Les Rallizes Dénudés

Blind Baby Has Its Mother's Eyes

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This three-song disc by legendary Japanese underground act Les Rallizes Denudes is one of their most psychedelic and hypnotic, verging on Krautrock at times. Each of the three cuts is somewhere between 17 and 19 minutes long, adding up to nearly an hour of amp-frying, bass-throbbing bliss. There's much less reverb and echo here than on Live 1972 or Heavier Than a Death in the Family, and much more abuse of panning and speaker-switching effects, particularly on the guitars. As always with Rallizes, the songs are driven by massive, minimalist basslines, four or five notes repeated endlessly like a cross between the Velvet Underground and the most bare-bones '50s rock as the drums maintain a thwacking, metronomic hi-hat and snare beat. Lead guitarist Mizutani Takashi's tone isn't as world-destroying as on other records; he's actually somewhat down in the mix on the opening title track. His vocals remain as ghostly and echoey as ever, though. "An Aweful Eternitie" is much more Velvet Underground-influenced, the guitar somewhat cleaner when it's not offering pure feedback. "The Last One," though, is almost pure noise, the amps seeming to be on the brink of bursting into flames. Occasionally, the songs are disrupted by dubby effects and what sound like snippets of other performance of the same song -- could this album have been prepared by the band themselves, not some assiduous bootlegger? We'll probably never know. There's not even applause to tell us whether these songs were recorded live or in the studio. Listening to Les Rallizes Denudes is like eavesdropping on rock music as ritual; bands that offer choruses and other conventional song structures just seem weak by comparison.

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