THE BEGINNING OF THE END REVEW

 

Unbelievable new studio album from these Velvet Underground-worshipping Japanese heads. Edition of only 210 copies in primitive silkscreened sleeves, pressed on red vinyl, with insert. No one does epic psych like Up-Tight and this has gotta be the ultimate hi-fi distillation of their sound to date: four tracks that explode classic Tokyo styles. Opening with "Our Own Portrait", a mantric instrumental that spikes Sound Of Confusion-era Spacemen 3 with Rocket USA rhythms and pure garage abandon, they drop into "A Song For Your Pain", a beautiful mid-tempo ballad with guitarist/vocalist T. Aoki following an achingly beautiful bassline all the way to nada. The B-side is more aggressively nuanced, opening with a post-Sweet Sister Ray style amp crack-up track that combines amazing feedback control with tortuous rending-of-time-and-space style guitar heat and some classic Haino/Sharrock six string heroics. An incredible free guitar track. But it's the final blast that'll take your head off, a classic death-decadent ballad in the tradition of Ohkami No Jikan/Shiuzka et al that combines wasted vocalese with delayed nod-out rhythms and phenomenal lead guitar that matches the legendary Maki Miura for overdriven melodic iconoclasm. Totally classic Japanese psych, sure to be a monster in years to come, highly recommended. You need to hear this.

(Volcanic Tongue)


Have to admit, I
fd not kept up with Japanese psychedelic rock in earnest since the earlier part of this decade. Ghost is still stunning. High Rise appears to be inactive. Acid Mothers Temple continues to do very little for me, and the gloom of LSD-March overshadows the times when theyfre flipping out. On this micro-edition LP, pressed in Italy on red vinyl with a silkscreened jacket, and limited to 200 copies, Up-Tight delivers in a more rock/surf direction than I had anticipated, at points crossing the reverb of Dick Dalefs blazing across with dubbed-out snare hits and doomy, brooding bass hulk on the title track and closer of this four-song wander. Opener gOur Own Portraith is the winner here, over ten minutes of tribal thunder and reverbed shaker, where Spacemen 3 meets the sandbar, big drum/solo break inclusive. One of you can do something with this. Of the other two, shorter offerings, the volcanic-galactic tuning of gThe Destructionh acts as a buffer between the enormous final cut and the perplexing shoegaze folk of gA Song For Your Pain,h which threatens to derail the record with bare-chested emote, closer to maybe the Projekt catalogue or a Cranes record than the blowout guitar-on-fire I demand for this kind of scratch. Second pressingfs sold out too. Three out of four here. Crazy label, 8MM, putting out all manners of extremely limited releases from across the spectrum of Wire-approved noisemakers.

(Doug Mosurock / STILL SINGLE)


This vinyl-only release from one of
Japan's finest psych bands has truly snuck out without fanfare. Currently only available as a very small run LP (although the label appear to be planning to repress it), this is the best releases in Up-Tight's already impressive catalogue. This LP sees them thrust their sound into the abyss and they jump fearlessly in after it.
It is immediately obvious that Up-Tight have upped their game since their last studio releases. Both Lucrezia and Up-Tight & Makoto Kawabata had that typical PSF Records Japadelica sound, they hit all the right spots and were shit heavy when they needed to be. However, now they seem to be following their ultimate influences, The Velvet Underground, into a wider creative territory. Each of the four pieces that make up The Beginning of the End sound like they could have been from a different but equally great band (exactly what made the Velvets so good).

The first side of the LP opens with gOur Own Portraith which sees Up-Tight move away from their Les Rallizes Dénudés Junior image and into something even more psychedelic; primal drumming and an insistent bassline allow for Tomoyuki Aoki to unleash some fantastic fuzz guitar. This is followed by gA Song for Your Painh which is a gentle, sleepy ballad with, of course, more fuzz guitar solos. It is more in line with the quieter parts of previous Up- Tight albums and is the one moment on the LP where they play it safe. Though playing it safe for this band is still something special.

The second side is a different kettle of fish as an oppressive bass buzz and distant cracks of guitar herald in (the aptly titled) gThe Destruction.h As the drums join in the din, Up-Tight start to take on the form of early Boris yet create a wall of noise with more power, mass and menace than Boris ever managed to muster. By the end of the piece my turntable has almost rattled itself to pieces; it is one of the most sublime examples of noise freakout to come from Japan (and that in itself is some achievement). The title track rounds off the album, seeing the trio return to a more familiar style. It brings to mind the live jams that appear on the 2007 reissue of the eponymous debut: a languid rhythm and years of reverb drenching the guitar and vocals.

By far this is the best thing Up-Tight have put their name to. It covers all the things that makes Japanese psychedelica interesting to me; the extremes of bludgeoning noise and the delicate beauty without ever becoming something clever for the sake of being clever. The Beginning of the End is worth every mistaken or wayward purchase from the Japanese section of record store, it is superb.
(Brainwashed)


A real scorcher. I never cottoned to these guys except maybe their track from "The Night Gallery" comp but this is absolutely fantastic. The opening track "Our own portrait" is a hypnotic fuzz/maracas jam that breaks down a few times but never really lets up. The following ballad sounds like something from the underrated Overhang Party 4 album. lt also sounds like something lonely teenagers could hold their cell phones in the air for. It is called "A Song for your pain".... Side two opens up with "The Destruction" which is so heavy and amazing it's like watching those squeegee Gerhard Richter paintings animated with this Axis-era Takayanagi as a soundtrack. The record ends with a bass line that sounds like it's from a scene from an old Star Trek episode where Spock has something on his mind. This is then shaped into a pleasant piece of Japanese space reggae. Cool Gator Rogowski inspired artwork too. I can't tell if my copy's ringwear is intentional or not—like tweaker jeans!
iHOLY MOUNTAINj


After feeling more than merely "let down" by the previous few Up-Tight releases which I thought were treading too much on the past glories and in a rather tepid manner at that, this one's surprisingly copasetic with my personal tastes regarding music as noise and on par with those early releases hearkening the return to the group's Les Rallizes Denudes influences and a dang good feeling for feedback-drenched intensity. Highlight is the title track beginning side two that sorta functions in the same atonal shriek capacity as Guru Guru's UFO did with a guitar buzz that I thought was a weed-whacker being filtered through free percussive clang. Red colored vinyl brought back more than a few memories of album collecting, that is if you were one to go gaga over the colored vinyl section of your fave 1978 record shop looking for disco remixes of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You".
(BLOG TO COMM)