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Miminokoto - Miminokoto 2

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Artist: Miminokoto

Album: Miminokoto 2

Label: Austin

Review date: Sep. 15, 2003

Masami Kawaguchi's vocals are this Tokyo trio’s most identifiable attribute. Taking some cues from High Rise and even Keiji Haino, Kawaguchi's wail is controlled yet somehow on the edge at all times. Whether his vocals work for you or not may determine how you take to Miminokoto, but their psychedelic riffage is definitely worthy of note. Bassist Takuya Nishimura and drummer Koji Shimura (formerly of Mainliner and White Heaven) fill out the trio.

Rather than going for the fuzz crown like the previously-mentioned High Rise, this threesome seem more inspired by the Velvet Underground. In some ways there's also a bit of No Wave feeling in these songs, an insistent willingness to push the tonalities past the usual. "23 hours, 30 minutes" is the primary example here, a rolling rhythm that chugs along while the guitar is stuck on a couple of repeated, atonal chords. The harrowing vocals, combined with the shimmering guitar, push the song to the outer limits.

The opener "Wasureta" is more typical of Miminokoto’s sound, a mid-tempo song with an initially calm strummed guitar, but then the fuzz lead kicks in real strong, and the drums and bass start pounding away... The vocals are distant, wailed, and melancholic. Similarly, "Kurikaeshi" takes cues from the early ’90s shoegazer trend, all slow chorusing guitar chords, clattering percussion and a deep heartbeat of a bassline. This is a hypnotic, long, drawn-out song that increases in density as it progresses, but never bursts through into chaos.

"Arayuru" initially is another Velvets-esque stumbling guitar strum with characteristically fraught vocals. But when the guitar lead kicks in, it's powerful stuff, blazing its way through the rhythmic churn in true psych style. The closing track, "Tsuzukete," rests on a great ultra-compressed super-fuzz guitar riff, noisy as hell and full of spunk. It's a fine choice to end the first disc.

On the flip side, "Wakaranai" is a weird, abstract, free-style piece. It begins very quietly, with aimless bass noodling and random drum puttering as the guitar notes come out in little clusters. Things build slowly until the playing gets fast and fussy, quick drum smashes and thick bass muttering with collections of guitar notes and shadowy vocals. It's interesting, but not very cohesive.

"Oyasumi" is a slow, almost folky psych piece which breaks midway into some clean and clear guitar work that isn’t all that memorable.

While there are some less-than-stellar tracks here, the preponderance of solid, narcotized psych playing puts the balance squarely in the positive. I personally wouldn't mind a bit more fuzz pedal from Kawaguchi, but the band nonetheless creates a foggy world of their own that's a pretty cool place to visit.

By Mason Jones

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