Keiji Haino and Yoshida Tatsuya — New Rap (2006, Tzadik)
Buy [no stream, sorry]
This 2006 collaboration between two titans of the Japanese underground is both everything one would expect it to be, yet still manages to delight and offer surprises. Released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, New Rap is something of an artistic balancing act. Not only does the duo possess the requisite talents to throttle up and pull back, Keiji Haino and Yoshida Tatsuya balance their own reputations and egos. Resultantly, the listener is treated to a spastic and exploratory release where the collaborators effectively transcend preconceptions and expectations, and craft an artwork reflective of this transcendence. It’s not Haino, it’s not Tatsuya, it is some strange rendering of both and neither, contradictory though it may sound. The duo flirt with no wave, free jazz, and noise rock, never sounding lost or contrived. The opener “Houston Street” sets the tone and undoubtedly caught those of us at Marginal HQ by surprise: instead of Haino doing full on freak outs, the duo knockout something approaching a postmodern-no wave tango.”West Broadway” features a shrieking Haino who makes extensive use of vocal loops. Tatsuya’s frantic drumming lends to the frenzy, which builds to the bursting point by the song’s conclusion. “West 48th Street” explores free jazz motifs, before exploding into a mélange of tight, yet erratic drumming and vocal howls. In the final 3:00 of the track, Haino’s vocals sound as if they’re part horse, part horn, as the duo spiral down the billowing reaches of the sonic maelstrom. “Chinatown” is arguably one of the best tunes on the album, and begins as a prodding and staccato number that evolves into an engrossing and radiant piece punctuated with Haino’s shrieks. In their 48 minutes through New York City, the two demonstrate why they’ve become icons and mainstays. Highly recommended for no-wavers, fans of Rhode Island noise rock, or any of Haino or Tatsuya’s other works.