Monday, June 9, 2008

Courtis, Yamamoto and Yoshimi: Live at Kanadian

Live in Kanadian: Anla Courtis is known from the Reynols and solo albums while the two Japanese members are apparently from the Boredoms - and this release from Public Eyesore (#110) is a record of a live show in Osaka.

Unstructured and improvised, as always hard to describe, this album sucked me in and entertained me. I don't know anything about the instrumentation except Courtis plays guitar, there is electronics, processing and percussion. The first track is something of the noisiest and is centred around the guitar with some electronics, feedback and manipulation. We then move to a track that features the hook for this album - Yoshimi's voice - it ranges from screaming to singing, is looped echoed and stretched and adds that extra dimension an album like this needs to stand out.Here it slips in and out of some electronics guitar percussion, bubbling and sliding, screaming and appealing.

Then a piece that is more about electronics and guitar - there are some singing and some dirty solos in this one - the other elements are there also, vocal hisses and squeaks, organ, keyboards and it moves along into its various excursions. Something that is obvious is that these are accomplished musicians - they are playing their instruments, not playing with them, and their skill allows them to take them in exciting new places.

The first three tracks, shorter at 10 minutes each, seem like an opportunity for each member to shine, while the final piece - 26 - is where they all come together. It shifts in structure, instrumentation, speed and density, my page of notes impossible to reproduce (and boring to read). Enough to say it carries you along with its shifts and turns, while less focused than the earlier pieces. Improv albums are hard to listen to, hard to review: you have to pick the right time for both. This one impressed me greatly over a number of plays - hard work but the effort is repaid. You know what to expect and it delivers and more. I enjoyed it.

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