Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
Makoto Kawabata, driving force behind Acid Mothers Temple, claims to have been drawn to avant-garde compositions in his youth since they mirrored the fucked up noises he perpetually heard in his noggin as a tot.
If you haven’t heard Terry Riley=EDs 1964 minimalist masterstroke “In C,” then trust me, it ain’t something you’d want blaring in your head all fuggin’ day. Even-octave eighth notes known as “the pulse” are incessantly drummed on the top two Cs of a keyboard for 45-to-90-minutes. Fifty-three tiny figures of score are played and repeated over-n-over in order by a number of musicians, with the placement of downbeats and length of rests totally up to the performer’s whim and improvisational savvy. Sounds form tiny worlds and micro-worlds. Clouds of woodwinds smash against the clatter of vibraphones, ebbing and flowing, swelling and dissipating, creating accidental melodies and clouds of noisy mindfuckery. Both comforting and maddening, Riley’s “In C” is a journey that one gets lost in and can’t really escape from. It’s certainly not “minimal” by any stretch of the imagination, although it’s grating repetitiveness is an obvious influence on such equally abrasive avant-gardists as Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
That being said, the Hawkwind-meets-Stockhausen hard-rock/musique concrete organization Acid Mother Temple attempts to cover the damn thing on their (aptly titled) LP In C. AMT approach it a little slower, sounding like a deliberate, sludgy version of Philip Glass covering Black Sabbath. “The pulse” is given a breath of life by some spirited Krautrock drumming and the mainly synth-driven textures overlap and blur, making the composition seem downright monolithic. Where Riley would create tiny musical worlds through syncopation, the lugubrious synths of Acid Mothers just dog pile on one another creating a thick, black wall. If Riley’s “In C” was a rolling fog, AMT’s is an erupting volcano, a thick blast of untouchable, slow-moving goo deliberately sliding down and absorbing everything in its wake.
In C also includes the Krautrocky guitar shatterings of “In E” and the La Monte Young-esque drone experiment “In D.” A perfect document for anyone who likes seminal avant-garde compositions, but doesn’t think they sound enough like bulldozers slowly peeling open your skull cap.