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Haikai No Ku
Temporary Infinity Matt Ridout , January 15th, 2016 10:34

Within the Toshugo Shrine in Nikko, Japan lies the Crying Dragon, a large ceiling painting depicting, as you might expect, a dragon. It is named so because of the loud reverberation that is heard when two sticks are struck directly underneath the position of the dragon's head, a sound which cannot be replicated in any other part of the otherwise acoustically dead hall. The first notes of 'Saltes Of Humane Dust' from the new Haikai No Ku LP Temporary Infinity made me think that the same effect had been captured within the Soundroom studios in Gateshead, such is the intensity and density of the noise contained within.

Temporary Infinity is the third full length from the Newcastle-based trio following Sick On My Journey in 2013 and 2014's Ultra High Dimensionality. With a lineup comprising members of Bong, Foot Hair and Female Borstal the personnel of the band and indeed the band itself are probably familiar to many who follow the underground music scene in the UK. On the back of their previous releases Haikai No Ku have built a reputation for dizzyingly trippy heavy instrumental rock. They comfortably occupy the same sphere as the dark psychedelia of Ohkami No Jikan, the feedback overload of Les Rallizes Denudes or the rhythmic pulse of groundbreaking late 60's Swedish group Pärson Sound if that can assist classification in any way. To put it in basic terms, Haikai No Ku could be appreciated by anyone who prefers their music blown out, expansive and mind-bending.

The five songs on the record take us on a half-hour ride through a hazy world of guitar feedback, delay and distortion lazily underpinned by a rhythm section that is sometimes lost within the waves of guitar, only to re-emerge on a completely different tempo and trajectory. The aforementioned 'Saltes Of Humane Dust' being a perfect example with the initial guitar drone interspersed with waves of melodic noise on top of a sluggish beat. The song builds to a crescendo that completely buries the rhythm section, only for it to resurface with a piano-esque bassline and mid-tempo beat that dominates the last minute of the track. It makes for an unpredictable and engaging listen due to these shifts in texture and tone.

'Temple Factory' sees the bass and drums take centre stage, with a driving rhythm at the forefront while the guitar careens through the mix. As we travel further into the LP, 'In Garden Of Sunken Eclipse' offers a shimmering  opening motif that could have been constructed by Ennio Morricone, before it dismantles itself and descends into the bowels of a distorted hell. It's the perfect soundtrack to a nightmarish yet-to-be-made western where all the townsfolk turn out to be flesh-eating zombies by the end of the movie and no one comes out unscathed.

The magic of Haikai No Ku is their ability to simultaneously embrace beauty and horror within their music. Sonically they are both majestic and sinister, which results in a record that is dark and brooding without the pretence and trappings that can sometimes plague heavy instrumental rock music that is consciously trying to be so. In its shifting patterns and textures Temporary Infinity serves as an exciting document of a band that is developing and expanding its' musical ideas rather than simply retreading old ground.

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