Much of the loud music we value as forward-thinking or cool — black metal, doom, shoegaze, drone, noise — concerns itself with being ‘monolithic.’ The sound that exits the amps of sunn 0))) or Earth comes at its audience in an undifferentiated mass like hot, moist air hitting a mountain range or, I dunno, the locust swarm scene from Days of Heaven. Production choices in the more stylish strains of metal tend toward the homogenizing and bedimming, with blast beats becoming nearly indistinguishable from vocal gurgling and guitars surging like acid reflux. In live performance, musicians stand there cloaked, fogged, or visually unimportant.
The first two albums by the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi were a bit mysterious. On 2010's Tima Formosa, the instrumentation was unexpected-- particularly O'Rourke's piano-- and the music often got so cloudy and formless it was hard to tell who was playing what. Things became a little clearer when Ambarchi moved to drums and O'Rourke to bass for 2011's In a flash everything comes together as one there is no need for a subject.
Following 2011's In a Flash Everything Comes Together as One There Is No Need for a Subject, figureheads of experimental freakrock Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi join forces in collaboration once more on Imikuzushi. This sprawling megalith of noise and tension casts the trio in traditional rock band roles, recorded completely live in Tokyo with O'Rourke on bass, Ambarchi as the drummer, and Haino limiting himself to highly effected guitar and vocals. All three are known for their work pushing sounds to their limits, so the choice to transplant themselves into such standard instrumentation becomes a challenge as to how far they can take this commonplace setup.