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2018-09-03

KONSTRUKT & KEIJI HAINO - A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire / A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire (Live)

We all know those people who are stuck in some musical past (mostly the soundtrack of their own teenage years) and persistently claim that there is no more good music today. Every after Pink Floyd / Rolling Stones / Nirvana / Frank Sinatra etc. sucks.
And I always tell those guys the same thing: There has never been so much great music of all kinds out there - and it has never been so easy to discover it. If you are a too lazy creature of habit to look beyond what the music industry pushes into some charts - it's your fault alone.

I constantly find myself discovering more rabbit holes leading to all kinds of musical worlds than I can ever process in this one lifetime.

The following pair of album reviews is a good example of finding shit by following one of the million paths the internet provides. Just read Bandcamp Daily from time to time and you'll detect the weirdest, most obscure and exciting stuff.

Back in June they had this article "Devil Horns: Metal Bands Who Use Brass And Woodwinds". I mainly wanted to read the text about the Kayo Dot classic "Choirs Of The Eye", but then I saw that my beloved old John Zorn project Painkiller from the early 1990s was also featured there, but with their third album "Execution Ground", which I had never heard. It really is the band's masterpiece - and it was re-released on vinyl in 2016, by a german advantgarde label called Karlrecords (named after Karl Marx).

I got the double record, I love it. And I had Karlrecords in the back of my head now.

So when two weeks ago I received an email informing me about the label being featured on Bandcamp Daily again, that led me to Konstrukt and Keiji Haino - both names which didn't ring any bell for me before - and their two collaborative records.




KONSTRUKT & KEIJI HAINO - A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire (LP) (2017)

Yes, that album title is quite a mouthful, and even more so are the song titles on this thing. Luckily there are just two of those monstrous brainfuckers, even though there are six tracks on the records. But well, in the end that stuff is just a quirky sidenote anyway.

What do we have here musically? If I had to describe it only using the content of my blog as a source of reference, I would that the closest I could get would be a mixture of Black Cube Marriage's "Astral Cube" and the whole body of work of the Dead Neanderthals. And that would cover about sixty percent of what this album has to offer - max.

So let's take a look at the parties at play here:

Konstrukt
are a quartet, as much routed in the traditional Coleman / Coltrane free jazz approach and its advantgardistic offsprings, as in their turkish heritage, which is unmistakenly represented by the heavy use of folk percussions and mediterranian wind instruments. Imagine the Sun Ra Arkestra with oriental folk instead of afrofuturism. (And they have even played together with Sun Ra bandleader Marshall Allen in the past!)
On top of that they are also using analog synthesizers, tape echo looping effects and other electronic stuff. So maybe I could have also cited the Köhnen Pandi Duo above.
But what Konstrukt are bringing to the table is its very own beast. And it goes fucking berserk in all the best ways. With the broad range of instrumentation it's impossible to pinpoint every ingredient which gives this over the top inferno its special flavour. But even as the saxophone afficionado I am, there is no doubt that one instrument which particularly stands out in an almost unnerving, but absolutely brilliant way is the zurna. There hasn't been such a zurna overload in my record collection since King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's "Flying Microtonal Banana".

Konstrukt have teamed up with Keiji Haino, who happens to be a japanese noise rock legend. And since his main contributions are wild guitars and the occasional insane shit screaming, there is no way I can keep my advantgarde free jazz noise rock grindcore whatever go-to-reference Naked City out of this. He also provides additional percussion and air synthesizers. If you haven't heard of those yet - you should definitely do a search on Youtube. Sick stuff.

If you are now assuming that all this can only add up to an unlistenable mess, you are probably right concerning your personal perception. If you hate free jazz and experimental improvisatory excess, this album surely won't turn you around.

But if you are receptive to the styles combined on "A Philosophy Warping", this record truly is a goldmine which bleeds instrumental skill and atmospheric instinct to a rich listening experience, which unlocks new details every time you spin it.


Highlights: All Things Will Be Reduced To Equal D お Tっっ3 BBRc MMM あ元 Part 1 - 3, The Darkness Of +​(​plus) And The Paleness Of –​(​minus) Drag Each To An Identical Distance And Reanalyse Blending In Some Pain Part 1- 3 - which is the whole album, because seriously: you either hate every bit of this or you love it all. There is no middleground here.






When your first record has such a catchy title, why not just use it again?

There you go...




KONSTRUKT & KEIJI HAINO - A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire (Live) (LP) (2018)


At least the colour scheme of the cover artwork is different. Those paintings look really great as the real physical thing by the way.

Ok, there are other differences as well:
This time it's a live album, recorded with an audience. And it's not a performance of the older album, but completely new material.

The song titles are... something... again, but this time there is no bothering dividing the record sides into parts, even though there technically are some breaks, where the band starts fresh. But it's all presented as two twenty minutes+ tracks.

Stylistically it doesn't fall too far from the first record, but there is a distinct emphasis on some elements. The first side finds the band more guitar-driven than before, while the B-side focusses more on the saxophony jazz sound. And on both sides the traditional turkish influences are dialed back.
Those statements don't go for every minute of each respective side, but at at least you can say that there is a tendency you can feel.

It surely pruduces a vibe which overall is a little different than on the 2017 album. Maybe it's just the musicians knowing each other better by now, but this records feels closer to live albums like "Dark Magus" or "Agharta" from Miles Davis (maybe with temporary Herbie Hancock sidekick and synth pioneer Patrick Gleeson in the mix) than its predecessor.

Plus the japanese vocal madness of course. Let's not forget that.


Highlights: Into A Trap Surely So Elaborately Laid Air Has Entered And A Splendid Beautiful Monster Now Swims, Excess + Analysis / Courage = (Yes, that's the album again.)




I really can't settle for a favorite between these two albums. Because just as they are equally named, they are both equally as impressive, rewarding  and out there. So it really makes sense to listen to these both albums as different sides of the same coin.

As of now there are not too many LPs left. And the high quality pressing undoubtly does the music justice. So if you think you might be interested in more than a digital download, you'd better act fast.

It might be too early to say something like that, but in the world of extreme experimental jazz "A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire" and "A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire (Live)" have pretty good chances to reside among my all-time favorites.


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