Wednesday, February 10, 2010

High Rise-BLACK BOX VOLUMES 1 and 2 10-CD set (Illegal Alien/La Musica, Germany)

Remember a good five or so years back when some enterprising souls were releasing their own Les Rallizes Denudes box sets? They came in quantities of ten disques per "title", and as far as I can tell all of them were being sold on ebay. You couldn't miss 'em if you were a fan of that group like I am. True the cover art on these boxes was dippy home computer stilted cheapo crankout, but despite the low budget these sets featured a wide variety of tracks spanning that epochal Japanese group's three decade career. And the material that was used was, true, at times picked from previously-released offerings (which had almost instantly gone o.p.) but these sets covered a lotta ground especially for those of us who were just then discovering this purposefully obscure entity. I've lost count as to how many of these CD-R sets there were (frankly I pretty much skipped on most of the latterday releases other'n the one recorded in France that was rumored to have Maureen Tucker sitting in on drums), but there were at least seven, and even at the seemingly whopping price of $75 a smack for ten tea coasters I thought they were a pretty good bargain. Of course I had loads of money to toss out back then, and thankfully I dished out for the more important ones because it's old items like these that keep me going through times of no money than no money keeps me going through times of these old items! Or something like that, I think.

All kidding aside, the krauts who released those Denudes sets also put forth a few boxes worth of Japanese underground rock of a decidedly non-Rallizes bent. One was a collection of a number of Japanese underground groups of a more modern variety barnstorming their way across Europe and the United States with their total distorted, clipped and cropped sound that was akin to sticking one's head in the mixmaster. The other featured tracks exclusively by one of the groups from that tour, High Rise. They're a still-functioning trio that had wormed their way into the already wormy hearts of many a nineties underground rock aficionado with their extreme overdrive sound and heck, I even remember reviewing what I believe was their debut US of Whoa album in the pages of some underground crud read way back in those dank days of alternative-to-what? confusion. I'm still searching for that record which is languishing somewhere in about 35 years of albums gathering dust in my basement, but until I do find the darned thing I'll just spin this collection which I'm sure will help resensify my already-ailing brain synapses and just might help YOU TOO live a fulfilling, healthier lifestyle.

Nanjo Asahito might not exactly be another Mizutani Takashi (he of Rallizes fame), but he's sure boss enough as the ringleader of this group which, like LSD March and a slew of other Nipponese underground entities, seems to feed off of the psychedelic madness that Les Rallizes Denudes inflicted on the few who were lucky enough to experience their music throughout their sporadic existence. Not that High Rise are some carbon copy of Rallizes and the vast array of Japanese groups who claim undying homage...far from it, for where Takashi and the Rallizes guys would intersperse their atonal feedback howls with ballads and even updated fifties riffage to do Peter Laughner proud High Rise takes it to you with total overload atonal thrust with no break in sight. Kinda like Blue Cheer with an even more feral ideal, or Motorhead taken overboard to the sonic disembowelment of "Sister Ray". No quarters asked or given here brother! You may shake, you may shudder, but High Rise are the facts of (rockism) life!!!

And you can bet that it's all HARD AND HEAVY and without the marshmallow as High Rise singlehandedly bring back the Golden Age of Heavy Metal (not the simplistic fluff that has posed as metal these past thirty-five years) with their high energy sound and inspiration that draws from everyone from Blue Cheer and the Velvet Underground to all of those sadistic Japanese performance artists who like to shove thin slivers of steel into their veins. The guitar riffs are straight out of FUNHOUSE's musical college of metallic knowledge (that is, if you still consider that platter to be the ultimate in bared-knuckle HM that made Ted Nugent wet his loincloth in jealousy) destroyed even more by Asahito's up and down the scales loose goose playing. And really, I can't think of anything noisier, gratier and downright earwig-bending as High Rise unless you want to count some mad Japanese free jazz record by some guy who sepuku'd himself outta existence only a few short days afterwards.

For the sake of brevity let's just say that these ten disques are the perfect distillation of the Japanese underground rock infatuation with the Velvet Underground at their most psychic ("not" emotional, as Wayne McGuire once wrote) coupled with that strange ideal of violent lifesexdeath that permeates their culture all rolled up into a pretty noisy package. Whatever, it's bound to knock off frilly Velvets-pretenders like J. Neo Marvin at ten paces, and we know we could sure use a lot more music like that these days!


Bill said...

Thanks for NOT retiring. I actually LOOK FORWARD to twice-weekly Blog To Comm posts...and yes, I DO have a life! :-)
I assume you got a ton of snow in Sharon-Hermitage. Brad said Pittsburgh got 25 inches. Kendra is back in town for the weekend, and I'm taking her out tonight (early V-Day) for German food and live polka entertainment in New Braunfels, TX, a city that still is an enclave of German culture here in South Texas...and that actually gets GERMAN TOURISTS! So the food has to be authentic.
Hope you have a good rest of the weekend. I was just listening to the old 1973 vinyl on FIESTA IN DRUMS by Christian Vander and Frank Raholison on the french "palm" label, which I've owned since high school. Great drum solos and duets. Also, I finally heard the Andrew Cyrille solo percussion album on BYG-Actuel this week, one of few Actuels I'd never heard. It's incredible! Speaking of Vander, were you ever into MAGMA???

Bill S.

Christopher said...

Magma...I actually had a flea market copy of MAGMA LIVE in high school which only goes to show you how that album went from brand new to cutout to flea market fodder within a year! I do remember "kinda sorta" as Beaver would say liking that one at the time but I sold the thing probably because it didn't gel enough with my own personal aesthetics. About fifteen years back I found a copy of INEDITS at yet another flea market and although I didn't care for it I haven't bothered to get rid of the thing perhaps wanting to give it another try in the future. I also have the debut set on CD which I bought from Jade Hubertz which I have played twice without having much success absorbing whatever it was they were trying to do on it. Sorta like Chicago gone European in my opinion.

However, considering how Magma have been such a must-hear group amongst some of the lesser minions of fandom (read: Dave Lang) their appeal seems to turn me off with each passing day, and for good reason I would guess.

planckzoo said...

I need to find that high rise set, they are an awesome band.
Nice to see you have unretired!