Boomkat Product Review:
Perhaps the tightest band in existence right now return with an astonishing new album - their first in 8 years - we ain’t talking about the Swedish psych troupe, nor the Greek metal act; but the infinitely superior Japanese goat (jp) who take the micro-precision of computer music and play it on instruments. They make a devilish display of interlocking, pointillist drums newly gelled with the addition of harmonic, 4th world woodwind, brass and texture that will completely destroy you - especially played loud - huge recommendation if yr into anything from This Heat to Miles Davis, early Battles to Jon Hassell, Moin and Autechre. We’re deep in AOTY zone right here.
goat (JP) are renowned for two albums released in 2013 and 2015 that took Kraftwerk’s man-machine concept back to its roots with swingeing, inch-tight drums, bass and guitar patterns that needed to be heard to be believed. For their long-in-the-making new album ‘Joy In Fear’, band leader Koshiro Hino (YPY, KAKUHAN) describes the process as “90 percent pain” - and we can well believe it - few other records we can think of transmute DAW-composed rhythmic precision into such an expressive instrumental performance. It really is a feat of determination, skill and execution that seems to defy human dexterity.
Make no mistake - an academic exercise it ain’t - in the most visceral sense, goat (JP) make BODY music, for dancing, flailing, for losing yourself in completely. As usual, Hino plays guitar, backed by bassist Atsumi Tagami, while Akihiko Ando joins on saxophone, while Takafumi Okada and Rai Tateishi step in to handle percussion, with the latter moonlighting on flute. Every sound is sculpted into a fragment of cadence: guitar and bass prangs alternately echo and dance between the drums, and Ando's sax is mutated into a respiratory slobber of guttural smacks and phantom breaths.
In some respects, it's tempting to label it jazz, but the kind of jazz that Miles Davis spearheaded on the game-changing 'On The Corner', the blueprint for so much post-punk, electronic music and avant rock. goat (JP) take that raw alloy and sharpen it like a blade, mangling the template with the knotty metrics of Autechre or Ryoji Ikeda. The accuracy is galvanic; it's almost impossible to comprehend each player keeping a mental note of the mathematical time signatures, and yet they floss them out with trills and icy stutters that seem to evaporate around the thick, taiko-like thuds.
They practically get our teeth gnashing with the bruxist rictus chatter of ‘III I IIII III’ , before ‘Cold Heat’ introduces subtly harmonised, new aspects to their sound with slivers of Hassellian flute and ringing overtones of their percussion, while the winding sensuality of ‘Warped’ slips down very nicely. Their links to OG no-wavers like Glenn Branca & Wharton Tiers’ Theoretical Girls - is manifest in the 8 mins of chipping stop/start pulse and parry to ‘Modal Flower’, while a total left turn into Mark Fell-meets-Ligeti-esque messed up metronomics in ‘GMF’ ties it off with a properly beguiling flourish.
An absolute assault on the senses that will leave you feeling physically wrecked and spiritually uplifted, we really gotta say - nobody else is doing it like this.