Shinji Masuko | Woven Music

Brah/Jagjaguwar (2011)
By MATT PARISH  |  May 6, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

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It's tempting to point to the recent tsunami in Japan as having a heavy cosmic connection with Shinji Masuko's first solo record, a full-immersion blackout of churning, oceanic drones and melodic eddies. But Japan is an island nation, and so much of its art draws on the sea for inspiration — Hokusai's prints of giant waves, Godzilla emerging from the ocean, Merzbow's crashing layers of noise, and the tides of adrenaline summoned by the Boredoms (whom Masuko has performed with for the past several years). So, evocative of tidal waves and salty spray? Defs. Destructive and terrifying? Farthest thing from it. The fact that Masuko himself drove around in his tour van delivering goods to shelters all over the coast should tell you what's up. This record offers two big tracks that take us far out from the '70s stoner blues jams that frequent Masuko's work in DMBQ: the eight-minute acoustics-and-synths-drone opener, and the 10-minute closer, which leans more heavily on squiggly electric guitars and pitch-shifting effects. Of the two, the first one ("Woven Music for Blue Steppe") feels better — Masuko's deft hands on the classical guitar punch through the creaky keyboard buzzing for a bizarro-world Penderecki effect, where scads of chaotic debris burn up into one ecstatic creation.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Japanese, Jagjaguwar,  More more >
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