Boomkat Product Review:
Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley re-merge their untouchable Nazoranai trio for a crushing third dispatch from the farthest limits. Bestowed with one of Haino’s brilliantly portentous titles, it unfolds thru a bi-hemispheric 50 minutes of firmament razing hurdy gurdy, guitar and electronics underpinned by sub-harmonic bass and absolutely possessed percussion that reminds us of the almighty power of music at its most elemental and affective.
‘Nazoranai’ - meaning ‘not repeating’ in japanese - defines the group in opposition to free improvisation, or ‘sokkyo’ in Haino’s native tongue; signifying a more meticulous, measured approach and style that’s still balls-to-the-wall, yet consciously sidesteps the cliched traps of ‘free’ convention.
From the seedlings of Ambarchi’s cleansing chimes and precise, angular drum hits in the tense first few minutes, O’Malley’s guitar becomes a massive, looming presence rather than any definable shape, moving in viscously diffused synch with the percussion to provide swelling oceanic/nebulous dimensions for Haino the harbinger to express his worries on a Hurdy Gurdy - an instrument that he has only really played on a handful of his myriad recordings.
They take all of the first side and well into the second to develop this tempest before Haino’s gut-wrenched vocals appear at the point when they achieve orbit-breaking velocity. Out there, Haino comes into his own with apoplectic vocal convulsions and tear-out guitar matched by Ambarchi’s bombardment from all angles in the soundsphere, with O’Malley a prowling, thunderous presence at the perimeter.
And it’s that bass presence that really offsets and makes this one such a monster - lending a plasmic propulsion that’s harder to grasp than Ambarchi’s spiky drums or Haino’s screech, billowing out of the speakers in a way that really does represent the pressure of his live performances, even with relatively meagre amplitude. That sub-harmonic dimension remains rock music's most elusive and enigmatic quality, so kudos to O’Malley and his cohorts for harnessing it here with so much imagination.