Friday, February 10, 2006

Current(ish) Buns no.3

Currently rediscovering the quite remarkable World Standard. The long-running project of Sôichirô Suzuki, their albums are somewhat tricky to track down, but SO worth it. VCDH pushed their Country Gazette album (made with the help of Harumoni Hosono of the Yellow magic Orchestra) my way and my life hasn't really been the same since. OK, that's a bit strong, but the combination of electronica, lo-fi banjo twanging and ambient thunder storms (cf: Faust's first album) was a revelation. Somehow, a couple of Japanese guys had channelled Hank Williams and John Fahey into something that sounded like it was recorded 100 years ago in a rough shack in Mississippi.
In the same way that it was Led Zeppelin's actual IGNORANCE of the blues tradition (despite them namechecking Robert Johnson at the drop of a hat) and how to approximate it that made their acoustic material so strangely haunting - like mutant medieval english blues. EBP was mentioning Eno's theory on making music based only on a description of the form, not actually LISTENING to it (Also the method used by Jaga Jazzist to come up with their brand of D'n'B), and this is kinda similar. It's americana filtered through 1000 years of orientalism and it's amazing. Ancient and modern simultaneously. Their Jump For Joy album is their proper tribute to John Fahey (and 20s blues 'n' jazz generally) and has some fantastic train whistles on it too! Be warned tho', the search for material by this bunch is akin to something Indiana Jones might go through - all rumours and attempts to decipher
Bonus points to anyone who can spot the reference to another album sleeve on Country gazette btw ;-)


Peter said...

well, i don't think i'll get the bonus points (looks a bit neon park-ish to me, but i'm sure that's not the link). but must agree with you - they are (adopts music-journo snobbish david hepworth type tone) a uniquely sublime proposition.

Chris Jones said...

Nicely put sir! gawd I do love 'em. the album sleeve reference is kinda obscure, in a typical japanese nerdy fanboy way, so don't feel remotely ashamed ;-)
What really excites me is the way they make it all sound so effortless and oprganic, when I KNOW it takes bleedin' years to sound that minimal