is of course, one half of the legendary Jap noise band Incapacitants. In 1987 he released Earth Calling on his own ‘Anciant Records’ [sic] in a cassette edition that by his own admission only sold about thirty copies. As is the way with those who dig around in obscure back catalogues of noise artists working on the other side of the world over 25 years ago, it reappears out of Leeds at the back end of 2013 in full vinyl glory thanks to Pete Cann and Phil Todd who no doubt have had their joss sticks out and have their own special buddhist mantra to go along with this spaced out epic [mines ‘malbec, malbec’].

Inspired by Hawkwind’s ‘Space Ritual’ [Earth Calling is the first track on Space Ritual] and Terry Riley’s ‘A Rainbow In Curved Air’ Kosakai can feel aggrieved that this didn’t have a bigger impact then but can be satisfied that its reaching a wider audience now. Maybe audiences in Japan weren’t ready for Kosakai’s own kind of space ritual in the mid 80’s? At a time when the likes of Hanatarash were wrecking the joint I guess folks weren’t too keen on sitting through an hours worth of space nod and wanted something a bit more visceral for their money. Kosakai’s time has come though.

The real meat of the thing lies on the side long Riley inspired track ‘Look to the Light’. Taking ‘Curved Air’ as a template Kosakai produces a trancelike nodder that shifts within two distinct phases. The first phase gets you in the mood before he really drops the bomb leaving a flurry of little synth notes cycling in a repeat pattern as your head further expands  before crumpling into a black hole of asteroid tails and meteor showers. Minuscule shifts in pattern are barely perceptible, the entire thing carrying you off in such a gentle trance like fashion that its hard not to hit repeat or wish the trip was even longer. I’ve played it on repeat about half a dozen times now and feel its cheaper than crap drugs and doesn’t give you whiteys. 

Side one kicks off with Absent Water. A short track owing as much to Throbbing Gristle as it does Hawkwind. This is Kosakai doing TG in shuddering bass and phased guitar mode [even though no guitar is credited I cant help but feel thats whats in use here]. And then something a little meatier with Drive to Universe. Here the trip is shorter than Look To Light and with Hawkwind in mind much more celestial, synth dots and dabs in a star studded night sky full of delay and cosmic emptiness. Wonderful.

All track are live recordings with the two tracks on side one benefiting from some overdubs but that side long nodder is what you got when you were there, in Tokyo in 1985.

Comes in a fold out sleeve with liner notes by Kosakai in both English and Japanese.

Lets hope that this isn’t the last gem that Phil and Pete unearth. This could be the start of something very special.

Crater Lake

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