ASTRO/Harsh Noise Movement – “Dedicated To Shuji Terayama” Split Album Review (noise)

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Dedicated to Shuji Terayama

From legendary Japanese noise artist Hiroshi Hasegawa’s project ASTRO (which he shares with  Hiroko Hasegawa) and the ever-prolific Harsh Noise Movement come a split release – ltd. ed. CD and digital album, Dedicated To Shuji Terayama.

From Harsh Noise Movement: “Shūji Terayama (寺山 修司 Terayama Shūji, December 10, 1935 – May 4, 1983) was an avant-garde Japanese poet, dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer. Many critics[1] view him as one of the most productive and provocative creative artists to come out of Japan.”

When you hear the name Hasegawa, you already know you’re going to hear something extraordinary in the world of noise.  The ASTRO piece starts out as what sounds like a field or environmental recording that quickly gets swallowed by a vacuous noise whirlwind.  The wind subsides for a bit as the chaotic background noises/found object strikes make themselves heard.  Then a noise wall the likes of which could melt the gates of Hell starts at around 3 minutes into it.  From time to time the wall recedes like a break in the storm in which cases it sounds like rain.  Now, given Hiroshi Hasegawa’s legacy, it would surprise me not one bit if these rain sounds were made with noise.  Yes, he’s just that good.  The noise takes a more sporadic role later in the track and allows for some very uncomfortable yet minimalist sections that rival the skill of Rudolf Eb.er and Guillermo Pizzaro.  ASTRO appears to be messing and manipulating with a number of organic industrial/found object strikes and field recordings among the noise blotches.  The track becomes abrasive to delicate and uncomfortable and borders on post-apocalyptic/death industrial.

The piece by Harsh Noise Movement, quite honestly I’m not quite sure what to say about.  However, let me explain why that is a compliment in the favor of the artist.  You see, there are a number of artists out there who create harsh noise walls – aesthetically simple perhaps but maybe technically complex depending on their set-up. But some of the better noise pieces are those which are mixed in such a way that the buried sounds and layers force the listener inward toward the piece in attempt to identify the sounds.

Now, I could be wrong.. BUT, it almost appears like there are not just layers.  Rather, it appears as though there are two separate things going on almost like the noise is a blanket covering a thousand tortured sonic souls allowing them only to be heard… not to allow for escape.  Nevertheless, if you follow and pay attention to Harsh Noise Movement you’ll notice that while he does churn out a lot of work, he at least seems to be exploring different areas of the fortress and not creating the same wall over and over again.

Great split release from both artists.  That’s all that really needs to be said.

Tracklist:

  1. ASTRO – A Story Of The Labyrinth 26:10
  2. Harsh Noise Movement – The Cage 24:29

https://harshnoisemovement.bandcamp.com/album/dedicated-to-shuji-terayama

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