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Omoide Hatoba - Mantako CD (album) cover

MANTAKO

Omoide Hatoba

Krautrock


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Guldbamsen
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4 stars Madness afoot!

I remember playing this on the stereo whilst visiting my folks - freaking out my mother in a way that had her reaching for the phone to call the doctors. This Japanese act is one of the most unique and crazy I've come across in recent times, and putting this album on right now makes me think of how far I've actually ventured into the more out there progressive lands, since I first started out listening to the likes of Pink Floyd and Genesis. I still love both, don't get me wrong, but had I been handed Mantako during my prog infancy, I'd most likely have laughed my ass off and consequently forgotten all about it...

This album is madness incarnate. It tries so many things all at once, and if you've ever encountered the craziness of the Japanese - be that in those mad television shows or just through a mate of yours, then you probably know what I'm talking about. Mantako is at the very heart of this bizarre humour, it reaches its arms up towards the sky and instantly looses the straitjacket. Nothing is held back - everything comes in one big gulp with play doh figurines, marmalade thongs and exploding grand mothers.

There is a certain (and here I am certainly choosing my words carefully) technique? Erm method? Man I really don't know, but what I'm trying to say, is that not unlike David Bowie did with his famous lyrical cut-up approach, these guys transcribe onto their music a series of twisted and colourful sonic motifs. It's like cutting and pasting all these wild and frantic ideas onto whatever platform they've rolled out, - and then suddenly this highly original style of theirs comes into fruition - and Bob's your uncle - and grannies do fly.

How to describe the music hhmmm? Post punk aggression mixed with Hawaiian slide guitars. Star Trek beetle electronics creeping around in ecstasy. Mattress springs used in a melodic sense. Psychedelic cowboys and Indians related western soundtrack with big bursts of flaming lunacy.

It is almost impossible to convey how this album sounds without coming off sounding glib and completely insane. The first time I heard this, I had this overpowering imagery flashing of standing in some sort of preschool for musical prodigies, but on this particular day the children had dropped acid and subsequently attacked every instrument in sight with the finesse of a drunken bar-brawl. Plastic flutes being spat in, guitars getting ripped to shreds, moog synthesizers played with chopsticks, percussive contraptions flung furiously into small cages with rodents in, jew harps and tribal drumming - all of this decorated with the occasional Cherokee war chantings, mad screaming and finally my absolute favourite: the insane prairie hyena vocals.

Now if you thought Naked City had perfected the slice and dice method of throwing everything under the sun into small musical segments spanning from Batman revamped to metallic insanity, then hold your horses, pull granny down from the clouds and have a listen to this eclectic(HA!) Japanese act. Although Omoide Hatoba started out as the brainchild of former Boredoms guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto, the sound is still completely original and will have you reaching for your fleeting braincells in times of serrated insanity Hawaiian Cherokee toddler kitchen salvation soundtrack madness.

Leave it up to the Japanese to make an album like this, and leave it up to people with Monty Pythonesque humour, webbed feet, ears of soy and an open attitude towards music that is far away from the mundane and mainstream. Far far away. Leave it up to those few to enjoy this record. I personally love it like I love orchestrated chaos - talking to fish - telling kids stories of perilous space journeys on kangaroos and how I got the middle name Ford Anchovy. Why then? Because the older I get, the more insane the world around me feels, and devoting myself to nonsensical things like music without manners and direction sometimes makes for the best of parallels in a world of war and famine.

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Posted Saturday, March 03, 2012 | Review Permalink

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