Boomkat Product Review:
Prolific Japanese legend Keiji Haino descends on Sub Pop of all places with a hypnotic noise-folk mantra made using Turkish saz and Haino's typically emotive vocals. Bonkers and brilliant, obviously.
It's hard to know exactly what you're gonna get with a Haino release. One album might be thundering electronic splatter-noise, another might be torched psychedelic rock, and a different one could be heartstring-tugging folk or just bells, gongs and vocal scree. Since the early 1970s, the Japanese original has released hundreds of recordings and performed thousands of times, he's collaborated with artists as diverse as Boris, John Zorn and Peter Brötzmann, and been active in a variety of different bands. He's best known for playing guitar and lending his unmistakable wail to recordings, but he's just as likely to empty an orchestra pit and show off his prowess with any number of instruments, or jam with a hurdy-gurdy.
'Whenever wherever...' is a defiant, low-key offering from Haino, and might be his most exceptionally rewarding in ages. Stripped to the bone, it's performed on saz, a long-necked lute type instrument also known as the bağlama that's commonly used in Turkish music. The ghosted, trebly shimmer is aptly matched with Haino's booming voice, lurching from a pained squeal to a heartfelt murmur as Haino casually draws lines between Japanese traditional music, Ottoman classical, and European outsider folk. Unlike so many of his recordings, this one isn't even something you need to break down particularly - if you're interested in anything from vintage Laurel Canyon sounds to Digitalis, Fonal, and Stroom, even Japanese ensemble Maher Shalal Hash Baz, this one's well worth a closer look.