Boomkat Product Review:
Brooklyn’s superb Blank Form Editions follow peaches by Catherine Christer Hennix and Maryanne Amacher with a first vinyl edition of pioneering free improv jazz rippers from 1975 Japan. Hugely tipped to fans of Sonny Sharrock, Derek Bailey and Keiji Haino!
‘April is the cruellest month’ is taken from 1975 recordings destined for ESP Disk which remained unreleased due to the label’s collapse in 1976. It’s understandably hailed as a missing link between Western jazz and Japanese noise for its joyously unhinged, thrilling levels of abandoned form, and begs the question; how would an international understanding of Japanese noise be altered if it had been issued as and when intended?
Until the late ‘60s, Takayanagi, who cut his teeth under Lennie Tristano, was an accomplished player of cool jazz, but his mind was blown by Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘Free Form Guitar’ in 1969 and he turned his back on the Japanese jazz scene, infamously calling them “a bunch of losers” in the music press. Shredding solo, and with saxophonist Kaoru Abe, he would dextrously yet elegantly lay waste to convention and effectively arrive at similar, iconoclastic, and expressive conclusions to the likes of Ornette Coleman, Peter Brötzmann or Derek Bailey at the other ends of the world.
In key with the revolutionary spirit of late ‘60s Japan, and the world for that matter, Takayanagi’s shapeshift into “free” zones was cemented with ‘April is the Cruellest Month’, where they inquisitively splay the jazz atom into atonal quarks and bestial chatter in ‘We Have Existed’, and a cranky smear of brass and diffused percussion recalling aspects of Gruppo in ‘What Have We Given?’, before the B-side’s catalcylsmic 20 minute charge ‘My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart’ truly lets rip with unearthly intensity, Takayanagi’s guitar intrepidly blazing a trail thru the gurning, ecstatic maelstrom in an every-direction-at-once aesthetic that clearly predates Masami Akita aka Merzbow, who wouldn’t debut until 1979, or the Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha, who emerged in 1978.
Eyebrow protection required - this one’s a 100% scorcher!