Nazoranai, photo by Scott Simpson, musicians performing onstage

“the most painful time / happens only once
/ has it arrived already..?”

Shrill female vocal plasma whistling through pincer-sharp percussion from Oren Ambarchi. Keiji Heino’s heinous guitar squalls with the treble-o-meter cranked past 11 – say 15, as if to invent itself a new standard gauge inside the music’s structure.

Power electronics gulping down decompression chambers of air — stifled air, unclean, dirt full and lacking future function.

But this is not a gruesome live document, but ultimately a terrifically cathartic one. No wall-of-noise doom, rather noise with a broom. The accented sweeps between instruments are bolshy exercises in multiplicity expanse — see Haino’s electric guitar ascending from the abyss at 16:22 to veer the record closer to black metal, or especially when Ambarchi manhandles his drums to create a frisson pattern, building up the rhythm into ‘Wolves In The Throne Room’-like blasts. That’s just the LP’s first track.

The tracks themselves, like the name of the album, are poetically titled by Heino in meta language (here extra space is added from some words), masquerading as signifiers to alter expectations of the sound and meaning this disc carries. William Bennett, writing in The Wire in 2007, comments on the lack of typos in Heino’s texts: “it’s all incredibly carefully placed so that there’s not even a comma out of place. If something appears to be wrong, it’s an example of meta language[…] It overrides the conscious mind to such an extent that it can’t cope with it anymore. So you have to rely on your unconscious to process that. And once you have access to the unconscious, that’s when you can start affecting a person on a deeper level”. It’s a schematic that is almost an antithesis of Carl Rogers’ principles of “unconditional positive regard” and “non-judgemental” psychotherapeutic reasoning. The noise of Nazoranai is predicated on a type of emotional serration in the soundscape; yet an overload of incongruence is never reached, thanks to a Death In Vegas-style dirge on the second, vital piece.

The second half of the LP revels in synthesised meltdowns of what went before it. The eponymous title track consists of elongated “oi”s and “aah”s playing over a tribal backbeat and archaic feedback. When looking back at the tumult that occurred it would seem the most painful time only happened only once, and it arrived long before this record was played.

Photo by Scott Simpson

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