The dark lord of the Japanese alternative music scene Keiji Haino has played the medieval instrument hurdy-gurdy for more than 25 years, and «My lord Music…» is already his sixth solo hurdy-gurdy album. In his hands, this unique instrument becomes a hybrid machine that not only matches an old keyboard with a rosined wheel that functions as a violin bow but also bridges the distant medieval eras with the futurist drone-based, ritualized and spiritual soundscapes. «My lord Music…» is a nine-part suite, recorded at Zebulon in Los Angeles in April 2019, as part of Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s curated by Mika Yoshitake, and suggests the distinct approach of Haino to this instrument. The album is the first one in Haino’s newly relaunched Purple Trap imprint, produced in collaboration with Black Editions and personally supervised by Haino.
Haino often seeks the radical and the most extremes but here the hurdy-gurdy sounds at once dissonant and hypnotic, with its rich and suggestive vibrant sounds, ornamented with layers of white noise. Haino acts here as a sonic magician who cast powerful, timeless and meditative spells with the hurdy-gurdy, exhausting its full potential and weaving fleeting and subtle melodic veins with quiet but dense drones. His voice, and obviously, the title of this album, intensify the spiritual dimension of this performance, but as this set progresses the improvised pieces become more otherworldly and irreverent. Often you may feel that the hurdy-gurdy sings enigmatic and seductive songs like a choir of sirens, with Haino’s genius sensibility and physicality, always present and unmistakable.
«Concert 2009» is another gem from the archive of French sound engineer-producer-label manager-analog synthesizer wizard Jean-Marc Foussat. It documents the meeting of the French experimental trio Marteau Rouge (red hammer in French) – guitarist-vocalist Jean-François Pauvros (of the art-rock band Catalogue), drummer Makoto Sato (who lives in France and collaborated before with Joe McPhee, Linda Sharrock, Itaru Oki and Michel Kristof) and Foussat on VC3S synth, vocals and toys, with Haino, here playing the electric guitar and vocalizes. The concert took place at Marquee of Luz-Saint-Sauveur, during the Jazz in Luz festival in July 2009.
The electro-acoustic, free improvising Marteau Rouge was founded in 1998 but its discography is quite slim. The trio collaborated before with British sax hero Evan Parker («Live», In situ, 2009), but «Concert 2009» is a totally different kind of collaboration. Haino arrived to this meeting a day after he played with double bass legend Barre Phillips, with who he already collaborated before.
«Concert 2009» is a brutal and noisy psychedelic storm that clashes and trashes doom and gloom territories. But throughout the massive, turbulent and thunderous waves surface many fragile and poetic gestures, few are even sound as delicate chamber ones, that color this super-intense and powerful meeting with fascinating sonic imagination and arresting and suggestive sounds. The immediate dynamics of this ad-hoc quartet are organic, with no attempt by Haino or by Marteau Rouge to dominate each other. It is clear that these four musicians sought the most challenging and dangerous, risk-taking collisions tight from the beginning of this performance and that this powerful meeting was headed into a fantastic cathartic meltdown.
Keiji Haino (hurdy gurdy, el.g, v), Jean-François Pauvros (el.g, v), Makoto Sato (dr), Jean-Marc Foussat (synth VC3S, v, toys)