Om Sweet Home: We Are Shining Stars From Darkside
This is the eagerly-awaited debut album from Japanese underground legends Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple/Mainliner) and Pikacyu (Afrirampo). Combining their trademark master musicianship, out-there sonic attack and off-the-wall weirdness, OM Sweet Home: We Are Shining Stars From Darkside is the exciting sound of another legend in the making. Equal parts psychedelia, warped pop, full-on Japnoise and avant-garde passages, it's sure to appeal to their many followers worldwide. Special first edition of 1,000 copies only (for the world) shrink-wrapped CD packaged inside a 350 gram gatefold card sleeve with reverse board printing. Subsequent represses will be in standard packaging. Pikacyu*Makoto is an alliance between two figureheads of underground Japanese psych/pop. No strangers to one another, the pair have not only gigged together with their respective bands but also recorded together, when these two outfits temporarily fused in 2005 to become Acid Mothers Afrirampo (releasing an album of the same name). Now they have distilled their collaboration, all other players being stripped away to leave the core of Pikacyu's manic drums and vocals, and Makoto's schizoid guitar conjurings. OM Sweet Home: We Are Shining Stars From Darkside is unlike anything either culprit has produced before, both structured and freeform, tuneless and beautiful. Pikacyu's drums pummel, jitter, crash and stumble, but steadfastly refuse to groove. She layers her voice several times, competing with maniacally pitch-shifted versions of herself to bring you what is, in their words, "a story about the cosmic shaman Pikacyu vs. the master of the darkness Makoto... including the full love from the universe!!" Makoto attacks his guitar, cloaking himself in reverb to produce a wall of sound, alternating between melody and noise. "OM Marijana FU" resembles field recordings of a gang of lady monks doing chants in the monastery, played back on dying tape Walkmans. Then you're thrown straight into the deep-end of one of the album's epics -- "Birth Star." Those holy women are joined by propulsive drumming, each guitar chord leaving contrails that weave together in a cathedral of reverb, forming a tapestry of noise that threatens to clash but never does. On the frenetic "Wild Rise," the Western listener, ignorant of the language, is eventually left with the impression of wordless chants tapping wells of emotion that lie beyond the reach of vocabulary. The instrumental "Pigamelan-Magamelan" on the other hand, represents a total gear-shift, its dry sound, attack-laden guitar runs and avoidance of time signature invoking the exploding-note theory of Captain Beefheart. "Minakata Loid" brings drums reminiscent of early Four Tet, while the guitar emits high-pitched detonations from the far-end of an empty auditorium. "Back To Your House Over The Rainbow" exposes the knife-edge of Pikacyu's most extreme vocalizations, sounding like the yodels of a spirit trying to escape its own skin.