Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

11. Keiji HainoA Challenge to Fate

Keiji Haino is a big blues fan. Some years ago, when I was in Tokyo, he invited me to his home, and it’s filled with records. I’ve never seen someone have so many records like he has. He is a really fanatical collector. The walls are covered with record sleeves. He has a massive collection of blues. It’s all over the place. He listens to a lot of classical and a lot of ethnic, traditional music from around the world, all kinds of stuff. This was the first album I heard from him, A Challenge To Fate. On the first track, he’s only clunking his walking stick and screaming. I used to live in Barcelona, and I was listening to this track very loudly one night, and the neighbors called the police because they thought someone was getting killed in my apartment. Since I bought this album, I’ve been collecting his releases. I have about 70 at the moment. There’s a couple of them I still don’t have; he has released a lot. I like many things that he does. He has been doing stuff with only some tone generators, very minimal.

When we worked together with him in the studio with Pan Sonic, he didn’t want to have any kind of plan. He insisted we just play and record, so it was all improvisation that we did in the studio for two days. As a result of that, we had a lot of recordings, hours and hours. Typically for improvisation and doing things without any planning, there were only short segments that were good and really working, so it took a lot of editing and listening to single out the best parts and make an album out of it. Haino doesn’t spend a lot of time in the studio after processing. Working with Haino was easy for us though.

This album is a good introduction because it has many different styles, but there are so many albums I like by him… this Fushitsusha album, The Time Is Nigh, especially the track ‘Black Cluster’. This Black Blues, which was a sort of double edition, which had an acoustic and an electronic version, I like a lot too. It’s hard to point out a single one because there are so many. There’s something in his approach where he can often make the simplest things work. He has one whole album where the only thing he plays is a snare drum and nothing else. It’s about one hour of playing with the snare, but it works for me.

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