April 10, 2003

Ed's Underground: Acid Mothers Temple

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Like harbingers of a psychedelic apocalypse, the avant-rock collective Acid Mothers Temple ride in on waves of guitar distortion and noise. Led by “speed guru” Kawabata Makoto, this sprawling group has been responsible for some of the most raw, uninhibited recordings ever set to tape. Listening to their music is a lot like setting the washer to spin dry and then climbing in: very painful, very exciting, and very frightening.

New Geocentric World, one of many in the prolific band’s seemingly never-ending stream of output, is a compact distillation of all their latent tendencies into an hour of mind-melting music. The opener “Psycho Buddha” lays all the cards on the table, a gambit to turn away the faint-of-heart with a 25-minute opus of overdriven guitars; all needles are in the red, and the instruments bleed together into a single-minded beast set on destroying everything in its path. The rest of the album alternates between spacey psych and all-out rawk, lulling you in with the incoherent yelps of Cotton Casino sounding like a siren on acid, and then blowing you out of the water with bursts of unfocused noise.

“Mellow Hollow Love” is a lilting acoustic ballad shot through with keyboards and electronic effects, providing a brief respite from AMT’s usual lunacy. On “Universe of Romance,” Japanese melodies bolster Casino’s high-pitched vox. With “You’re Still Now Near Me Everytime,” the group lays down a repetitive Krautrock groove, then Kawabata shits all over it with frenzied guitar hysterics. “Occie Lady” follows a similar path before the chaos drops out altogether for a lovely piano interlude. It all just proves that Acid Mothers Temple will never, ever, do what’s expected of them; this record twists faster than a snake about to strike, and before you know it the damn thing has slid out of your hands. As you float away into space on the closing drone of “What Do I Want To Know,” you’ll be confused but happy, lost in a musical world where nothing makes sense. It’s all good, though.

Archived article by Ed Howard