Friday, March 18, 2011
385 - 脳みそあらおう
Label: Hakai Music
Genre: Jazzcore, Punk Jazz, Noise
Sheesh. The more I think about how I'm going to fullfil my promises of my first post, the more I wonder what the hell I have gotten myself into. The main problem is that all music connects to something and if there is something I'd really like to post, it might be hard to be able to place it in your mind without having listened to several other albums first. The same goes for those other albums and it just fans out like that into infinity or until you finally hit an album or artist which is responsible for the creation or popularisation of a genre. The next problem arises here. These kinds of albums are also a child of what has been happening in the world and in music at that time and then it fans out again and then we're just back to square one. Quite the predicament I'm in...
In short, I'm just not quite sure where to start. Do I start with ritualistic tribal drums? With classical music? With blues? These are the kinds of things I am trying to figure out at this time. However I'm already expecting a more fragmented approach which will eventually fit together as a nice, yet perhaps chaotic puzzle. You and I have to realise this is really a long term thing. There are books and university courses doing the same thing I'm planning and even those can't fit it all in one book so it would seem an unreal expectation get this all over and done with in a couple of posts. We can't expect to grasp hundreds years of music in one month.
With that in mind I would today like to share with you a recent find which I simply can't get enough of. They are called '385', are from Japan and were formed in 2008. Two years later they released their first EP called '脳みそあらおう' which should hopefully translate to something along the lines of "brain washed" (Google translate doesn't make for reliable translations) and this brainwashing is perhaps a fitting title for what this album does to you. (In a good way!)
The band consists of just 3 members and occupies the keyboards (Jun Sakima), the drums (Tengan) and bass & vocals (Miya, who is an ex-member from the rock band Bleach). They play a chaotic mix between jazz and punk. It's a kind of music which definitely isn't new. In a way it goes all the way back to the 60's and has made its way back to the present since then. Jazz punk is also a genre that doesn't necessarily sound like this band. It's evolved over time and there is a regional element involved as well. Japan has this whole culture of its own going and it's causing music to develop differently than it is in 'the west', being Western Europe & North America. This is the case here as well. 385 aren't pioneering anything, and not even for the Japanese jazz punk scene because there we've had ミドリ (Midori) of which it is obvious that they served as a prime example for 385. Their sound is highly similar. This album may show a little less versatility than the sound ミドリ had going, but to fans who need their post-ミドリ fix (they unfortunately ceased activity) this album is highly recommended.
Now, the actual sound they've got going. Jun Sakima on keyboards. He's drawing a lot from regular Jazz Fusion along the lines of Herbie Hancock. The bass, Miya, on the other hand sounds more like it comes out of funk metal band. Her playing reminded my strongly of the kind of bass you hear in Maximum The Hormone. They are backed up perfectly by Tengan on drums. The vocals are primarily by Miya and range from clean, yet sharp vocals to often very harsh vocals and growls. Vocals are backed up by Sakima on keyboards. The result is a chaotic, noisy, jazzcore jazz punk band which can indeed best be compared to ミドリ's sound. What's missing though from Western jazz punk and what ミドリ had a little as well, are the free jazz influences. This actually makes it a lot more accessible, really. It may be harsh, noisy and intense; it's still far less hermetic than John Zorn's punky stuff for example.
One thing I regret though - and I regret this for a lot of music - is that I can't understand the words. I can imagine it perhaps being some nonsensical dadaist banter but the truth is I don't really know and I do wish to find out. Some time, somehow.
All in all, this is a great little album by a great little band of which I expect some great little things in the future. If they don't stick to much to this current sound (which is great), but also expand a little on it and broaden their horizons in the same manner ミドリ did, but obviously not with the same sounds - We don't need an exact copy of an inactive band - then this should definitely be a band to keep an eye on. I should note that I can imagine them giving incredible live performances. The whole place must explode because the intensity and energy they give of even on the album! If it amplifies properly in their live shows... Why I certainly hope for them to stop by somewhere close some time.
I hope you enjoy this little intermediary album for now. It's well worth the listen, whether you are a fan of ミドリ or not.