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Published: 2006/10/24
by Randy Ray

Have You Seen the Other Side of the Sky? – Acid Mothers Temple

Ace Fu 41

Cynical? Hard to please? Looking for ultra-spacey freakfests, which appear to have vanished from modern soundscapes? Jump through the AMT headphone hole, Alice. Makata Kawabata reunites Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso Underground Freak Out (U.F.O., dig) after a few years of mondo rock raveups with AMT and the Cosmic Inferno. This is big news in the avant-garde psychedelic jam community. The AMTers are not known too well outside of Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia and a few thousand apartments scattered from Berlin to Brooklyn to Berkeley. However, their cult-like following has slowly spread since their inception in 1996 to challenge jaded space monkeys who complain that “bands don’t kick out the fucking weirdo jams anymore.”

Wellone has come to the right place in the celestial neighborhood of champion guitar god Kawabata and his wandering commune of Zappa-on-LSD-25 musicians. The album begins with “Attack from Planet Hattifatte,” as a trippy 1950s sound effect morphs into a phased-channel tape loop lifting your tripping head immediately off the once corporeal shoulders before a colossal duel ensues between light speed electric guitars, early Sabbath bass, frantic drum fills, a cataclysmic flute and someone tweaking a hell of lot of knobs on a bunch of raped synthesizers. “Buy the Moon of Jupiter” is a 22nd century Japanese folk song that settles the brain back down on the moon without a hint of sobriety — think Devendra Banhart fronting a really cool Japanese acid rock troupe of minstrel gypsies. Alas, this is merely the commercially appetizing opening salvo.

“Asimo’s Naked Breakfast: Rice and Shine” follows with fifteen minutes of montageseveral songs seemingly intermingled without any specific piece standing out to break the tension between noise rock and what is beyond human comprehension. Kawabata confidently slips along the sacred path of twisting insanity on acoustic and vocals while flutes and synth edits fly in-and-out of the mix as if Edward Scissorhands was performing bizarre chops without regard to textual continuity. But it works, even when the song melts into a beautifully orgasmic (literally) sequence where either a Japanese lady is having an epic fine time in the sheets or that’s one fucking heady root canal. The segment is mixed to ingenious effect with a lyrical guitar riff, a restrained flute solo and electronic gibberish that adds dimension to the exquisite madness. Alas, another prelude.

“I Wanna Be Your Bicycle Saddle” is a punk rock snarling dog from an alternate universe CBGB that proves that the AMTers can bedevil the Mohawks, as well. “Interplanetary Love” serves as a quiet prelude of graceful poetry without altering the towering trip, as the listener is pulled deeper down the hole until the final thirty-minute pulsating juggernaut“Tale of the Solar Sail-Dark Stars in the Dazzling Sky.” A simple bit of flute playing along with a drone opens the proceedings as the long instrumental begins its epic journey. What happens next is a mixture of superhuman jam, 7,000 tracks of mad experimentation and a very heavy guitar riff that rumbles onwards and onwards through the chaos serving as a welcome, friendly hand to hold through one of the greatest acid trip songs ever executed. There is just too much going on in this sequence to adequately describe. The scattershot minutes roar by as the marching wah-wah sax cavalcade rips open trance rock layers until multiple tracks simultaneously explode. And, you know — thirty minutes feels too soon when the song suddenly contorts itself back into a lotus position before subsiding.

If you like your ambient jam to circle backwards through time until the primordial juices of what once was are explored while a psychedelic ranger overlord is chanting a timeless guitar melody over and over again… well, as stated before: slip down this headphone hole without any fear. Acid Mothers Temple has crafted a very diverse and consistently brilliant matrix of sounds that can only be categorized and stored in that region far beyond Rod Serling’s Twilight Zonea place all its own known as the great What If?

In the end, the scoreboard reads:

Japanese Hippies 1

Jaded Space Monkeys 0

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