Thursday, 4 February 2016

Review: Hijokaidan – 'Emergency Stairway To Heaven'

'Emergency Stairway To Heaven'

Since 1979 the Japanese noise rock outfit Hijokaidan have been prolifically spreading their brand of free improvised and often cacophonous brand. Rooted in performance art and punk rock the band's sound is anarchic in its flagrant disregard for conventional song structures. But it is remarkably hypnotic.

'Emergency Stairway To Heaven', released on Cold Spring records, is a four-part improvised piece that is almost jazz-like in its expressiveness but with copious amounts of screeching distorted guitars to send shivers down your spine. Each part runs to roughly five to ten minutes in length and plays about with lead instruments and styles as it goes along – part one for example is an in-in-your-face jazz infused freakout, Part two recalls the more experimental end of Bauhaus in its minimalism, Part three is an anarchic feedback saturated breakdown, and part four is an all out noise assault.

The EP also includes two live tracks recorded in 2014 which cover two full live sets of improvised madness the first of which is a far more rock centred affair, while the second focusses more on dirty electronics.

The album will not be for everyone. Even those who appreciate noise music will be able to take their pick of which tracks they can comfortable cope with. But noise music isn't about comfort. Its about uncompromising self expression and Hijokaidan have nearly thirty years of that under their belt. The album is an acquired taste, but it is nonetheless an pure expression of madcap improvisation and reaction that takes serious skill to pull off with any effect.  

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