If you are a Fushitsusha or Keiji Haino fan, you already know to just forget what the title of this CD means -- you are never going to know unless you have a lot of familiarity with the early decades of the English language. If you aren't a fan, then who cares anyway? This Fushitsusha date was recorded live at the Victoriaville Festival in Quebec in 1997. Guitarist Haino and longtime bassist Yasushi Ozawa broke in then-new drummer Ikuro Takahashi. The set is just over an hour long and is broken up into eight selections that the mysterious Mr. Haino would likely call compositions. Since Fushitsusha never plays the same song twice, who's to say whether he's right or wrong? Without doubt, Fushitsusha is among the most powerfully emotive bands that has ever existed. The dynamic the band creates, especially in a live setting, is so far from most people's experience of "music" that it is almost unbearably unlistenable. But closer inspection reveals a profound musicality in the throes of the passionate noise and silence that pour forth from any performance, and this one was no exception. Micro- and overtonalities are established and executed through a precise use of feedback and an excessive use of volume. The set opens with "This Is," an eight-minute feedback-drenched collage of echoplex guitar and furious rhythm section interplay. Once Haino establishes his path, his band members reach further to get ahead of him. Sometimes they succeed, other times he takes another route altogether. The crunch of those chords as they are crosscut with shimmering lines of feedback and Haino's unintelligible screaming in Japanese displaces the listener, provoking squirms. On "Pathetique" and "Hazama," the mood is different. The guitar doesn't assault as much as it points. It's Haino's "singing" that's at the front here, and the rhythm section tries with great success to build a series of linking harmonic bridges for his voice to swing from and toward. Single lines of feedback dent the vast interior spaces of these tracks, but it's silence that reigns in the music.
The album's centerpiece is the 17-minute "Vertigo." Begun tersely and slowly, it reaches inward to find a place to speak from. Droning guitar lines, hushed bass washes, and whispering cymbals carry the music into the same space it must eventually break from. A wandering melody-like phrase walks the path deeper, absorbing the echo of the space and playing itself out, overtoning itself, and speaking more loudly in order to hear. The effect is electrifying because it's so gradual. It's as if Fushitsusha, led by Haino, is walking slowly into the heart of cacophony. And yes, the band eventually gets there, but not until the dynamic tension in the track almost breaks it apart, before it dissolves altogether into silence somewhere deep inside, where this awesome, awful dance begins again. This time the guitar shatters the wall of silence and Haino sings then screams his way out into the light, the band holding him up with doubles and triples all along his feedbacked drones. And then the music shifts, reshapes itself into a haunting paean to silence once again, extinguishes its once fiery heart with a gentle "whoosh," and vanishes. There is no applause for a full thirty seconds, as the crowd needs to give itself time to recover from the spectacle. There are two more tracks here but, compared to "Vertigo," they merely fill out and fold in what has just been played and discovered. They move along, bringing more ideas, more silence, and more violence to the fore, but they are all just extensions of what happened a few minutes previously and make it easier to transition back into the "world" of matter. Fushitsusha has created a set of "pure music," as the band has so many times before. That is, music completely untouched by any convention or language that doesn't communicate directly from the soul of the band itself. Amazing.