Mainliner

Psychedelic Polyhedron

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    8
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First released as an LP in 1997, Mainliner's second album was also the French label Fractal's inaugural release. It was reissued on CD in October 2004, with a new catalog number and an 11-minute bonus track. Comparisons between Makoto Kawabata and Frank Zappa have been flying around ever since the Japanese guru caught the ear of the international underground, but rarely has he come this close to the American guitar hero than on the opening minutes of "Show the Cloven Hoof." His electric wah-wah playing is extremely reminiscent of Zappa's work circa Chunga's Revenge, minus the extra reverb and distortion. And the rhythm section isn't bad either! Actually, as far as Japanese supergroups go, Mainliner was one of the most powerful, drawing equally from the heaviness of Asahito Nanjo's (High Rise) bass, Kawabata's (Acid Mothers Temple) freak-out guitar playing, and Tatsuya Yoshida's (Ruins) impossibly complex drumming. "Show the Cloven Hoof" is a side-long psychedelic rock suite, with solid segments that could have been written down along with noisier jams. "Cardinal Virtues," also a side-long number, delves further into experimentation, with Kawabata exploring noisy textures and Yoshida often playing off the beat. The music comes back to a rockier edge in the last minutes, but it spends most of its duration in the ethereal pastures of AMT's more exploratory realms. "Solid Static," a track recorded at the same studio sessions and added to the CD reissue, is actually a song, with lyrics sung by Nanjo and an overall heavy acid rock stance that is closer to High Rise or Musica Transonic than the previous pieces. The VU needles are deeply in the red on this one, but the mad riff and Kawabata's impossible solos make up for any lack of high fidelity. Psychedelic Polyhedron remains one of Mainliner's strong statements, and it is a pleasure to see it back in print.