Catch-Wave is both a transition into the fourth phase of legendary Japanese experimenter Takehisa Kosugi's career and an all-time classic Japanese side-long psychedelic freakout. Two extended tracks find Kosugi constructing long drones using his violin, tapes, electronics, and droning voices. On the utterly brilliant "Mano Dharma '74," Kosugi layers violins over earlier tape experiments he'd created in New York in 1967, the textures of his sources bending in and out of each other as the music moves out of phase and new textures are introduced. With "Wave Code #E-1," described as "triple performance by a solo vocalist," Kosugi sends the vocals rushing through echo and bending toward deeper and deeper abstraction over 22 and a half droning minutes. Its blend is neither as hallucinatory nor as groundbreaking as the A-side of this avant single, but it holds up as a totally listenable experiment. A co-founder of first-wave Japanese experimenters Group Ongaku, Kosugi had cashed in briefly, composing music for the popular cartoon series Atom Boy for six years between 1963 and 1969. He jumped back into experimental music with the itinerant improv outfit Taj Mahal Travelers, and had played with them for only a month when he recorded Catch-Wave in Nippon Columbia's Studio One in September 1974. Catch-Wave marked the beginning of a brief collaborative period in Japan, including the formation of the East Bionic Symphonia, before Kosugi moved to New York to become a composer for Merce Cunningham's dance company.
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AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow