Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Various Artists



A compilation that culls tracks from a series of ‘lecture concerts' that took place between September 2003 and February 2004 at Mesar Haus, Tokyo. Kicks off with a fantastically dense hurdy-gurdy drone from Keiji Haino and also features tracks from guitarist Kazuo Imai, pianist Junichiro Okuchi, shamisen master Michihiro Sato, turntablist Otomo Yoshihide and saxophonist Masayoshi Urabe.

Various Artists
Dead Silence

Room 40 RMBK-002

Art Book

Nicely presented/compiled art book, put together by Lawrence English with contributions from a head-spinning range of artists on the subject of ‘dead silence’: ranging across art, text, essays, letters and photography with contributions from musicians/artists/writers such as Keiji Haino (who discusses the meaning of ‘Seijaku’), Liz Harris aka Grouper, Alan Licht, Makino Takashi, Jamie Stewart, Marina Rosenfeld, James Webb, Benoit Pioulard, Steve Roden, Eugene Carchesio, Terre Thaemliz, Sandra Selig, Jack Sargeant, Philip Samartzis, Greg Hainge, Ross Manning (Sky Needle), David Toop and Heiko Muller.

Various Artists
Ongaku 90

Hiruko Records HLP-04


Third volume in this on-going series that documents various stages of evolution of the Japanese underground: following the 70s and 80s the 90s set is the real gravy and represents the decade that was the most creatively accelerated in terms of underground activity. Cream of the crop here is an amazing studio recording from the classic trio Fushitsusha line-up, “Magic V”, with Haino on electric guitar and vocals, Yasushi Ozawa on electric bass and Jun Kosugi on drums recorded during the sessions for their 1993 album for John Zorn’s Avant label, Allegorical Misunderstanding. Haino’s vocal are particularly potent, moving from a high lamenting style to aggressive epiglottal action while the group work the kind of complex rock rhythm equations that would come to define their current incarnation. But that’s not all. There’s a classic “Moungod” live ritual from Masaki Batoh’s Ghost, from their classic self-titled 1997 debut, “Moungod Te Deum” and Hoppy Kamiyama’s legendary God Mountain label is represented by Demi Semi Quaver’s “A*merika”. We also get a great goof of a track from ‘noise’ legends The Gerogerigegege and tracks from Phew, composer/trumpeter Jun Miyake, Ryuichi Sakamoto, E*trance, weirdo J-pop from Takako Minekawa and of course no 90s overview would be complete without a track from legendary guitarist/songwriter and Org recording artist Idiot O’Clock. A great and wide-ranging overview of the creative tumult of underground music in Japan in the 1990s. Recommended.

Ikuro Takahashi
Picnic On The Quicksand (Oscillators In The Studio)

Galleria Zarigania No Cat


Original two-track 2007 release w/colour sleeve of this massive/obscure solo set from Japanese underground legend Ikuro Takahashi (Fushitsusha/Kousokuya et al) here making violent Industrial noise w/heavy meta oscillator attack. Long OOP. 


Eine Kleine Nachtmusik 003


Numbered edition of 500 copies in hand-stitched embossed art paper sleeves from Ikuro Takahashi’s (Fushitsusha/Kousokuya et al) own private press. This is another major archival release from the vaults of the Japanese underground, documenting a group led by Tori Kudo (Maher Shalal Hash Baz/Noise/Guys ‘n’ Dolls et al) on piano and featuring Kanji Nakao (Compostera) on saxophone, Yoshi Kuge (Compostera) on drums and Takuya Nishimura (Che-SHIZU) on bass. This is the closest that Tori has ever come to cutting a free jazz album, though it’s inevitably a couple of sails more skewed than a simple investigation of the elasticity of genre. Nakao is a fantastic player, now a model of control, now barking through the low register like a headier Sonny Rollins and Tori pushes him the whole way, pursuing ideas with big barracking chords and dancing around the themes with ploy-rhythmic re-statements. There’s a nice, dusty feel to the recording, a time machine aspect that seems to lend it an extra layer of poignancy while the tough/tender interaction perfectly captures that sublime happy/sad feel of all of the best Maher/Tori sides. Two concerts are included, one from 1995 and another from 1996. Many fantastic hitherto-unknown releases appearing from the mists of the Tokyo underground of late and this is another highly recommended installment.