Kawabata Makoto – In the Lodge of Prince Frederick

IMG_20150114_104506nearly 50 minutes of Makoto exploring the possibilities of his guitar in Hebden Bridge’s Masonic Hall. Makoto’s solo output away from Acid Mothers Temple is always far more way-out there and here he creates a wide-ranging cosmic adventure that goes from heaven to hell and back again. Limited edition of 130 copies on orange cassettes.

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Kawabata Makoto manages to channel the distilled spirit of Hebden Bridge in this solo set of electric guitar and what sounds like a slew of pitch shifter, ring modulator and delay pedals. As with most of his solo recordings, here Makoto eschews the prog/psych excesses of his various groups in favour of a starker, more introverted approach that ranges from isolationist ambience and shimmering waves of silvery chords to alien plumes of twisting feedback, motion sickness glissando and melancholy cello-like resonances. He moves across the various sections of the set with seamless grace, conjuring up a similar atmosphere of cosmic wonder seen in some of Keiji Haino’s more meditative moments or KK Null’s early solo guitar work. I’m not sure when this was recorded but I’m guessing it was winter as there’s a frosty, almost glacial feel to the music that’s perfect for theses dark months.” – Jim at Norman Records

What a title, eh? Like The Incredible String Band jamming in the background of some lost Twin Peaks episode … or something. Anybody who’s followed the solo guitar explorations of Acid Mothers Temple’s spiritual leader Kawabata Makoto knows he well and truly eschews his “Speed Guru” nickname for what usually constitutes lengthy, minimal, often improvised and often ambient pieces. This outing recorded at the Masonic Hall in Hebden Bridge manages to stand out though, with a gradually aging Kawabata plunging even deeper into the recesses of the cosmos than usual. There came a point during the 2000s (when the Acid Mothers Temple camp were seemingly releasing albums on a weekly basis) that Makoto’s improvisations for solo guitar became somewhat predictable, though admittedly far from stale. Lines of loop drones and impressionistic glissandi would wash over the listener, with Makoto occasionally breaking into sparse lush plucking, or dropping back into some variation of his eternal riff from ‘Pink Lady Lemonade’. Anybody who’s seen more recent solo live sets from Kawabata knows he’s changed as a solo improviser, drinking in the atmosphere of his venues, and often eschewing any semblance of melody or the user-friendly wash of ambient chords in favour of atonality, and timbral experimentation. A series of bizarre passages strewn together by stream of consciousness fill up both sides of this 50-minute tape, with Makoto spending plenty of time scraping his strings furiously with a bow, warping tones through a ring modulator, and generally making drones almost unrecognisable as having first come from a guitar. Some way into the second side, we’re treated to some very pretty noodling akin to Kawabata favourite Jerry Garcia reaching ultra deep into space on some harsh-acid-trip reading of ‘Dark Star’. Kawabata soon disintegrates the pretty shapes of his noodling, quickly disseminating everything into whistling wails of lingering glissandi underpinned by folksy picking, and vocals!!. It’s not quite “The Speed Guru Sings”, but his mumbled intonations make the penultimate passage of the tape some of the tenderest music the man’s recorded since his utterly gorgeous collaboration with Richard Youngs back in 2001 – admittedly he soon destroys the sweetness with a blast of red raw amp-exploding feedback. Kawabata Makoto continues to develop as an improviser, and his focus here on riding wave after wave of non sequiturs into the cosmos makes In The Black Lodge Of Prince Frederick one of his most revealing and rawest solo recordings.” – Tristan Bath, The Quietus


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