Nisennenmondai - #N/A

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2016-04-05

The incredibly prolific female technoise trio (I lost count of their releases – mostly via their own Bijin label – after about three dozen, ranging from live tour discs to split albums, singles, and a few full lengths) return with a sequel (of sorts) to 2014’s N, this time featuring the production wizardry of dub legend Adrian Sherwood at the mixing desk. But don’t expect the spontaneous birth of a new genre (kraut-reggae) just yet. Sure, the five untitled tracks (a trademark) still throb like a muthafuckah, but a surprisingly restrained Sherwood manages to add another layer to their motoric hum without burying their sound under a barrage of red hot chili peppers.

     This album is all about percussion in myriad formations, so Sayaka Himeno (aka Hime)’s drums and assorted new year’s eve-styled noisemakers drive the show. But thankfully it’s not like Buddy Rich turned loose for an hour-long drum solo. Although if you’re idea of a trip worth the price of admission is listening to wah-wahed-to-the-max, echoey drum kits phalanging from all four corners of your living room, by all means jump right in.

     The key here (and to Nisennenmondai’s modus operandi in general) is the exploration of the hypnotic effects of sonic repetition. Yes, there’s a modicum of Faustian and Einstürzende Neubauten-ish kling-klanging that sound like the whole thing was recorded at a construction site in the middle of Trafalgar Square on New Year’s Eve, but for some that could be half the fun. This is certainly unsettled musical waters that will appeal to everyone from Industrialised closet freaks awaiting Trent Reznor’s second coming to vintage Ministry and Godflesh worshippers to beard-stroking experimental noisemongers still trying to decipher those secret Conet Project messages from outer space (the 16-minute-plus ‘#2’ is pants-shittin’ scarier than anything that hoaxy, pseudo-SETI soundtrack ever assembled and definitely not for the faint of heart.) Sherwood’s dub effects twist and distort the musical onslaught to make them sound like Nagasaki and Hiroshima are exploding all over again. We’ve all heard of air guitar, but air-drumming? Hime, my dear, you may have started something here that’ll get the heart pumping faster than a six pack of 5-hour Energy®!

     Now I’ll admit that an hour of this will definitely try the patience of even the most dedicated noisenik, and parts of it do sound like your neighbour is remodeling his garage, but there’s something sexy and hypnotic about their riffage that pulls your heart up in to your throat and chokes you within an inch of your life. But before we get tangled in a web of erotic asphyxiation, I’ve gotta change my shorts and dig into the two live bonus “dub” tracks (‘A’ and ‘B-1’ from N) that Sherwood recorded at Unit in Tokyo last 18 April. With all caution thrown to the wind, he pulls out all the stops with spacey echoes, throbbing dub steps, and outer space flybys that’ll have you speaking like R2D2 as the walls vibrate and your head verges on another explosion that’ll make The Fury look like a Disney cartoon. Va-va-va-vroooommmm!

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