LIMITED EDITION VINYL LP AND CD.
BOTH VERSIONS HAVE MATT BLACK SLEEVES WITH METALLIC SILVER INK PRINTING.
THE MAIN VINYL EDITION WAS LIMITED TO 750 COPIES ON BLACK VINYL. A
SPECIAL MAIL ORDER ONLY EDITION OF 200 RED VINYL COPIES WAS ALSO
PRESSED. ON TOP OF THIS, THERE WERE APPROX 50 COPIES ISSUED IN AN
ALTERNATIVE WHITE & SILVER SLEEVE
THIS ALBUM WAS REISSUED
ON VINYL (CLARET OR BLUE COLOURED VINYL) IN 2013
LP & CD Tracklisting
1. Cockamamie (1:51)
2. Black Sky (15:17)
3. M (18:37)
'Mellow Out' was the
pinnacle of achievement for guitar driven brain crushing madness from
the Japanese trio consisting of Asahito Nanjo (High Rise), Makoto
Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple) and Hajime Koizumi. Originally released
on CD back in 1996 on the Charnel label, the pressing quickly
disappeared and has been unavailable ever since making it one of the
most sort after masterpiece's of the Japanese underground. Now brought
back to life not only on CD but for the first time ever on limited vinyl
ASAHITO NANJO - Bass Guitar / Vocals
HAJIME KOIZUMI - Drums
MAKOTO KAWABATA - Motor Psycho Guitar
‘Mellow Out’ was originally released by Charnel Music 1996 (CHCD-19)
licensed to Riot Season 2003 with thanks to Mason Jones.
Just like a heavy-er,
psychedelic-er High Rise, in fact - a guitar line, some vocals, then a
'lead' 'break' of so phenomenal a level of crazed distortion that I had
trouble persuading my CD player not to implode. Now that hard-psych
options for non-cretins are reduced to either records made by old men
that I'd rather not have to sit through or a suckers-only market where
big losers pay big liars big money for little records, this is what
amp-worship should sound like.
Where other artists will have you tearing off the CD and slamming it
into the toaster in frustration, Mainliner is choc-a-bloc with
riffs'n'hooklines, as well as gimmicks to keep you listening and devices
to sneak you in the back door. Mainliner are never reduced to chordless
pedestrian pseudo-jazz like so many Noise bands, never drywanking the No
New York kerb crawl beloved of art-dweebs worldwide. Instead, they are
forever maintaining and sustaining a constant and practised bulldozer-y
heavy-in-concert rockness that keeps the showman at play, but not the
shaman at bay. These are skilled magicians and master technicians
practising an odd and thoroughly honed form of sonic healing. Rock!
COPE / HEAD HERITAGE
Mainliner sound nothing like the Ruins and are only slightly reminiscent
of AMT; it's a perverse experiment in motorpsycho,
heavier-than-you-can-imagine rawk noise. Vocals are heard, but
indistinguishable, while Nanjo's bass plods mercilessly ahead. Koizumi
moves like lightning around his kit, crashing cymbals and banging away
like he's drilling a hole into a concrete wall. And then Kawabata is
thrown into the mix, and what might've maintained some semblance of
sanity begins sounding completely demented. This is easily some of the
sickest psychedelia you might ever hear. The distortion is relentless,
mounting in a hallucinatory haze of fuzz and feedback. Not for the meek,
and don't let the title fool you.
This vital piece of the Japanese psychedelic rock scene is finally
seeing a reissue courtesy of Riot Season. Up to now the number of
references to this album I've found in the description of other records
vs the number of copies of this I've actually seen available for
purchase have been enormously disproportionate. Boasting the membership
of Asahito Nanjo (of High Rise), Makoto Kawabata (of Acid Mothers
Temple, and countless others), and Hajime Koizumi, it's no wonder this
album is of great note. High Rise and Acid Mothers Temple (mostly just
Electric Heavyland) give you a ballpark estimation of what Mainliner are
about: heavy rock, psychedelic solos, and noise. The 35-minute album is
split into three tracks. The opener, "Cockamamie," stands out
as it's under 2 minutes! The drums distort beyond recognition, the bass
grooves on beneath the rhythmic chaos, and Kawabata's guitar stretches
its legs for a quick minute and a half solo. Then the real workout
begins. "Black Sky" clocks in at a brutal 15:17. Asahito's
reverb soaked vocals pepper the first few minutes as the band holds the
same riff. Shortly after he stops singing, the floor drops out, and
Kawabata's guitar loses control. The drums and bass speed to a blur,
matching Kawabata's noise, but the guitar gymnastics steal the show,
giving more than enough fodder for calling Makoto a "guitar
god," as many have done in the past. The more than eighteen minutes
long "M" closes out the album very strongly. There's more of a
"song" with parts that act as a verse, a (for lack of a better
term) chorus, and, of course, a solo. After Kawabata spends 7 minutes
abusing the listener with a mind splitting solo, Mainliner reign him in
and bring the main riff back, and the vocals return. Makoto sharpens his
teeth and after a short respite jumps back in, creating a wall of bedlam
that seems to almost overtake the bass and drums which is replaced for a
short coda of the main riff before devolving into complete chaos and
ending in a heap of feedback and crashes.
