Derek Bailey

Songs

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Recorded in November 1996 and released almost four years later, this studio session pairs Derek Bailey and Keiji Haino for the most unlikely of song recitals. "Singing" is too pale a word to describe the Japanese prince of darkness' vocals. He grunts, screams, and wails; he murmurs, chants, and praises, pushing the whole scope of human (and a few inhuman) emotions across without uttering a single decipherable word. Ritual incantation, primal scream therapy, and sound poetry experiments -- they're all in there, part of Haino's incredible performance. It is tempting to compare this with experimental singers like Jaap Blonk, Anna Homler, or Paul Dutton, but the Japanese's art operates outside the field of conscious research -- it comes closer to an atavistic form of expression. As for Bailey, he improvises strings of notes on his electric guitar, providing the tortuous background one would expect for such songs. Not particularly inspired, he delivers an average performance, nothing more, or maybe he simply wanted the spotlight to remain on Haino. The music takes the form of short pieces, 16 in 42 minutes. Most are kept within one to three minutes long; a handful approach the five-minute barrier. "Aru Kanashika No Juni," where Haino's low hums evoke soft amplifier feedback, and the thoroughly intense "Ichi O Tashikamete Kara..." stand out. Recommended.

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