There are many uncertainties in life but you can always be sure that Acid Mothers Temple will continue to crank out album after album of claustrophobic, psycho-psychedelia from atop their Japanese mountain retreat, like crazed astronomers sending out distorted signals into the vast expanse of space. If you’re familiar with the band at all (and if not just re-read that opening sentence) then you know the drill by now – this is shamelessly retro, trippy stuff, put down on record with reckless – almost maniacal – abandon.
On opening track “Chinese Flying Saucer” the guys lock into a series of Led Zeppelin-style grooves and ride them out for twelve minutes while bass-playing singer Tsuyama Atsush yelps like Robert Plant intermittently. After that exhaustive trip, the brief “Chakra 24” is a moment of inner calm and and tranquility; gently bluesy acoustic guitars form a melody while the constant, earthy drone of a sitar, drenched in reverb so that the twang rings out forever, lingers reassuringly in the background. Again, this is kind of a spiritual cousin to Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” although without any sense of urgency – Atsush scats care-free somewhere in the midst of the mix.
“Back Door Man of Ghost Rails Inn” runs the gamut of ‘out-there’ late sixties, early seventies bands, sounding like a hoarse Jim Morrison fronting The Grateful Dead whilst running through “Paint it Black” with Ravi Shankar. “Shine on You Crazy Dynamite” is a 22-minute freeform jam with a distinctly grind-house, B-movie horror feel provided by the organ, subtly funky bass and the babyish, improvised freakout vocal stylings of Atsush. Album closer “Electric Death Mantra” is a slowly lurching, typically ‘Indian’ raga, based around a cyclical sitar riff. As the song speeds up to a frantic pace it implodes.
And so ends another sonic chapter in the topsy turvy tale of Acid Mothers Temple, although by their standards this is a pretty laid-back outing. The accompanying press release makes a point of mentioning that the album was recorded in the aftermath of this year’s disastrous Japanese earthquakes although you wouldn’t know it to listen to it – as if no tremors could penetrate the mountaintop hideout of these curious monks. As per usual the main reason to come to AMT is for the genuine authenticity with which they deliver their sonic workouts so as long as you’re not expecting anything new then you’re in safe hands with these Acid Mothers.
Scribed by: Tom McKibbin