Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit
April is The Cruellest Month
Blank Forms Editions
Japanese guitarist Masayuki “Jojo” Takayanagi (1932-1991) was a jazzer – playing cool jazz in the late 50s, a disciple of Lennie Tristano. He turned his back on the movement after hearing the late-60s classic, Free Form Guitar by Chicago Transit Authority. After that all Takayangi wanted to do was make noise. He formed the New Direction Unit and set about making shards of guitar sound, remnants of counter-melodies circling in a wash of groove-less drums, honking saxes and howls of bass and cello.
He was like Ornette Coleman on a guitar. His music as important for the development of the guitar as those countercultural, post-modern masterpieces by Derek Bailey and Sonny Sharrock.
This reissue – has this lost-classic finally on vinyl (and on CD and streaming) outside of Japan for the first time in full. These sessions date back to 1975 when Takayanagi lined up Nobuyoshi Ino (bass/cello), Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) and Kenji Mori (bass clarinet/alto sax/flute) to seemingly destroy any hint of a song and smash and bash his way through the three tracks standing here. It was eventually released in Japan in 1991 – in tribute to the guitarist. Now the wider world gets to hear it.
Cataclysms of guitar-squall and shreiking sheets of saxophone noise will shake you awake and rock you through a soundtrack-storm. This is The Dead C and Thurston Moore on stage with the ghosts of Coltrane and Coleman. It is Sonny Sharrock and Kaoru Abe and Eric Dolphy and the band Kinski all talking atop one another.
It is a fucking thrill-ride.
Think Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun if pulled to pieces and reassembled by a whole new set of noise-terrorists.
You’ll hate this, most likely. Unless you are open-eared and ready. And then it’s the absolute best noise-rock/free-jazz you’ll have heard in an age. Like an action painting translated to sound and pressed to vinyl. Like the stuff of the very best nightmares.
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