Volcanic Tongue (Glasgow, by David Keenan)
August 31st, 2008
TIP OF THE TONGUE
Junko & Mattin
Tochnit Aleph 080
Second brain-peeling instalment of vocal/computer extremity from two masters of the form, Mattin of European avant-punks Billy Bao et al and Junko of Japanese noise legends Hijokaidan. The combination of Junko’s high, otherworldly vocal improvisations and Mattin’s scalpel-sharp electronic environments push the whole flesh-metal equation of modern ecstatic noise into the kinda euphorically violent realms of classics of the form like Harry Pussy’s Let’s Build A Pussy, early Whitehouse, the saxophone eviscerations of Masayoshi Urabe et al., indeed, the first side – a vocal ‘duet’ between Mattin and Junko – feels like a more overtly sound-poetry informed take on the Whitehouse sound circa Total Sex, while parts of the flip, made up of solitary Junko vocals cut up with incisions of symmetrical noise, are so reductively alien that it could almost be a candidate for one of Alan Licht’s legendary Minimalism Top Tens. Either way, it’s a beauty. Highly recommended.
Sound Projector # 17 (UK)
Another Mattin project, this one featuring Junko, the great Japanese screaming lady from Hijokaidan; the pair have infamously collaborated before, to devastating effect. I've no practical advice to offer as to how you might prepare yourself for this one; it's a potent dose of terrifying ultra-noise. The A-side, 'Stop It', is a side-long non-stop blast of insufferable screaming and vicious electronic buzz; it's distressing, painful, and horrific. Personally I admitted defeat in short order, waved my white flag and quickly lifted up my Linn Axis tone-arm away from this continuous shriek. Side B, 'Too Late', is marginally more manageable. The sonic elements are separated out and leavened with silent passages; perhaps it's fragments of the recordings used on the A side. Actually, it's no easier to listen to; although the silence offers some relief, it's twice as painful when the shrieking and electronic reverbed metallic noise bursts rush back in, dealing you a series of sharp and painful body-blows. Plus, the editing is deliberately contrived to provide a completely disjunctive listening experience, the very antithesis of entertainment. Talk about your double whammy! Its presence on Tochnit Aleph may suggest this LP is something of an art-prank, but Mattin and Junko are serious artists; this is one that really challenges the large audience of listeners (including this writer) who would like to enjoy and consume noise records as some sort of slightly perverse entertainment. With this, our secret desires are laid bare, and this toxic spew is thrown back in our faces as we try to get near the trough of feed. Yell 'stop it' as often as you like; nobody will heed your cries for mercy.
ED PINSENT 22/09/2008
Chondritic Sound (USA)
I keep buying these Hijokaidan related things, even if I know it's pretty much hazardous when name "mattin" is on same cover. He did very well in adding sounds to Consumer Electronics, but previous collaboration with Junko I strongly disliked. This LP has two pieces. One side, it's Junko's trademark clean ultra high pitched scream + Mattin's distorted yelling/howling. One simply things if he could shut up for change and leave vocals to vocalist. To me it sounds annoying. Distortion applied to his voice makes it blurred, non aggressive (if it ever was), non interesting. Element what can only annoying and ruin the piece. But when side is turned and he indeed goes back to do lap-top noise, I keep wondering should he actually stayed doing vocals? Junkos screaming is short quick whailing and squeeling, and Mattin squeezes out short synthetical & plastic sounding noises. They stop'n'go like there would be mute switch on for half of the side. I can admit, it is disturbing. It is somewhat "original" and painful, but most of all, it's crappy. It doesn't have any quality what I associate with good noise sound. Flat, synthetic, sometimes even glitchy. What I have to give credit, is great cutting of this LP. Silent moments are 100% silent. No surface noise. Junkos voice is sharp and clear and fierce in very same way as he solo LP. But who's this Mattin dude? Why he seems so famous? Where are his good works? I saw one great gig, but that was just conceptual art/performance, not noise. FreakAnimalFinland
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