The perfect filmic totem for the world’s most obscure and dangerous cult band: French director Ethan Mousike’s “ambient documentary” about Japan’s self-proclaimed “Radical Music Black Gypsy Band”. Released on VHS in 1992, the film combines Mousike’s assemblage of archival backstage and performance footage with a series of concerts an obsessed Mousike crossed the world to shoot, at his own expense, during the savage, black-leather-clad final days of Les Rallizes Denudes‘ 37-year existence (sic!). Mousike eschews a narrative arc – the film lacks language of any sort, save for the fabricated French-Beatnik-Japanese creole leader Takeshi Mizutani “sang” in to avoid association with any of the societies he so seditiously despised – in favor of an approach both concrete and formally impressionistic: his film is disconnected, opaque, displaced, harsh and jarring, much like the mysterious, dark entity on which he is so singularly focused. Never has a performance-film worked so hard at summoning the abstract qualities of an artist’s essence and mystique! Les Rallizes Denudes’ story, of course, has all the makings of twisted legend. Started in the mid-1960′s, inspired equally by radical leftist ideology, confrontational theater methods and the bruising maelstroms of The Velvet Underground and Blue Cheer, the band set Psychedelic Japan aflame with its relentless, uncompromising approach to a rock and roll vision dually primitive and expansive. After bass player Moriyasu Wakabayashi and his Japanese Red Army comrades successfully hijacked a commercial aircraft – with Samurai swords, no less! – and were welcomed in North Korea as revolutionary heroes, harassment and the threat of imprisonment by Japanese Special Agents and the FBI forced an already-paranoid Mizutani into hiding amid the holy mountains of Northern Japan. Further radicalized and marginalized, Mizutani and his perpetually-changing lineup of Rallizes emerged from the bleak mists every five-or-so years to ply his brutal canon onstage for a new generation of slackjawed devotees. Existentially anti-commercial to the point of disappearance, the band never released an official album in its lifespan, and survive sonically to this day via the cavalcade of bootlegs lovingly produced by their hordes of freakishly zealous fans. A cogent film by a skilled director – however appropriately unknown both may be – about this band is a true treasure for musical, cultural and political radicals the world over. [Source]
October 2, 1982 at Keio University. After Fujio Yamaguchi’s departure (“Double Heads” experiment). Doronco on bass, more focus on Mizutani’s guitar and singing without rhythm guitar (imitated at 3:57), deep echo, and dark atmosphere with strobe lights and projections of cathedrals. A very good rendition. Metal Machine Music ’82 DVD [UNIVIVE-02] / Tripical Midbooster – Winter 1981-1982 [UNIVIVE-020].
Les Rallizes Dénudés were a really heavy Japanese psychedelic band that emerged in the ’60s and played in various incarnations for decades thereafter. They tore up the Japanese underground in the ’70s with powerful music and captivating theatrics. The live experience is reputed to be a sensory overload similar to that of the Velvet Underground’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Their live show included friends from an avant-garde theater troupe, extremely loud canvasing guitar, as many strobe lights as they could plug in, disco balls, and communist propaganda. Rallizes existed chiefly as a live experience and have released very little studio work. The group itself is shrouded in mystery. They are rumored to spread communist and revolutionary literature at their shows (including junior high schools). The original bassist, Moriaki Wakabayashi, was a part of the Red Army Faction-led Yodo-go Hijacking of Japan Airlines Flight 351 in 1970. Guitarist and group leader Mizutani Takashi has performed as Rallizes and as a solo artist into the ’90s; coming and going from the public arena for years at a time. Their music never received widespread acceptance, but they have developed a large fan-base among psych/noise devotees. New albums, that is to say reissues and bootlegs, have been released at random for decades and their music will likely continue to pop up on psych compilations like Ongaku 70 that contains an edited version of ‘Far Out Deeper Than the Night’ from a live 1977 performance. [Source]
On 13 December 2011, the first draft of the new Apparatjik album, ‘Square Peg In A Round Hole’, will be released to fans for free through the Apparatjik Facebook page along with an open invitation to fans and other artists to collaborate, remix and add ideas to the album. A new updated version of the album will then be made available each week until the final version is released on 21st February 2012.
“Apparatjik is chiefly a conduit for creative trip-wiring: first you find out how a thing works, then you break it. all children learn this way. all adults too. on the new album we have collaborated with other artists and now we want to invite our fans and other musicians to contribute by commenting, voting for ideas or taking raw elements from the album and work with, embellish and submit back to us. we have collaborated with our fans in this way for visual projects like ‘everybody is a pixel’ at the Neue Nationgalerie in Berlin and our new iPad magazine ‘apparatjik world’. this time we’ll try with music.” (apparatjik)
Following the album ‘We Are Here’ released in 2009 and several ambitious performances and installation art projects over the last couple of years, including at the Serpentine Gallery and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the collective is now embarking on a new phase with the launch of ‘Apparatjik World’.
‘Apparatjik World’ is a threefold project set to unfold throughout 2012 including an iPad magazine (available now in the App Store), the new album ‘Square Peg In A Round Hole’ and a series of performances around the world combining their famed ‘cube’ performances with a festival concept. Apparatjik will bring the ‘Apparatjik World’ performances to 11 cities starting mid 2012 including London, Oslo and Copenhagen and their first dates in the US. More details about the performances will be announced Spring 2012.
Apparatjik is a collective founded in 2008 by world-renowned musicians Magne Furuholmen (A-ha), Guy Berryman (Coldplay), Jonas Bjerre (Mew) and Martin Terefe (songwriter and producer of amongst many others Jason Mraz, Mary J Blige, KT Tunstall, Martha Wainwright and Cat Stevens). Apparatjik functions as an experimental platform and collaborates with a pool of artists, media technicians, and designers, as well as scientists such as MIT professor in physics Max Tegmark and Ute Meta Bauer who has recently been appointed to be the new First Dean of Fine Art at the RCA.
Released by: Metamerge Un Ltd
Release date: Dec 13, 2011
Andrew Weatherall writes for Caught by the River: If your fifty things to do before you die list includes, ‘Take the Ghost Train from Los Mochis to Veracruz across country, coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic,’ you can forget it. El Fantasma is no more. However, thanks to Chris Watson’s months spent on board travelling with some of the last passengers to ride the route and his subsequent recordings you can tick it off as ‘achieved’ and turn your attention to ‘driving Route 66′ or ‘Pamplona bull run’. That’s how evocative this piece of work is. [Source]
[via Martin Holm nee Jensen]
Kwes may be more familiar than you realise, the 24 year old musical multitasker has worked with artists including The xx, The Invisible, Michachu and Joe Goddard. This year he was also invited to showcase his production duties with DRC Music on the ‘Kinshasa One Two’ album. The new material showcases his natural aptitude to music, he plays Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Drums, Sampler, Guitar, an Accordion and also sings, a side of him that has never really been explored before. [Source]
Simon Fisher Turner and Espen J Jörgensen release a unique collaboration on Mute Records on November 21, 2011, Soundescapes. More information and pre-order links here.
David Lynch is releasing his first full-length musical endeavor next month, and it’s one to certainly be interested in, if not tentatively exited. Early reports of the album have made a big deal about how Lynch uses his voice across Crazy Clown Time‘s 70 minutes, but the first voice that you hear on the record is actually not that of Lynch but of Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman Karen O. [Source]