Keiji Haino

Until Water Grasps Flame

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Keiji Haino and Tatsuya Yoshida, two pillars of the Japanese noise rock scene (the guitarist with Fushitsusha and countless other projects, the drummer mainly with the influential prog-core duo Ruins) recorded this session in April 2000. For the most part a jam with bits of pre-composed materials, Until Water Grasps Flame is entertaining but slightly off the mark for both artists -- meaning that no matter which side you are on, you will feel a little left out. They obviously had a lot of fun as they moved through pastiches and unusual settings. Witness the free jazz improv "A Voiceprint That Longs to Display Evidence That It Is Over," where the guitarist sounds surprisingly close to Eugene Chadbourne (imagine that!), or the peyote-rock vapors of "Those Points of Difference," in which Yoshida's typical voice soars from behind the drums in a Magma-like incantation. The basic setting of drums and electric guitar is often adapted to include more exotic members of the string family (sarode, gyumbari, gothan, and esraj) and electronic drums, the obvious anachronical qualities of each side clashing dangerously in some cases. The 12-minute "At the Instant When One Thinks to Oneself 'No Way'" throws away pre-conceived structures and odd instruments in favor of a sulfuric, full-throttle improv bash. Until Water Grasps Flame (the two contrasting elements in the title make a suitable metaphor, by the way) is a good album, but it doesn't hold a particular importance in either artist's discography.