God Unknown’s singles club has gotten off to a fine start by anyone’s standards, but this second volume is certainly a doozy. While people naturally tag Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. as a predominately long-form band, at their best when they can pull and draw their mind-blistering riffs for aeons before allowing them to collapse back in on themselves like Black Sabbath-fuelled supernovae, they have in the past few years released some excellent shorter works, and Sign Of Benzaiten is a definite contender for the best of these.
Kicking off with a brisk, buzzing riff reminiscent of an infernal Hendrix offshoot, it puts all the emphasis on Higashi Hiroshi’s bubbling synths, bleeping and singing to the universe in the otherworldly language known only to these odd cats and those able to tune into the unique frequencies of their electronic brainwaves. As mantric chants and theatrical moans bounce around their jagged sound chamber, Kawabata Makoto lets rip with a trademark burst of electric fire, soaring over their Saturnian soundscapes and bravely battling the forces of melody with one of its own making. The song finally implodes in a pulsating feedback loop, persistent and endless, yet this is still Acid Mothers Temple operating at their most immediate, and it works on every level it inhabits.
In contrast, Anthroprophh are almost optimised for such briefer cuts and are well able to explore narratives, concepts and universes within such confined spaces, masters of minimalism that they are. Apophenia traverses all three, a low percussive stomp and an even, almost mundane monologue acting as dual linchpins for a peculiar journey through the mind and internal strife. It escalates so subtly that it’s almost imperceptible – a slight shift in tempo here, a raise of the voice there – and a bitonal shifting drone keeps the whole operation feeling off-kilter.
Yes, this is a slow build, a fever that burns just under the skin but is still enough to reduce you to shivers, but it provides an excellent counterpart for Acid Mothers Temple’s ecstatic contribution. It’s not a come-down, it’s a disquieting touch of hysteria than lingers on the senses, and it’s not an entirely unpleasant sensation. Although Apophenia is arguably the more unexpected of these two offerings, this is nonetheless an excellent pairing and a treat for anyone looking to have their minds forcibly expanded.
Scribed by: Dave Bowes