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Absolut Null Punkt - Absolut Null Punkt

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Artist: Absolut Null Punkt

Album: Absolut Null Punkt

Label: Important

Review date: May. 20, 2004

In 1984, prior to his founding of proto-metal armageddon unit Zeni Geva, Kazuyuki K. Null forged, along with Seijiro Murayama (the original drummer for Keiji Haino’s peerless Fushitsuha), the ungodly alliance of Absolut Null Punkt (ANP). After a 15-year hiatus, the duo decided to play together once again, a decision culminating in a series of performances in their native Japan and, more recently, several shows in parts of mainland Europe. This self-titled release on the US-based, Important Records, is a document of performances taken from both Tokyo and Osaka.

As you would expect from two veterans of the Japanese noise community, Null and Murayama concoct a visceral brew of pulverizing free rock improvisation and Merzbow-style white noise power electronics, as guitars and the mysteriously titled ‘nullsonics’ duel it out with primitive pugilistic percussion, all accompanied by Null’s truly terrifying guttural growls and banshee screams. Their combined force feels like the onrush of the four horsemen of the apocalypse on Derby Day.

There are, however, occasional pools of tranquility in the eye of the storm, where the duo verge on territory hitherto explored by Norway’s chief exponents of ‘death ambient,’ Supersilent. For instance, track two (all pieces here are unencumbered by title) begins sedately enough, with Murayama coaxing things along nicely on ride cymbal and tom rolls, building up tension slowly before the tempest is finally allowed to rage with a barrage of sharp electronic blasts and unearthly vocal wails. The piece then gradually fades away in a miniature pyrotechnic display of electronic burbles and whirrs, choking and spluttering like phantom catherine wheels in celebration of the exorcism that has just taken place. This piece epitomizes ANP’s bi-polarity.

The final assault on Absolut Null Punkt is a 21-minute descent through the nine circles of hell. One more ferocious attack on the cerebrum, with Null more than happy to reprise his role as the sonic Mephistopheles. This is no easy journey and one that requires some patience and a stout heart – but there are rewards to be gleaned along the way, with the quieter passages being particularly engaging.

By Spencer Grady

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