Konstrukt + Keiji Haino
A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire (Karl; LP/DL)
This is a rare exception to write about a live recording, as being there is always much more impactful to the overall experience of such things. But in this case, the legendary Japanese noisemaker Keiji Haino combines forces with the bent jazz of Turkish quartet, Konstrukt here celebrating their tenth anniversary as a unit. A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire consists of two pieces that run at about forty-four minutes in duration. The coverart is a painting by Artur Trojanowski which nicely conveys the searing glow of what’s about to be unleashed.
Opening promptly with Into A Trap Surely So Elaborately Laid Air Has Entered And A Splendid, Beautiful Monster Now Swims guitar, bells and percussion lean in with drums and other funky sounds emerging. From the outset you can tell you are in for a wild ride as tweeting meets elated drumming and quirky animatronic synth blurps. It’s definitively live. And did I say funky? These five gents got the groove, its suspended and free, but as the pace thickens that drive a collective chaos like a freakish slam dance at its pique fervor. The sax blares, the din whirs every which side. Alive with boundless contortions they come down and land in a frenetic jazz interlude that breaks in midway applause. But you come to realize this is a cosmic shift into a tidal wave of what’s yet to come, and out of these chirps and feedback is a group of musicians ready to let loose. Though in the softened atmosphere a sax screams into blank space as only the most minimal of tinny percussion slowly saws its way back into the setting.
In this time out there is obviously no rest for the weary, bated audience who have no place to hide. The horn and background noise is elongated and just off-center. The final quarter of this piece is a trippy victory march of sorts, but instead of using samples the notches are flipped by grinding together in this collective mosh of joyful noise. The core, even at its most frenetic has a groovy sensibility. Ending in deserved applause.
Part two, if it were broken in two is more an equation than a title: Excess + Analysis / Courage =. That’s spelled analysis over courage for those technical auteurs out there. They have taken a few steps back, allowing the silence of space, echo and reverberation to enter. At first it seems they are drawing sounds like doodling in space, which comes off like motivational flotation, and there’s left-off. It’s much more slow-paced and calculated, though they are showing no seams of this concoction or its ingredients. It’s a sacred, fuzzy math that’s delivered with a nonchalant wryness, yet it’s also science fiction in the making. If they are not using a theremin, they are definitely conjuring one. There are points where the mix sounds middle eastern, and elsewhere inflections of, of all things, Gerry Rafferty and Electric Light Orchestra. Of course this is far from the distilled interludes of 70s pop instrumental tween-ness, it keeps a lid on full-blown psychedelia. In structure, with the addition of curdling yet muffled voice and strumming we get something more on the far side of tribal.
With Dr. Who synths and glassy chimes the piece has a sudden break with applause and intermediate toy toots a go-go the warm up proves these guys offer a broad sound spectrum. Being a huge fan of Miles Davis’ “electric years” these guys seem determined to carry the torch of funky fusion with all the bells, whistles and bumpy roads ahead. The last bits of this are an earful, people — rattle and hum personified! It’s an uprising in the most glorious of tumultuous disquiet. Grab hold of your easy chair as this thing flies into the sweet sonic abyss. Get this + get lost (in music, of course).