Talking its title and inspiration from Japanese Edo period folktales – stories of vengeful ghosts – Onryō – spectral samurai and demon lovers – Meitei / 冥丁`s Kwaidan / 怪談 is an organic example of musique concrete. Synthesized from storms and struck water-filled bowls. Pre-industrial clank and old vinyl crackle. Fragments of flute, cut like flickering flame. A match being stuck to light the dark. Dissected disembodied vari-speeded voices are stretched slow one second, speedy and squeaky the next – as its author explores the intricacies of sound. Ancient rhymes haunting its fog and hum.
The results, strange and out-of-time as vintage recordings hit modern technique. Uncanny, and unnerving, the composition assembled as if possessed, or possessing psychokinesis, a will of its own. If it were the score to a movie, then imagine a Japanese Eraserhead. Eerie Lynchian scenes that play in reverse.
A spring rice field`s night chorus, of invisible crickets and frogs, forms a fever dream woven with the song of ceremonial gongs. Wildlife, bird-calls, buried in the glitch. Archival acoustic muzak is eroded, now full of false starts and errors. Poltergeists manning the gramophone-player and radiogram dial.
Too pretty perhaps to be terrifying but spooky, and seductive, for sure, as past and present continually collide – kinda like Japan herself. Boogie men and Yokai – Pokemon`s more malevolent ancestors – have rarely made music this beautiful – locked its broken looped narrative. Remember that superstition and religion, gods and monsters, occupy each and every corner out here.
Meitei / 冥丁`s Kwaidan / 怪談 was originally released in January 2018. First as a cassette, then as a record – which currently goes for ¥40, 000. Evening Chants have just repressed – just in time for halloween.