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Monday, March 28, 2011

Seventh Seal, Japan

Seventh Seal - s/t. 1997 Acme (released in England).

So it pretty much starts here for Makoto Kawabata, mastermind behind the Acid Mothers Temple franchise (though technically Kawabata was in Toho Sara and Musica Transonic prior to this). To be honest, I wish I was a big fan of his work, as he is involved with scores of albums - all in a style that I happen to love. Except he has no sense of restraint. Everything goes through the wringer so that there isn't one drop left. Guitar feedback overload for 40 minutes makes one nauseous after while. It's like those bad SNL skits, where the first 30 seconds are funny and the next 5 minutes are painful. Good thing Kawabata didn't jam with Terry Brooks in the mid 70s. Ay-chee-wah-wah. Of course, it would be a false statement for me to say I've heard all of his albums. Only a small fraction, and there are a couple of albums by AMT that are well worth the effort. And as a guest musician, his hit rate is even better (most recently with the French group Aquaserge).

All of this to say that his start here with Seventh Seal was most promising. His chance encounter with Gary Ramon (Sun Dial, Quad, owner of Acme Records) must have proven to be highly enlightening for Kawabata (in both sound and label activity). The side long opener in fact sounds somewhat like Quad, with wordless female vocals, which also recalls the group Floating Flower (one of Kawabata's early era bands). Side two features a fetching psychedelic ethnic Japanese track before launching into the closer, our first indication that Kawabata didn't have much use for an editor. Still, an overall delightful psychedelic effort. This should be one of the Holy Grail pieces for AMT fans (I'm sure there are many). Within the next month, I also plan on featuring the Prescription Drug album by the Holy Angels, who most assuredly is another effort from Kawabata (and likely Seventh Seal).

Priority: 3

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