AcidMothersGuruGuru - "Underdogg Express"
From Aural Innovations July 2009 update
True to cultural stereotype, Kawabata Makoto and company have always been known to pay proper respect to their elders and here he and fellow Acid Mother bassist Atsushi Tsuyama join GuruGuru's main Mani Neumeier in an album of joyous free-rock and spaced-out drones. It's especially notable how Makoto channels the Axe of Guru Genrich, particularly that dirty acid-garage circa '70 sound of said innovator. Tsuyama plays a subservient but agile enough bass, occasionally bringing out some nice lines of his own. Opener "Flexitwister" is a wild but relatively brief boogie. The title-track is a monster of a work-out clocking nearly 29 minutes. This certainly could have used further editing! The album is a live audience recording, but there seems to be an overdub as Makoto chugs the rhythm along on wah while an alternate lead plays along as well. These Mothers reel in their penchant for messy feedback-drenched noisiness in favor of a heavy psyche/blues/jazz power-trio vibe where all the instruments are discernable. Things quiet down for a while before Neumeier leads the group back into a wild free-fusion meltdown. Of course there's the expected amount of whimsy here, in the form of silly falsetto scat, shaker, kazoo, cartoonish creature-sounds and the like. Now some glissando-guitar. Is this a direct result of AMT's recent involvement with Gong? But this leads into the next passage, a very cool groove where Mani builds a heavy stomping rhythm with various bells, cymbals and other percussives. The 13 minutes of "In the Cave Of the Mountain Gods" starts out playfully but evolves into a pretty mean drone. The guitar grind phases in and out nicely while the rhythm sets down a slow rolling pace and somebody adds on some crazed squawking (though pretty quiet in the mix). Now some alternate guitar wailing... Makoto continues to change up his effects... now it's become a freaky Guru Guru heavy blues... definitely two guitars here (or does Tsuyama have some tricks up his sleeve?). Nice piece of work. Next is my favorite cut, the 10-minute "In To...". Makoto plays a moodier, folksier harmonic melody which sets the mood throughout as well as a very sharp gliss-tone which soars along spacily, then flings around like a comet-tail, returns again to straight flight. Mani keeps a steady beat, but really lets Makoto take the limelight. Finally they melt it all down into another free-rock-out. "Spirit Of Nara" is the most raucous and energetic freak-out, Mani thumps away in all directions, Tsuyama keeps things bulbous, and of course Makoto has totally lost control!
For more information you can visit the Acid Mother's Temple web site at: http://www.acidmothers.com, or the Guru Guru web site at: http://www.guru-guru.com
Visit the Fuenfunvierzig Records web site at: http://www.fuenfundvierzig.com
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg