10/24/10

NISENNENMONDAI


Masako Takada, guitar and keys. Photo: Daniel Niebuhr
Thursday night we were back at Loppen for another great show. This time it was Japanese three-piece Nisennenmondai. Saw them at this year's Roskilde and they blew us away with their mixture of repetitive kraut disco jams and explosive noise freakouts. Been listening quite a lot to their latest album Destination Tokyo these last couple of months and featured it in my 2009 album yearlist
Yuri Zaikawa; bass. Photo: Daniel Niebuhr
Nisennenmondai are three women from Japan; guitarist Masako Takada "Mai-Chan", bassist Yuri Zaikawa "Zai", and drummer Sayaka Himeno "Hime". The band name means "Y2K bug" in Japanese (a current term when the band was founded ten years ago). The fact that the band is made up of three Japanese women is obviously awesome in itself but know that this is not a novelty act. The girls know their skills, have an amazing interplay between them and present themselves as a very tight musical unit both on stage and on record.
Sayaka Himeno; drums. Photo: Solveig H. Olsen
The music of Nisennenmondai is hypnotically repetitive. My brain was split during their performance. One half was fighting against the possible enjoyment of the repetitive grooves while the other half was immersed in the trance.
There is a very strong concept around repetition, drone, minimalism and trance. Time has different meaning, or maybe no meaning at all. Life and death. The drone goes on forever, beyond death, you accept it and that's just the way things unfold. No story, no going from A to B to C, just being. Mere existence. Life and death. The concept is there and it includes a whole array expressions.
Masako Takada's guitar loops add both texture and backbone. Photo: Daniel Niebuhr
So the half of my brain that has been brought up with teleological urges was annoyed, while the other half was jubilant. The two were fighting but in the end I came out relieved. Relieved that I for a moment was freed from the tyranny of vocals, of lyrics, of the usual specifics, the constant striving towards a goal, the end to the story. Instead I was lost in a fire that burns away without end. Awash in the ebb and flow and it was glorious.

For this blog post I pulled the old "dot a photographer on the shoulder" trick and this time around it was Daniel Niebuhr who was the chosen one. I noticed him taking photos during the show. Turns out he was taking photos and reviewing for Danish music site Undertoner.dk and he also sent me some photos. Thanks Daniel! If you read Danish, do check out his review for details, song titles etc. My girlfriend Solveig also snapped a few, including the great drummer pic above.

Not much else to say other than that I'm really thankful this band exists and for the fact that I've had the chance to see them play twice. Thank you Nisennenmondai.

Do continue if you would like to hear/see what you've been reading.

Interview bits and clips from performances, press the "up" arrow, then press "CC" for English subtitles:


"Mirrorball", live clip. What energy!



"Ikkkyokume", live recording. A great noise track!


"Destination Tokyo". Title/final track from the album. Great, great stuff:

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