Mattin's quartet in the 4th of his "Songbook" series, a concert from Tokyo, where the musicians create "songs" on the spot with bizarre and unexpected results.
Songbook Vol. 4
Label: Azul Discografica
Released in: USA
"Ah, OK, what can we make of this? I'm apparently one of the few earthly denizens who enjoyed Mattin's first volume in the "Songbook" series on Hibari, a raucous, snarled set of improvised rock songs sounding (if this is possible) like a less studied version of DNA. I've missed the interim entries, vols. 2 & 3, though I somehow doubt there's any discernible "career arc" happening. This is a live set, a very recent one (July 5, 2006), recorded in Tokyo by a rather all-star quintet: Mattin (vocals, guitar), Taku Unami (bass, piano), the excellent Anthony Guerra and, from down the hall in the toilet, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Tomoya Izum.
It's a brief disc, the six "songs" presented in a single 22-minute track. Supremely lo-fi and unbalanced, Mattin maybe singing into his computer mic (I say, "singing" but of course other words would serve better: growling, shrieking, sobbing, howling, gurgling, etc.), Guerra alternating between harsh clusters and relatively delicate plucking. Unami's bass playing, given his predilection for computer-animated toys, is surprisingly funky. Cracks me up when, after a given eructative song, Mattin demurely says to the audience, "Thank you very much, thank you." In addition to DNA, the clear precedent for this approach seems to be Zorn's "Locus Solus" project from the early 80s. For my money, this works better, here largely due to Guerra's playing which, as usual, I find very compelling. That said, "Songbook vol 4" is at best going to be an acquired taste for most listeners. Dealing with Mattin's personality, as out front as it is here, ain't no easy thing. The final track, "Apologies", finds him bawling his head off. If he's faking it, it's a disturbingly convincing fraud. I don't know. That's also the section in which one can discern Guionnet and Izumi contributing from, apparently, a toilet far off mic."-Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen
At The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:
Rock and Related
Song Based Music
Unusual Vocal Forms
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Label: Azul Discografica
Catalog ID: azd02
Squidco Product Code: 8729
Recorded live at Enban, 5th July, 2006 in Tokyo.
Taku Unami-bass, piano
Jean Luc Guionnet-sax
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