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Fractal 018



Asahito Nanjo is best-known as the leader of High Rise, Mainliner, and Musica Transonic, and all of these groups offer varying degrees of high energy, noisy, psychedelic music. Ohkami No Jikan is another of Nanjo's projects, and on this release he's replaced the hyperactive elements of his better-known combos with a heavier sound that is no less intense with psychedelic overdose. The lengthy first track opens quite unsubtly with a sledgehammer of free form noise before settling down to slow, thunderous rhythms with scorching guitar textures that erupt endlessly to create a dark, noisy din in similar territory as the legendary and mysterious Les Rallizes Denudes. The long instrumental passages of blistering guitar freak-outs are interspersed with sections of deadpan gloomy vocals. The second track slows things down even more with bursts of noise and silence, while Nanjo spouts off monosyllables. The final piece cuts loose with a dense cloud of droning, thundering free-for-all, at a couple points it suddenly stops and then explodes again with a slightly different tone. Like the better stuff from Acid Mothers Temple and Fushitsusha, Jikan's Mort Nuit is another brain-shredding foray into the darker side of heavy Japanese psychedelia.
Rolf Semprebon  


Aquarius Records SF - List 151, 29/11/2002 - Website (USA)

Dark feedback frenzies, primitive plodding drums crashing away, reverby Reynolsian vocals: this is some *intense* electric guitar heavy improv psych, a lot like Keiji Haino's Fushitsusha. It's the brainchild of Nanjo Asahito, who shares Haino's prediliction for wearing all-black clothing and sunglasses at all times (and for wrangling from his guitar loud clouds of post-Neil Young blackness). Never one of the most prolific of modern Japanese underground psychedelic bands, Nanjo's Ohkami No Jikan here present what's basically their debut album, though they've been around for quite some time, making only some rare compilation appearances previously. But, the members of the band, in particular leader Nanjo, keep busy in other projects -- in Nanjo's case, the legendary High Rise, Toho Sara, Musica Transonic, Mainliner, etc. Actually it doesn't say anywhere on here who's on this besides Nanjo, though unless he's overdubbing everthing he's got at least a drummer and another guitarist in the band. Three tracks (one of 'em over 30 minutes long) of timelost, slow-moving, heavy rock drone, brutally beautiful and moving. Of the three new Japanese releases on Fractal, this one *doesn't* necessarily feature Acid Mothers Temple's Kawabata Makoto (although maybe he is on here), but in comparison to the colorful krautrock worship of the AMT disc, or the hard driving proto-metal of the Musica Transonic one (which features both Nanjo and Kawabata), this is the deepest, most primal of the three.

The Wire - n°226 - December 2002 (UK)

A couple of years ago you couldn’t turn round without getting steamrollered by some new heavy fuel-guzzling psych project from Tokyo bassist, conceptualist and shameless sefl-publicist Asahito Nanjo. Cannibalised from the neglected junkyards of rock history, groups like Musica Transonic, Mainliner, Seventh Seal, Toho Sara and a few dozen others rolled off his assembly line at a staggering rate. But more recently Nanjo has eased his foot off the gas, concentrating his enrgies on his otiginal speedfreak group High Rise, and passing his magic welding torch to his former protégé Makoto Kawabata, of Acid Mothers Temple. But lest anyone forget just how exhilarating a ride in one of Nanjo’s jerrybuilt jalopies can be, French label Fractal has lined up a fresh batch at the starting line.
Ohkami No Jikan, on the other hand, represent Nanjo’s obscurantist tendancies. In spite of their lengthy history, the group have only properly released a couple of tracks on barely distributed compilations, and here both recording date and line-up are kept deliberately quiet (though this release probably includes Kawabata on guitar). Its half-hour centrepiece, “Israel”, opens with the kind of free rhythmic, polyphonic black hole perfected by Fushitsusha, seeming to suck all air and light in on itself. The piece then settles into a slow crawl through sludge, grounded by the most minimal of bass riffs and relentlessly heavy drum accents. Twin guitar erupt like black geysers throughout, and Nanjo’s flatly intoned vocals add to the general tone of dank, hellish claustrophobia. The consciousness-erasing power of the track would work even better in a dark and sweaty club. While the album may not quite meet Nanjo’s typically grandiose aim of psychedelicising the space between medieval and contemporary music, it’s still an object lesson in the attractions of bleak rock stoicism.
Alan Cummings

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