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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Acid Mothers Temple and The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
Mantra of Love
Alien8 Recordings

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Over the last few years, the Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. (Universal Freak Out) have put together a spectacular catalog. Their output has been prolific to say the least. In fact, at this pace, the Acid Mothers Temple and other Kawabato Makoto-related projects are in danger of making Bob Pollard look like he's slacking. The latest effort from Japan's premier psychedelic space rock collective is a two track EP titled Mantra of Love, which clocks in at a robust 45 minutes.

The opening track, "La Le Lo," is credited as an Occitan traditional piece that opens with Cotton Casino's soothing vocals and Kawabato Makoto on the electric sitar. Tsuyama Atsushi's bass provides a barely audible foundation underneath the plucked sitar and swirling vocals. The AMT draws this trance-inducing state out for a good six minutes, as they build at a snail's pace. Six minutes into "La Le Lo," everything opens up and the AMT let go. Koizumi Hajime's drums kick in at a furious tempo, and Higashi Hiroshi's synths take off for the stratosphere. The electric sitar rolls between channels, bleeps and blips from the synth populate the sky, while the drums and bass tag along for this solar joy ride.

The AMT are all about creating atmosphere with their music, and thankfully, it is what they do best. From the dreamy sitar and vocal play that open "La Le Lo," they seamlessly transition into a fiery sky-bound ride full of spectacular bursts of energy.

The catch is that when the AMT have reached their apex, they instantly drop back to Makoto's quiet sitar and Casino's delicate vocals for another five minutes. The final crescendo is even greater than the first as AMT rockets the listener higher than they have ever been before: Makoto's guitar howls, and the synths whirl with a new found purpose before closing "La Le Lo" out.

The second and final track of Mantra of Love, "L'Ambition dans le Miroir" is a more straightforward psychedelic space rock affair, opening with a synth bouncing between channels as Hajime's drums set a laid back tempo. Instead of the sense of flying given by "La Le Lo", "L'Ambition dans le Miroir" offers the more soothing sensation of floating down a river on a crystal clear night, stars burning. Cotton Casino's vocals dance among the synth and guitar washes.

Listening to Mantra of Love it is easy to realize why the Acid Mothers Temple are quickly making such a name for themselves here in the U.S., and why their native Japan could only hope to hold them for so long. The EP is vibrant and richly textured: More amazing is the sustained energy the Acid Mothers Temple keep through the entirety of each song.

Five minutes of Acid Mothers Temple would exhaust some of the strongest bands I've heard, yet AMT go at it for 10, 15, and 25 minutes at a time, all the while keeping things interesting. Every burst of energy is controlled yet nothing feels contrived. Even if AMT continues to produce music at such a prolific rate, as long as it is of the quality of Mantra of Love, they have a bright future ahead of them.

Reviewed by Craig Mertes
Craig lives, works and listens to music in the general vicinity of Orlando, Florida, where he absorbs everything from hip-hop to indie, pop, rock, punk and metal. His all time favs include Hum, Clutch, Dismemberment Plan, and the Reverend Horton Heat. The last we heard, Craig was spinning Vast Aire, Soul Position, Blues Explosion, Motörhead, the Blood Brothers and Dead Meadow. Craig is also a life-long, die-hard Cubs fan, so lay off.

See other reviews by Craig Mertes



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