Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Mainliner @ 13th Note

And that is enough Aristotle for one day. This blog needs to party - and what better way than through heavy riffs and ferocious drumming? It's time to review MAINLINER, starring the one out of Acid Mothers Temple...

It took me a while to get into the groove - I blame my bad leg, and sitting at the back. Mainliner's approach is deceptively simple. They take a tough riff - the sort of powerful, thrusting motif that Black Sabbath would have liked in the 1970s - and push it. Steve Reich might think he knows about repetition, but Mainliner have it down pat. For the first few songs, I am disorientated by the bass throb to such an extent that I am not sure whether it is just the same bass riff.

Sat down at the back, I don't get an impression of the drumming. I have heard that Mainliner have a connection to free jazz, but the bass controls both beat and thrust. I can hear the rattle of snares and a kick, but it is as if the rest of the band are simply dressing the bass, adding ornamentation to the repetition and hiding the basic attack with curlicues of detail.

Gradually, Kawabata Makoto's guitar begins to emerge, chasing fragments of distorted melody and groaning against the roar. I make my way to the front, and things become clearer: drummer Koji Shimura is oddly unperturbed by the racket, but leaping out from the rigid beat to make ecstatic runs over the kit's full range. The bassist, Kawabe Taigen, moans and the voice is ethereal against the masculine pulse of the beat... a human presence sucked into a void, not quite a howl, undespairing, almost unheard...

I vaguely think that this is what metal sounds like to metal fans. The groove is undeniable, I am lost somewhere in the sound and here, at last, the progression of jazz rock that doesn't want to be progressive.

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