PRICE: $25.50


In keeping with the freer releases in their catalog (Sky Needle, La Ligne Claire, Minitel), Bruit Direct Disques presents 25/12/2013, a live album by Japanese group 真美鳥Ulithi Empress Yonaguni San, often referred to by their nickname, Mamitori. Savagely DIY and autonomous, Mamitori have released only a handful of copies of a privately pressed record, while lead guitarist Aritomo has put out an abundance of self-produced acid-folk records, hand-assembling sleeves for every copy. David Keenan compared the band's 2012 album 一二三 Fairy Tail Chimidoro Phenomenon Satan Inferno Dress Ha Cattlemurarete Yggdrasill ハWa Sasaru to "Isn't Anything being creepy-crawled by Idiot O'Clock or the early Rough Trade singles as curated by Jutok Kaneko and Reiko Kudo." The six tracks offered here (drawn from that 2012 album) were recorded in public and are reproduced accurately, with silences and tuning included at the express request of the band. Guitars are skinned alive, twisted in counterpoint, or played with a cheesegrater; the frail vocal is as exhausted as it is sweet; the trumpet plays its dying breath; the bouncy rhythm section offers a skeleton of rigor; psych-rock is reduced here to fluff, with only a scraggy trunk of the spinal column remaining. Mamitori follows the traces of the ancestral giants of '70s avant-rock (Hendrix, Velvets, Captain Beefheart, Henry Cow, Can, The Red Krayola), except it's an odd post-punk mess that spits from their amps. Accident is king with Mamitori, and their psychotic free rock, loaded with open-tuned guitars, sometimes feels like shreds of sound; limping and out of phase, played obliquely, their music is at once absolutely diaphanous and indecipherable. Nothing is ever in place and everything cracks up and frays; it's an atonal construction that threatens to become melodious at any minute. Ultimately, Mamitori hides a form of twee pop unwittingly battered by no wave, every chord of which could be a blank bullet. One might mistake the sound for My Bloody Valentine violently colliding with The Shaggs, The Pastels attacked by Mars, or Pere Ubu holding paws with Swell Maps. Is a "No Tokyo" emerging decades after No New York? This live set, in front of a ghost-like public, serves as a hint of this Japanese band's profound peculiarity, joyfully perplexing everyone even further by citing alternative j-rock supertars L'Arc-en-Ciel as an influence. Mamitori will have you humming songs you hadn't noticed were there.