Screaming Flowers

Bedecked in a stylish sleeve fit for the patterned robes of the wife of the 19th-century Russian ambassador – her name is probably Olga or Ludmila – comes Vasilisa The Beautiful (MUSIK ATLACH MA013), a team-up between two Japanese noise-ladies of the first degree, Junko the screaming vocalist who has more mouths than a wounded lizard, and Sachiko performing on electronic howls which she produces by torturing vegetables, and yet more vocals. It’s a horrifying blistering noise they yawp, yet also deeply compassionate somehow, perhaps due to the loving female care with which it’s performed, and its brilliantly irregular rise-and-fall (and then stay down for the count) rhythms almost parody the approach of Pauline Oliveros and her deep listening.

This particular Sachiko isn’t Sachiko M, by the way, that spritely pixie who used to play with Otomo and made increasingly quiet music with her emptied-out synth (i.e. it didn’t contain any information), rather it’s Sachiko Fukuoka who may be known to you for her bass-playing in Overhang Party and Kousokoya, plus she runs the Musik Atlach label on which this is published. Usually these days when I hear Junko doing her solo wailing, I put up an umbrella; a metaphorical umbrella to protect me from gloom. When the umbrella fails, I wear a suit of armour made of bread dough, which falls to pieces instantly in the wet weather. It’s an alarming experience. Better perhaps to hear her distraught shrieks in the context of non-stop electronic feedback racket, as here or more notoriously as part of Hijokaidan. But it’s impressive that she still has the lungs and guts that just won’t quit, pushing the experience well into the realms of the cosmic, especially since you’re out of your comfort zone the second the disc is turned on and playing.

As for Sachiko Fukuoka, I now feel I’ve been missing out in not investigating more of the metallic, hollow-tunnel output of this relentless blasterene with her rusty equipment which does as much complaining as it does noise-making. Together, the duo realise an intense and cathartic all-zinc pair of forceps which you can use to scoop out your entire inner being, starting with the brain. These two women sure know how to wield the old melon-baller, that’s for sure. A live performance from Yellow Vision in 2014. Those in the audience who survived it had much more than “yellow” in their vision the next day. We’re talking bloodshot eyes, gout in the ribcage, mashed toes…their very ears turned purple out of sympathy. From 5th May 2015.