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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Z
Mikabe
Transduction

Rating: 7/10 ?


March 2, 2007
What is it with the Japanese? It feels like the true 21st century innovations, in whatever medium they take on be it art or technology, is emanating from Japan. And no more so is this true than in the realm of music. Transduction Records are currently exploring Japan's contemporary musical culture and clearly have their finger on its creative pulse, working with artists intent on pushing the boundaries of improv and alt-rock.

Z is the latest project from members involved in a previous improv collective, TIALTNGO. Those already aware of TIALTNGO's output will know what to expect and will no doubt dig Mikabe. The album is comprised of six songs, four of which are over nine minutes long, which is relatively easy listening in improv terms. That said, it is an album firmly rooted in the improv avant-garde, a melange of dissonant layers of shifting, tension-laden sounds. Insistent, pulsing rhythms that never dramatically change in pace throb remorselessly throughout Mikabe, but this firm, solid foundation provides a kind of tabula rasa over which the guitars and saxophone are allowed play freeform patterns and shape-shift. The protagonists never allow things to get into a groove for too long though, preferring to put their faith in the unpredictable and ensure that repetition is avoided. A kind of relief comes in the shortest track, "Zushiki Man", which is a whirlwind mix of unified saxophone and heavy metal that is given greater sonic emphasis given the fluid disunity of its lengthier neighbours. Overall, Mikabe's a fine effort within the improv avant-garde tradition, capturing the duelling, mind-expanding work of sonic experts in their field.

Reviewed by Mark Thompson


See other reviews by Mark Thompson

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