The second collaboration of legendary Japanese guitarist-vocalist-iconoclast-cultural provocateur Keiji Haino (who adds flute and the Korean reed instrument taepyeongso to his arsenal) and the American post-metal-sludge-avantgarde-powerhouse trio SUMAC was recorded in Tokyo on July 2017, a month after their debut album, «American Dollar Bill / Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On» (Thrill Jockey, 2018).
The match between the Haino and SUMAC is organic. Haino work since his days in the seminal avant-rock Fushitsusha is about experimenting – with collaborators, sounds, textures and poetic texts. In recent years he collaborated with sax players Peter Brötzmann and John Butcher, Charles Hayward (from This Heat, the Turkish group KonstrukT, Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke, avant-garde ensemble Zeitkrater, noise meister Merzbow, to name a few. SUMAC – guitarist Aaron Turner, Nick Yacyshyn and bass player Brian Cook, just like Haino, refuse to surrender to a specific genre or style and insists on a vision that embraces post-metal with drone and contemporary music.
No one but Haino can come up with title as cryptic as «Even for just the briefest moment / Keep charging this «expiation» / Plug in to making it slightly better». The «expiation», captured at Fever nightclub in Tokyo, is free-associative, free-form, totally improvised journey. The album’s mixing engineer Randall Dunn described this wild ride as «flamethrower jazz», as all explore loose dynamics and intense interplay, that gets even more brutal and intense as the set progresses.
The disquieting tension and the thunderous power accumulated in the first two pieces erupts is set into massive, fast and rolling motion towards the coda of the second piece, as if Haino + SUMAC found the exact frequency that ties both sides together. And from that point there is no better way but to surrender fully to this bone-shaking, enigmatic flow of distorted and dissonant onslaughts. The thirty-minutes title-piece dives deeper and deeper into dark, cathartic seas, and slows down its brutal dive only when Haino begins to recite one of his captivating speeches, delivered as he is totally possessed in the moment. The last, 19-minutes «(First half) / Once, twice, thrice / When you press the third time / Carve esteem and despoliation into your heart (Second half) / Every historical scar / Has been lined up at regular intervals but / Their permeation is different / Beautified with a loss spray» offers another variation of a free-form, poetic vocal tirade of Haino, massive resonating and burning guitars lines of him and Turner, surprising lyrical blows of Haino on the double reed taepyeongso while only drummer Yacyshyn attempts to discipline this free-associative improvisation into coherent structure.
This is fire music – literally.
Keiji Haino (g, v, fl, taepyeongso), Aaron Turner (g), Nick Yacyshyn (dr), Brian Cook (b)