Undigested #1: Fushitsusha, Pathétique/Hisou
Lots of blogs have done the old “put iTunes on shuffle and write” gag. Hell, I just did it for my last post here (and I did it for my old blog, too). Yesterday I had the genius idea of getting an album I had yet to hear and write up initial impressions or thoughts or meanderings. This could conceivably turn out a colossal failure, but being the man of wild risks that I am, I don’t see how I could not try it.
Picking an album proved a bit of a pain, mostly because I have a whole queue of albums waiting patiently for listens. Ultimately, I thought it would make sense to check out a band I’d never heard of before yesterday so I went with Fushitsusha’s 1994 album Pathétique [also known as Hisou]. What follows is my unedited take.
Somehow or other I’ve heard the name Keiji Heino but wasn’t at all familiar with any of his work then this came up on some dude’s list of painful-sounding records that he loves. A lot of seemingly random drum bashing and cymbal crashes punctuate feedback guitar. I can see why this would make such a list, so far it’s like near-metal free jazz. It’s raining outside and pretty damn gloomy. Now the first song is over
Track two. These tracks don’t even have names, but they don’t seem to require names, either. This is pretty “damaged”. He’s made an album of the band wankery that ends a concert or something like that. Staccato, skitzy/schitzy, oh he’s yelling something now like a wounded but curious ghost. It’s in Japanese so I’ve got no clue what any of it is, though even if it was English I’d probably have a hard time deciphering it. I’ve never been great with catching lyrics without having the actual lyric sheets in front of me. This even goes for when I was younger and wasn’t blithely downloading or streaming albums like I do now. My stomach is not happy right now, which is kinda what this album feels like. Stabby. Or the constant irritation of a tattoo needle as it pricks the same spot over and over and over. This song is 9:34 long and it’s really been mostly this same needling and wanging on the strings. Not knowing anything about how this record was written/composed, I would have said it was entirely improvised. I don’t actually know if it was and I’m not bothering to look it up at the moment. People who like songcraft would not appreciate this at all. It’s a fitting soundtrack to a mild hangover on a gloomy day, though. Why do plants look extra green on days like this? Is that just a normal color contrast brain perception… thing? oh fade and a screech. Loud siren-esque. fin.
Third track is starting out more “song-y” than the previous two. Dude likes his staccato marching downstroke style. Drums are more constrained and actually retaining a regular rhythm instead of an irregular smash-n-grab free-for-all. Little vocal whelps. I’m thinking of my senior year in college when I had a drumkit & amps in my bedroom and started recording terrible songs. Those are fortunately long lost to history and the machine they were recorded on is pretty much dead and useless. Spring of 2003. Feels like a couple years and couple thousand years ago. At the time I was listening to a lot of screamo “core” stuff like Orchid and Hot Cross and Off Minor. I still rock my Walter Sobchak Off Minor t-shirt. Lately I listen to very technical stuff, but this album is almost directly opposite to that, all feeling and impulse. As opposed to composed drive to manipulate emotion, it’s emotion punched right in without regard for what the listener is “supposed” to feel. I can dig that. Rhythmically this track is really repetitive. God, it’s only like halfway done and it’s been eight minutes already. Kinda glad I picked this record because I don’t see myself listening to it ever again for any reason, but at least I can say I’ve heard it. Not that anyone would likely care. “Oh, you heard a weird Japanese guitar-driven record? Come join my club, we discuss these things and drink beer.” My head feels extraordinarily fuzzy right now and that’s pre-pressing play. One long extended guitar meanderment. Cool breeze through the window. Beer sweats. I haven’t even put a shirt on yet. Northside fest is going on and I don’t think there’s a single band playing anywhere that I’m interested in seeing. BROOKLYN CAN YOU HEAR THE EXTREME JADEDNESS? I saw The Melvins perform Bullhead & Stoner Witch last week and it probably ruined me for all future shows I may ever see. It was beyond phenomenal. My bassist quit today, but that’s alright cos he’s gonna help record tracks still, which is nice. Twas not entirely unexpected in the manner of my being romantically dumped at the end of April. Gaah, I’m glad this song is over I was getting bored.
Five whole seconds of silence then… mechanical oscillations! On the whole I think this was a successful endeavor, at least more successful than my ongoing employment search has been. Monday morning I have to go to a Dept. of Labor workforce meeting. Kill me. Well, I just have to fill out some forms and show I’m looking for work. It’ll probably be fine and I’ll have some time to read. I have no real marketable skills so it’s a crapshoot anyway. People spend their youthful years training in all sorts of trades and skills, it’s always fascinated me as an observer. For a while I wanted to be a professionally academic sociologist. That makes me, like, life-skill autistic or something. I prefer to read and write and wander about. Generally be useless to the goings on. If people want to be useful, they should go for it. I don’t have a problem with that. A good deal of pulsing and pounding on this track. Constant hi-hat pump. The place where I read about this record made it seem much more harrowing than it’s turned out to be. It’s certainly chaotic, but I don’t feel any crushing existential dread listening to it. The new Ulcerate record, The Destroyers of All and last year’s Deathspell Omega record, Paracletus (which I just heard for the first time), are both devastatingly dread-inducing. They also present a remarkably beautiful blend and balance of technique and atmosphere. Last night a writer friend who’s into hip-hop suggested a sort of listening party in which she and I trade off playing faves for one another. She’s in for a treat because I’m obviously just gonna play her my most egregiously terrifying-to-the-uninitiated albums regardless of genre. I’m psyched. I could play her this record now but, really, it’s not doing much for me. At this point it’s just sort of “there” in the background. In an odd way it’s good sonic wallpaper to keep my ADD from going haywire; I can actually focus on something and given its tendency toward arrhythmia, I’m less swayed out of my own natural writing rhythm. Thanks, Mr. Heino (or Mr. Keiji, whatever). Jesus, how much longer is this track? Aw fuck, another half hour? Well, that’s not happening. It’s already been fifteen minutes and I have somewhere to be shortly. I don’t feel like I’m gonna miss much of anything if I press stop now since it’s just been near-literal noise for fifteen solid minutes. I keep typing “fiftenn”. I always mistype “wedding” as “weeding” and I also almost mistyped “mistype”. Yeah, I think it’s about time to call time on this little escapade. Well, it was sort of interesting as it happened.