Black Stage — Black Stage
(Maboroshi MABO-005, 1996, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-01-01
This is a project featuring Keiji Haino (electric guitar, flute, harp, voice), Natsuki Kido (acoustic guitar), and Yuji Katsui (violin) that – despite its release date – was recorded live in September 1994. The latter two names should be recognized by Exposé readers from the then and current lineup of Bondage Fruit, while Keiji Haino has stellar credentials including a long string of live and studio solo albums as well as albums with his bands Fushitsusha and Vajra, and numerous collaborations – a primary mover in the Japanese new music scene. This disc is basically three long improvisations, the first two well over twenty minutes each, all fairly avant-garde workouts, with elements of jazz (mostly via Kido's Coryell-esque acoustic guitar) and chamber (Katsui's violin contribution) surfacing, and showing regular flashes of brilliance amid the stop, sputter, and go of each of these pieces. They seem to have some trouble keeping their flights airborne for any extended period of time, which becomes tiresome, though sometimes listening to the three musicians search furiously for some kind of common thread gives a rare insight into the improvisational process. Vocals on the second piece are a bit stark, tortured, and pretentious sounding, though one who understands Japanese may get more out of them than this reviewer did. The third and final track is the most together of the three, with several spirited instrumental exchanges condensed into its ten minute running time. Overall, though this tends to be pretty disjointed, difficult listening.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more