Buyer beware: This is not the Goat of 'World Music' etc. Instead this one is a Japanese quartet (drums, bass, guitar, sax) who specialise in terrific and harmonically unusual rhythmic pieces that somehow manage to clatter away at once gently and intensely. Deeply focused and absorbing stuff, this LP from EM is a selection from the band’s two CDs from 2013 and 2015.
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Hey: don’t buy it yet. It’s not Goat. It’s goat. Different bands; different strokes. Where the other, famous one is a pseudo-mysterious psych rock band from some mythical narrative in who cares, this one is a quartet of Japanese experimentalists absolutely toying with the premise of music. No sugar coating them in either story or sound, their sparse square of drums, bass, guitar and sax goes towards frenzied frenetics, with trancing rhythmic work that oozes with tension and implication.
EM are issuing five tracks across two of their old CDs here, giving you a proper primer in the rapidly evolving music they make. The guitars are palm-muted to create a chiming repetitive grain for the percussion to spin to; their best climaxes, as demonstrated on “Solid Eye”, are the the pregnant pauses that break up their flatlining dynamics. Or, scratch that, maybe they’re found in the absolutely storming sax bluster Akihiko Ando sees fit to rain down upon proceedings every once in a while; if you wondered what a super fast, Nisennenmondai inspired version of Fire! might sound like, you should probably listen to “On Fire”, where fickers of guitar match-up against low-register screeches of horn.
Your new favourite band, maybe? They’re becoming mine, a bit. This stuff is so extreme and yet so restrained in its calibration. You can practically hear them sweat it out. Get it and train your brain.
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