Possibly the most anticipated release of 2012, the return of the greatest rock band on the planet, Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha: Hikari to Nazukeyo sees Haino on guitar and vocals joined by original Fushitsusha/Kousokuya drummer Ikuro Takahashi and bassist Mitsuru Nasuno (who he also plays with in Seijaku).
The rhythm section of Takahashi and Nasuno is as formally boggling as you might have hoped, with the pair playing in the kind of staggered signatures and over-lapping time/space visions of the Seijaku discs, but whereas the focus of those recordings was on birthing a form of future blues that took off from Steppenwolf, Albert King and The Doors here it feels very much as if the trio are attempting to reformulate original rock & roll moves, with a feel that’s somewhere between Scotty Moore, Eddie Cochran and John Lee Hooker, albeit wrestling with the kind of rhythmic equations that are most assuredly post-improvisation and deeply Japanese. Indeed, the album has two distinct sides, there are the ultra-thrifty insistent monochord carve-ups of classic trio rock/roll moves and there are the heady F/X saturated blow-outs, with Haino’s guitar exploding the kind of post-Hendrix vectors of Double Live while he sings in an otherworldly castrato, birthing a form of violent sacred music. At this point in time I think it’s safe to say that no one else has so successfully and rigorously disinterred and interrogated the basic tenets of rock music as Fushitsusha and to think that at 60 years old Haino is still making the most radical and searching rock music of anyone’s career is a tribute to his commitment to the specifics of vision and his belief in the potential of the form. From where I’m sitting it feels like the whole history of rock music has led up to this. Highest possible recommendation!