Saturday, 2 April 2011
Artist: Suishou No Fune
Album: Prayer for Chibi
Label: Holy Mountain
Probably Suishou No Fune's definitive work, Prayer for Chibi is a two-hour psychedelic masterpiece. With jams sprawled out across twenty-minute sections of the record, it is definitely a release which warrants being pressed to a double-CD edition. Although the group have only been releasing music since the early '00s, their sound is a perfect blend of the lighter, reverb drenched slow-motion rock of bands like Shizuka and the full-on guitar assaults of High Rise and Fushitsusha. With these two elements in mid-collision, guitarist Kageo and singer Pirako Kurenai take a drumless, twin-guitar approach to psych-rock, abstractifying the whole idea of a rock band and creating free-flowing jams that ascend into eternity.
Like all great psychedelic rock records, Prayer for Chibi is a really dynamic and intense experience which explores an almost unbelievably wide array of textures and timbres with a relatively small number of instruments. Especially in the case of Suishou No Fune, their equipment is really pared to back to the dual-guitar core around which their music is based. That's not to say that flourishes of other things are not present; bells, gongs and ritualistic percussion introduce and augment several tracks, conforming to psychedelic music's tendency to delve into the ethnic music of other countries to create a sound steeped in ancestry and history, almost like fake ethnomusicology.
Emotionally, the record grips and refuses to release, starting slowly, before bringing you on a 12-minute spiral to the top of the mountain, showing you the view and then throwing you off the cliffs in a torrent of string-scraping, effect-laden sludge, with Kurenai's oddly familiar voice in your ear and holding your hand all the way down to the bottom and the beginning of the next track. From more serious moments like disc 2's opener "Resurrection Night", a sorrowful lament, to more light-hearted pieces like the gorgeous closer "Cherry", Suishou No Fune are masters of cathartic, emotionally-fueled guitar improvisation and whether listened to track by track, or as a monumental whole, Prayer for Chibi continues to astound me with its heart and soul.
Suishou No Fune