Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Kawabata Makoto - Inui 2

Kawabata Makoto
Inui 2

Released 2000 on VHF
Reviewed by alKmyst, 22/03/2003ce

1. Mou
2. Meii
3. Shi
4. Kan

All instruments played by Kawabata Makoto.

This is the first widely available solo album from Kawabata Makoto, Acid Mothers Temple's legendary musician, magician, shaman and holy man. It is always, in truth, impossible to fully communicate in words the experience of music. Music can express things that cannot be said in any other way. It can speak directly to your heart in a way that no conversation, no novel or play, no painting or film can hope to. Dance is on a par with it, but then dance and music are two sides of the same coin. Words are inadequate tools with which to describe any music, but they feel particularly clumsy now, for Inui 2 is a beauty so far beyond them as to be almost untouchable. I am, then, about to attempt the impossible. You should know that I am bound to fail.

Such a fragile beginning, as light as silk. Beautiful, shining high frequency tones like the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's Temples of Ker. A sound as delicate as translucent dragonfly wings. A deeper drone begins, dark-toned and warm pipes and strings. A human voice hovers on the edge of hearing. Later on another pipe wails plaintive, haunting melodies. This is an ancient, timeless sound. It is intensely emotional, but what is the emotion? It is the feeling you get when you are overwhelmed by the immensity and boundlessness of the star-clustered sky. It is the feeling you get when you stand alone and look out across a misty sea. It is the feeling you get when you try to understand the shear age, or the size, of the Urth. It is mystery.

There is a dark cave near to my home, a vaginal entrance into the Urth. When I pass that way I like to go inside and face into the darkness, watch my sight fade away into infinity, swallowed by the impenetrable shadow. There is a presence in that darkness, a primal fear that often sends me running terrified. There is a sense of things hidden, of something hurtling towards me from the ungraspable centre of my failed sight. Meii, the second track on this album, is very much like that. Yet don't run in terror! Sensory deprivation is a potent shamanic technique - the primal fear that the darkness awakens in us is a testament to that potency. The music begins with a quiet, watery sound with lots of echo, as though it was flowing through subterranean caverns. One of the things I like the most about all of Kawabata Makoto's music is the unusual chord progressions of which he is the master, the way he can always take the music in a direction that you did not expect. Plucked strings slowly sound these amazing chords now, one by one, letting each one ring. The lyre of Orpheus on the banks of the river Hades. Images of ancient, unearthly rock formations, dry as dusty bones, flash into my mind as each chord rings out, gnarled, crooked fingers of stone. Piercing tones ring throughout and a vast, thudding drum periodically crashes terrifying, unsettling depth-charges. Ghostly moans glide like deeper shadows in dark places, heaving and groaning, slowly developing into a wild, chaotic drone that swarms over everything, tearing like the wind through the bare branches of frosty trees. A journey to the very heart of the Underworld.

Shi, a fairly brief bouzouki piece, is a wonderful dappled texture of interwoven plucked strings accompanied by a deep and resonant bowed drone. It rocks like a boat cradled in the bosom of the river. The repeated ringing of a high-pitched bell is like the sunlight dancing on the water, like perfect, radiant jewels crystallising right at the centre of your third eye. This track makes me think of richly patterned cloths, Turkish carpets and Indian tapestries, red silk embroidered with shining gold. It is elaborately patterned in a way that is both architectural and organic. I saw the faeries dancing, and it was this musick to which they danced (I shit you not).

The last track is Kan - I love the primal simplicity, the conciseness, of these names. Piercing synths drone whistlingly. A pristine sound, clear, sharp and hard as diamonds. There is a certain breezy fluttering in it, like the gentle teasing of the playful summer winds. The sound is of such high frequency that all the dogs in your neighbourhood will immediately wince with pain and find somewhere to hide. A discordant, vibrating string drone soon joins in, appearing suddenly. The intensity builds in waves, washing in like the tide. This music focuses the concentration onto one point, sharp as an arrowhead, so that it burns like a single-minded laser beam. What smoulders in this crucible of consciousness? The moment, the now, which progressively reveals its bottomless richness. The harder you look at it, the deeper it gets, and your gaze has a piercing concentration. A lucidity as sharp as steel and as clear as the Sun. White light.

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