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SEIKAZOKU / Out takes '66 - '78 / CD
Fractal 003


Ongaku Otaku - issue n° 4 - Summer 2001 (USA)

According to the liner notes, these sixteen pieces of hash-soaked psych-fuzz are from the Avalon Ballroom in '67, Winterland in '70, the Fillmore East in '66, and other notorious halls around the world. Look more closely, however, and you'll see that they were recorded in mid-'96 in Japan, with the trio responsible being none other than Makoto Kawabata (of Mainliner, Musica Transonic, et al) on guitar ; Atsushi Tsuyama (of Omoide Hatoba, et al) on bass ; and Tatsuya Yoshida (of Ruins, et al) on drums. Each member also handles a long list of other instrumentation throughout the album.
On the opening track, Krsnahasyamaj, the band do in fact manage to successfully out-psych any acid-drenched 60s San Francisco rockers you could name. From there, the trio wend their way through some short tracks that bear a closer resemblance to free jazz or Faust's most spaceward journeys than anything ever dreamed of by the Dead or the Airplane. Dharmagujaparika, for example, is a haunting little ditty led by wailing pipes amid scraped strings and muttering synthesizers. That's then followed by the six-minute jam Prajnapraptati, which sees Kawabata's guitar again start tearing things apart before the song abruptly fades, halfway through, to be replaced by a calm, trippy bliss. It effortlessly tops pretty much any of the current crop of psych rockers. By the song's end, the quiet splinters into a bad trip nightmare of flanging chaos.
Throughout the rest of the disc, Seikazoku nimbly dance across musical terrain that inspires comparisons with Guru Guru, Amon Düül 2, Mothers of Invention, and Can, as well as some of today's practitioners of sonic mind expansion like Bardo Pond and Grimble Grumble. Particularly noteworthy are Darasikuhyasi, an intense repeating wave of guitar propelled by a burningly fierce bass line; and the squawking reeds of Ramanumalika.
Being a collection of improvisational excerpts, some of these songs feel incomplete, like thoughts that don't quite get a chance to blossom. But all in all, these trips, short and long, are well worth taking, even if you might not get all the way to… somewhere.

The Wire - n°178 - December 1998 (UK)

Not content with his roles in Mainliner, Musica Transonic and Acid Mothers Temple, guitarist Makoto Kawabata here teams up with Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida and bassist Atsushi Tsuyama in yet another Japanese psych mutation. The sleeve says they’ve been touring since 1966, and that this was recorded live at San Francisco’s Avallon Ballroom in 1967, New York’s Fillmore East in 1966, and so on. Well, they will have their little joke : they recorded the disc in Japan in 1996. In truth, their sound is all over the place, a mish-mash of psychedelia, Krautrock, Improv and freeform floudering. But when Kawabata lets fly on "Brahmagnpatirana", they finally honour the spirit of Winterland 70.
Edwin Poncey

Revue & Corrigée - n°41 - Septembre 1999 (France)

Si les faux renseignements de pochette destinés à dérouter l'auditeur sont en passe de devenir un cliché qui sous peu ne prêtera même plus à sourire, force est de reconnaître qu'ici (comme chez Dorgon et quelques autres) le brouillage des pistes est pertinent et savamment dosé. A en croire le titre, il s'agirait là de prises laissées pour compte et principalement réalisées en public entre 66 et 78 (entre vague psychédélique et punk donc) à san francisco, au Fillmore East new yorkais (en 66 !), au CBGB (77, évidemment), à Manchester, Bristol et au marquee. Partout où, à un moment ou un autre , ça s’est passé. Si Seikazoku avait alors réellement existé, nul doute que sa modernité aurait enfoncé celle de tous ses compagnons de cordée, je n'ose pas parler des Deep Purple, Black Sabbath (dont tout le monde sait qu'aujourd'hui Sonic Youth est le fan club officiel), Grand Funk Railroad, Sex Pistols et autre Blue Oyster Cult alors en première ligne de la presse dite rock, mais bien des Seeds, Blue Cheer, 13th Floor Elevators, Count Five, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Agitation Free, Television, et Can : excusez du peu ! Improvisations libertaires et progressives, influences free core, volutes psychédéliques et kraut en roue libre dans un joyeux délire mélangeant une foule d’instruments hétéroclites (Moog, Rhodes, basson, kazoo, bouzouki, sarangi) sont les mots de passe d'un étrange rituel initié par les maîtres Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins, Musica Transonic), Atsushi Tsuyama (Omoide Hatoba) et Makoto Kawabata (Musica Transonic, Acid Mothers Temple). Enregistré en 96, les frasques de ce trio raviront les fans de noise nippon made in PSF. Et les amateurs des impros de White Out (le groupe de David Nuss et Tom Surgal). Totalement indispensable.
Philippe Robert

Audion - n°41 - November 1999 (UK)

An unknown/mysterious historic Japanese band, apparently, who were innovators of the type of space-rock we hear in the 90’s ? Well, at least that’s what you’d guess from this release based on the title and track info. But, then looking at the recording info, we it’s actually all recorded in 1996 - thought so ! Well, the recording quality is too precise and modern, and the guitar phrasing is so Japanese 90’s. It’s not a bad attempt to capture the spirit though, and being all instrumental with an overdose of effects, they really trip along. A few things to ponder : why the attempt to confuse with the title ? And, if these are out-takes, what is the normal sound of Seikazoku ? Lastly, I wonder if tatsuya Yoshida is the same guy that guests on drums with Vasilisk ?
Alan Freeman

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