Knead

This Melting Happiness -- I Want You to Realize That It Is Another Trap

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Whenever Keiji Haino gets together with one, the other, or both members of the avant-prog duo Ruins, sparks fly in all directions. The backgrounds of these artists are so different (one is tempted to say "diametrically opposed") that they open a common creative space that covers a lot of ground. But if there is a rule to their collaborations, as on this excellent LP released by the French label Fractal, it's that Haino takes the music more lightly than usual. He sounds like he is actually having fun instead of suffering his guts out over every note. This Melting Happiness -- I Want You to Realize That It Is Another Trap delivers a healthy dose of improvised rock, equally stressing both terms. The unit of Yoshida Tatsuya and Sasaki Hisashi locks in like an eight-limbed, two-headed beast, churning out spontaneous grooves with incredible ease. And Haino goes everywhere, from Robert Fripp-esque insanely repetitive solos drilling a passage between your ears -- think of King Crimson's "Fracture" while listening to &"Though It Was Supposed to Have Gone Far Away, the Soul of 1X1=?/Has Purposefully Returned to Say No/To the Overly Idle Magicians of the 21st Century" and consider how Knead drags the "21st Century Schizoid Man" around the room and into the 22nd -- to Jimi Hendrix to impenetrable walls of noise and languid feedback-driven melodies. Side one presents four tracks of a rather abstract kind, although fueled by energy and some ferocious vocals from Haino. The first three cuts on side two are actually one continuous improvisation. Resolutely rock, it begins with one of those typical Ruins chants and keeps on multiplying its possible paths until the messy crashing finale. Recommended.