Keiji Haino / Loren Connors

Live at Downtown Music Gallery, New York City, August 1, 1992

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AllMusic Review by Skip Jansen

This recording represents the first meeting of the Tokyo avant-garde guitar figurehead and New York's most prolific improvising guitarist, Loren Mazzacane Connors. Being a longstanding admirer of the abstract blues of his collaborator, Keiji Heino's hints at the American's signature style have cropped up in the violent and sublime music of the Fushitsusha leader on many of his recording occasions. This duo recording sees Heino toned town considerably from his regular fare of feedback storms and anguished vocals. Surprisingly, he takes on the accompanist's role, albeit throwing in the odd wild card for his collaborator to reckon with. The improvisation searches for a while before congealing into awkwardly juxtaposed crests, at which point it is clear that they are striving for invention rather than harmony. Like British improvising pioneer Derek Bailey in any of his numerous collaborations, the guitarists' inclination is to tackle the difficulties of jamming such disparate styles and motifs together. Culminating in sonic rhetoric rather than direct elation, this album provides a challenging listen for the uninitiated. Those curious to hear these guitarists in their prime would be better off checking out Heino with his Fushitsusha trio or tracking down Mazzacane Connors' sublime Moonyean. Fans of the avant guitar canon will be thrilled by such a rare meeting between two forces of the underground, however.