19th of May 2016 by Otomo Yoshihide x Paal Nilssen-Love


Out on June 15 is 19th of May 2016 by Otomo Yoshihide & Paal Nilssen-Love (CD/DL; PNL Records) with a striking cover art by Lasse Marhaug who also mixed and mastered the recording. Neither artist has a Soundcloud presence and nothing about the album is streaming online anywhere at press time. The duo have many previous work under their belts with the Norwegian drummer rattling the kit with extraordinary percussion, and the Japanese composer exposing his infamous shrieking guitar antics. Together they loosen and stir up some serious sonic dust. This was recorded live in Russia by Maxim Khaikin at DOM Cultural Center and consists of two lengthy pieces, Cat and Dog, respectively.

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Nilssen-Love is most assertive the yin to Yoshihide’s prolific shredding yang. The strings flare in reverb and are barely ever quiet throughout, and when they are, its with looming presence. This is most evident midway through this dedication to the feline, where the uncomfortable elongated silence leads into the tiniest sound minutia from both players, and a centered chime. Without electronics, samples or even field recordings they develop an analytical set of polyrhythmic microsound effects, that eventually breaks waves into a field of collected chaos. The squawk of the guitar is pretty epic here – and both players are atonally consistent in conversation in this explosion of free-thinking noise. It’s as if two wild-eyed young German prog rockers had a baby with Sun Ra’s Arkestra, froze themselves cryogenically and once they awoke from a deep sleep were slapped onto stage immediately, embedded with a smart chip. Of course, nothing could be further from reality. For all this generated noise you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium.

Dog starts with a cavalcade of drumming that sounds more like the big finish than the intro. It sounds like the arms of Ganesha at work, and not those of one man. So much adrenaline, so lil’ time. Actually the track goes for nearly a half-hour, so his field is wide open, and awake. It’s a big fusion from these two making the space filled by what otherwise articulates as a huge collective. And through the wall of sound comes Oshihide’s quieter signatures which are some of his best here, framing the breadth and range of his musicality. It has a bit of a death toll, and yet it’s so intimate, the emotion comes across as if he’s lost someone important in his life. This wailing starts to sound animalistic, with pedal pulsations and electric static. The chords are off the board, the guitar cries in mourning, in anger. And the soft brushing of drum pads soothes the soul. They take turns playing, back and forth, individually and in union, finding unexpected synergies in an amazing interpretative game of cat n’ dog, in the end circling each other repeatedly until they’ve torn the listening space to shreds. It’s not for the weak-hearted.

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