MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O.
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1. Cosmic Introduction (3:08)
‘Minstrel In The Galaxy’ is the sound of the newly slimmed down four-piece AMT recorded in their smoke filled basement Studio in Nagoya during summer 2004. The sounds captured on these three tracks are the first post-Cotton Casino AMT workouts. The diminutive beer and cigarettes goddess has upped sticks and moved to the USA to start a new life and plan her solo career. We’ll miss her that’s for sure but we can’t worry about that now, AMT have another ten albums to lay down before New Year.
The AMT line up for this album features the core trio of Makoto Kawabata (Guitar), Atsushi Tsuyama (Monster Bass), Hiroshi Higashi (Guitar & effects) and new permanent drummer (and ex-Mainliner man) Hajime Koie (Drums). The free jazz style drumming from Hajime has helped give AMT their sense of improvisation back, most of their work is improvised and recorded live to tape which gives that great loose feel they have that takes them off on tangents and makes each new record that little bit different from the last. And with this new studio album I think we can safely say it’s something of a new direction.
They’re joined on this album by Japanese underground queens AFRIRAMPO, who’ve just finished a tour with Sonic Youth and look set for big things themselves in the near future. Musically this album is a slight departure for AMT, anyone buying it expecting a head-melting riff heavy record are going to be disappointed.
To these ears ‘Minstrel In The Galaxy’ sounds darker and more stripped down that any previous AMT release. The title track alone lasts a staggering 41 minutes, over the course of which the band take our heads in a few gentle directions before letting rip towards it’s crushing finale. For me it’s the gentle openings that make me tick, I love the way it rolls for what seems like ever just going round and round in your head. You almost expect it to explode way before it does and that my friends is the art of foreplay AMT style!
Acid Mothers Temple get their freak on so frequently it’s almost impossible to keep up with the flood of sounds coming from their camp. Minstrel In The Galaxy is the latest full-length from Kawabata Makoto and co., and it’s a bold departure for those tuned-in only to the group’s speaker shredding, high-octane freakouts.
While Makoto’s electric guitar still hangs heavily over the recording, and Tsuyama Atsushi’s fingers remained glued to the strings of his “Monster Bass,” the music here is relatively subdued. Every good trip must have its peak, and the band releases the rock on occasion, but the majority of the record highlights the more subtle, meandering side of the band.
Two brief tracks — at least by AMT standards — bookend the disc, providing warm-up for and cool-down from the massive, 40-minute title track. “Cosmic Introduction” is a soft folk melody played on acoustic guitar that eventually folds into a lush wash of female vocals and warm drones. “St. Bel Canta” recycles the melody from the intro, and builds it into a smoky, late-night hymn.
“Minstrel In The Galaxy” begins softly, with brushed cymbals and plucked strings. It’s like listening to a hot-shit jazz group warming up for a gig on the red sands of Mars. Floating female vocals — courtesy of current AMT protégés Afrirampo — add to the futuristic lounge feel. As the band gains momentum, wordless wails screech through the mix while lumbering bass licks turn the tune into a hypnotic head-nodder. Eventually, after about half an hour, Makoto unleashes his guitar and sets the tune on a course straight for the center of the sun.
You could seriously brown a bong in the time it takes the song to come full circle, and the riffs are the sort that would make any self-respecting stoner slobber. But more impressive is the fact that AMT — a band so prolific that it seems they must burn out eventually — are still releasing song after epic song of wondrously mind-enhancing aural mayhem.
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