In three tracks totaling thirty short minutes, Mainliner obliterates
everything in its path. “Black Sky” lays down a thick, plodding riff
until Makoto Kawabata’s “motorpsycho guitar” and drummer Hajime
Kozumi explode four minutes later. In one swift second, a Sabbath-sized
weight alights into the air and gravity disappears. When that riff
becomes a furious free-for-all, in that single moment of transition, the
skies clear and the storm clouds turn sunny. Kozumi rattles on his snare
and then drops away.
Not for long, however.
Distortion becomes a fourth member of the band, the fog through which
recognizable elements sometimes emerge. Drums tumble, crash, and clatter
everywhere while guitar scree and squall circle relentlessly. Eventually
they regain their footing and return to The Riff while Nanjo’s phantom
vocals sit above the bog. These vocals hardly exist; they are shadows
without any object, reverberation with little articulated content.
Relatively speaking, this could be called a breather, until four minutes
later when another eruption pulls the rug out. Around fifteen minutes
after beginning, the fury somehow subsides.
“M” establishes a bottomless crunch that would send Blue Cheer
hiding behind their stacked Marshalls. Nanjo and Kozumi stick together
on a riff and rhythm as Kawabata peels into the fiery heights of his
guitar. On occasion he descends from the skies to add more mess to the
low end – these are moments when the equipment might just give up the
fight. No sound is distinct. The volume is too high, the distortion too
thick; the speakers rumble in exhilarated pain.
Originally released in 1996, Mainliner’s Mellow Out quickly sold out
its pressing and hid among the ghosts of underground myth and record
collector whispering. Those who heard the record proclaimed it as a
pinnacle of Japanese heavy psychedelic music, one of the heaviest
records to emerge from perhaps the heaviest scene on the planet. Even
seven years later, after a few more releases by Asahito Nanjo’s High
Rise, and after a mountainous output from the Acid Mother’s Temple,
this album should not be discarded as just another record in the genre.
Mellow Out is not the speed garage of High Rise, nor the precision prog
of The Ruins, nor the cosmic trip of the Acid Mothers Temple. It is a
pure distortion meltdown with little regard for the limitations of time,
rhythm, or volume.
Asahito Nanjo said that the terrorizing levels on Mellow Out were done
out of love. Mellow Out, and perhaps the entire output of these Japanese
guitar gods, reflects not only a love of volume, but also a love of
inflating every musical excess hard rock had to offer.
At last, a reissue of the debut album from Japanese heavy psych trio
Mainliner. It came out on Charnel Music in '96, but has been out of
print for a long while now and with its unavailability has grown in
stature. Of course, it's a great record, the one that Acid Mothers
Temple were trying to emulate on their recent "Electric Heavyland"
set. And yep, it does feature AMT's Kawabata Makoto on 'motorpsycho'
guitar, along with free jazzer Hajime Koizumi on drums and bassist Nanjo
Asahito of the legendary High Rise. Mainliner always was just a slight
variant on the High Rise template (themselves a variant on the Les
Rallizes Denudes template it seems), formed originally by Nanjo 'cause
his High Rise bandmates were averse to touring and he wanted to take his
rock on the road, or so the story goes. Anyway, this disc was
Mainliner's first and best, all players outdoing themselves in the
realms of psychedelic heavy garage improv distortion overload. So, if
you missed it the first time around, now's your chance to experience
this classic. It's nice to have it back in just 'cause now we're
listening to it again and we'd forgotten how great it is. Rock!
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