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Nisennenmondai: Neji/Tori

Nisennenmondai: Neji/Tori

Label:Smalltown Supersound
Release Date:2008

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 8/13/2008

To get fully sucked into Nisennenmondai's jet stream, speed is essential. Not yellowjackets, mind you--just a modest modicum of vehicular velocity. Masako Takada (grinding guitars), Yuri Zaikawa (quaking bass), and Sayaka Himeno (rock-steady drums) might as well be Electrelane's Japanese no-wave pen pals, chicken-scratching out chug-a-lug instrumentals with a single-minded intensity. Their rocket-fuel she-scree--think of it as a vigorous mental floss--is not designed for cubicle-based indulgence.

Opener "Pop Group" sets the general tone: negative-budget production values, tones nearly totally lost to feedback, gnashed-note guitar repetitions humping cave-woman rhythm-section sawhorses in litter box-deep distortion. "This Heat" skates along on an emphatic Zaikawa bass line reminiscent of Stone Temple Pilots' "Vaseline," Takada squeaky-hinge noodling crazily off to one side while Himeno holds down the fort on the other. "2534" strays into tamed John Zorn territory, a controlled flurry-slurry that sets up the starchy, no-fi jogging-in-place of "Sonic Youth."

More epic is "Ikkkyokume," which abandons an early rock bent for crusty, pulse-quickening free-jazz runs that imperceptibly mutate into pedal-assisted psych blossoms and noise-inundated canyons; a second Neji/Tori track with an identical title roars even further into the cosmos' outer reaches. "Kyuukohan" comes off more midcareer Sonic Youth than "Sonic Youth," spiking cresting hard-strum workouts with the aural equivalent of violently collapsing stars; on "Kyaaaaaaa," Nisennenmondai get in terse, random touch with their inner Chocolate Synthesizer-era Boredoms.

At times, Neji/Tori--like many noise/out recordings--almost threatens to become part of the sound-field scenery, fusing with the muted roar of traffic or the sickly throb of your engine. But when the high-pitched frequencies that close "Iyashi" sound--to say nothing of the gaping silence trench that interrupts the track--you'll be startled at how desperately you want Nisennenmondai back.

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