Keiji Haino

A Challenge to Fate

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Another solo CD in the expansive catalog of the Japanese enigma, A Challenge to Fate appears on the French independent label Les Disques Du Soleil and is another live recording of Keiji Haino animating his anguish via guitar and vocals. His guitar may at times have acidic qualities that could remove paint, but within the noise he makes there is a fragile quality, and on this recording that vulnerability is at a maximum. Unpredictably diverting his improvisations between a shallow mournful strum and careening feedback storms, this solo recording is as heavy as his work with Fushitsusha, though with the trio his focus is on a linear progression, and somewhat more formulaic rock structure. Solo, he takes more risks, and experiments with worth more shocks and diversions into the unknown. A completely alien music, A Challenge to Fate finds Haino in peak form on this unstable ground, and while there is little room for comfort in his music, one finds euphoric zones within the storm. Celebrated as a guitarist who values provocation over technique, this is a wonderful recording to hear him at his best -- absolutely out of control.

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