If there’s one thing Kawabata Makoto need not worry about, it’s disappointing his audience. Have you seen the people that see Acid Mothers Temple live in their myriad formations? These people live for weirdness. Hand them a Hawkwind album and they’ll say “hmm, I see what you mean, but there’s only two tracks over eight minutes…”, or complain that it’s too tonal. With Interstellar Guru And Zero, Makoto and The Melting Paraise UFO (the latest incarnation of the many-monikered collective) fans will have plenty to smile about. A largely atonal mash of electronics and Makoto’s guitar is the sole content of the first track, and it clocks in at a shade under 19 minutes. The second and final track is a more blissed-out, chordally strident and longer version of the first, clocking in at 39 minutes.
But this is such a safe brand of quirkiness. AMT have not always reverted to wool-over-the-eyes tactics, and it’s a shame that they could be doing so here. The trap that Makoto and his fans fall into here is to be blinded by sheer length and grandeur. Both of these compositions suffer from lack of discernible development and monotony. Experimental scholars might protest that such statements might come from the kind of person that would dismiss certain musics as ‘just noise’, but this would be to miss the point totally. Noise can evolve, noise can batter into submission when balanced by relief, noise can physically affect. Kawabata Makoto knows this, but on Interstellar Guru And Zero he opts for the easy way out. The only real evolution comes on the first track, 'Astral Projection From The Holy Shangrila', when the mash becomes just about worn and we are delivered into a more sedate restatement of the opening acoustic strum.
Makoto’s genius lies in offering the merest hint of development over epic structures, just enough to keep a listener’s interest. Over the course of those structures, the changes become more noticeable (the process could be likened to becoming accustomed to the dark), and it becomes, literally, cosmic listening. It can be pretty far-out. Previous triumphs like 'Pink Lady (You’re So Sweet)' are AMT at their strongest. An inviting first riff, manipulated in meter and tempo, daubed in noise and take to hell and back over the course of an hour. Not Interstellar Guru And Zero. The intellect has fallen from this release, but will be seen as a worthy addition by those that privilege uncontrolled weirdness and sheer grandiose scale over the smart deployment of those elements.
5Daniel Ross's Score