Keiji Haino

To Start With, Let's Remove the Colour!

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Following the departure of Ikuro Takahashi from his trio Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino had left the electric guitar on its stool to take the drummer's seat. The first thing we knew, he was doing the same in solo concerts, looping his drumming and his voice with a sampler (see C'est Parfait, Endoctriné Tu Tombes la Tête la Première and Abandon All Words at a Stroke). So it comes a bit as a surprise to hear him back on the guitar in this album. Note that the sampler followed him. So To Start With, Let's Remove the Colour! consists of guitar and voice improvisations ranging from the sparse and ethereal ("Now, Which?," drenched in echo, ranks among his most dreamy psychedelic cuts to date) to dense soundscapes. In some he uses multitrack loops to multiply himself, in others he overdubbed guitar parts. But all in all this release sees Haino restraining himself. No inside-out screams, walls of noise or cathartic sonic rituals: this album portrays an artist at peace with himself and the world (if such a thing is possible with this man). So, some listeners may find it lacking intensity, but if the idea of Haino serenading you while strumming his guitar in psychedelic folk style arouses your interest, by all means try it. For some people it might even be the point of entry to his solo work you were waiting for. Despite the limited means he has chosen, the guitarist maintains the level of interest throughout, his soft-spoken vocals still holding enough menace to keep you on the edge of your seat. The 30-minute "How Did You Know? - Mistaken" occasionally runs into dead ends, but the other tracks all have a charm newcomers to Haino may have problems understanding.

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