Mutyumu – Il Ya – 4.5/5
Step One: Revive Bach (classical composer), get him his favourite Piano and set of organs, and get him shipped to the rendezvous by freight. He hasn’t played for the last 300 years, so he might be a little rusty.
Step Two: Head down towards France and kidnap 'Veronique Gens' (operatic vocalist for the composer Canteloube’s 'Chant D'Auvergne') and one of the violinists from ‘Les Fragments De La Nuit’ (doesn’t matter which). This’ll make for some nice operatic work without going overboard with it. Just for gods sake, nobody mention the German guy. Get them a flight as well.
Step Three: Convince the guitarist for ‘God is an Astronaut,’ Chris Tsagakis (drummer for Rx Bandits/Sounds of Animals Fighting), and the vocalist for ‘Envy’ how awesome it would be to jam together. Tell each in turn that the other two are at the rendezvous. If that doesn’t work, tell them they have some marijuana with them too.
Step Four: Lock them all in a recording studio until something musical comes out.
Sound confusing? That would probably be because it is not exactly the easiest sound to adequately describe. The Japanese are at again, creating music that's not quite ‘Avant-Garde,’ but rather an odd blend of classical music and post-rock with an occasional ‘Heavy Metal’ slant; the drums at times performing very serenely in the back, then in a moment of confusion as the blackened screams emerge – always behind the lead – he decides its better suited to play more aggressively during this passage. The guitars prove capable of varying between their meandering melodic twang to a more light rock-inspired passage, and whilst the bass is often overshadowed by the other instruments, this all serves to form a solid ‘post-rock’ side to their sound.
But more than just providing an addition flavour, the winning combination of classical elements as often as not completely dominates over the other aspects; the operatic vocals working as a superb contrast to the screams, sounding capable of tremendous power that never needs use, gently supplying an emotional melody that at no point becomes shrill, irritating, or overly gratuitous with the use of vibrato. The violins delicately layered in the back, assisting in the creation of the atmospheric backing – whatever that might be at the time – fail to make anywhere near the impression of the combination of piano and organs, going from the gothic to the delicate and fragile passages. Often heavily repeated, they nonetheless manage to feel like modernized for rock music without losing the beauty of their native genre.
This feels almost like a battle; the vocals stand off against one another; the piano and organ magic matched against the guitars and the violin and bass battling amongst themselves, letting the drummer try to referee this musical death match. And yet, somehow it works; both elements stripped and put on their own would make for a perhaps fairly generic sounding piece, both sides capable if not phenomenal at their chosen style, but the original manner in which the two have been pitted against each other is what lends them their unique tone. This is also my major gripe – rather than create something entirely unique, they’ve taken two musical genres and slammed them together, which whilst it turns out to be a pretty good combination, has limited scope for variation within their little niche sound. Don’t go in looking for post-rock with a twist, and don’t go in looking for modern classical music with growls - it’s far too evenly mixed between the two to differentiate between them - and you'll find something that does things a little differently.
Highlights: 眼は神 (Track 3), 反復する世界の果てで白夜は散る (Track 5), ドクサの海の悪棲 (Track 6), 祈り (Track 10)
Mutyumu – Mutyumu - 4/5
Something about this release didn't feel as strong, there were sections that didn't quite have the atmosphere of the rest of the work, pulling you out somewhat from the otherwise lulling melodies. By no means a bad album, but certainly a capable foreshadowing of the work to come.