Utech Records, Kingdom of Drone, brings us some delightful drawl courtesy of Suzuki Junzo. Layers of ethereal guitar drone meditation for daaaays. Track #1 kicks in with the sparse, shimmering repetition of a short melodic phrase, looping and leeching itself into your brain as the elements begin to slowly stack up creating a tower of sounds. An escalating blizzard of guitar noise which only gets thicker, foggier and more grating as the minutes click by for about 20 minutes. This piece starts of pleasant and ends with the claws. Track #2 resonates tension contoured by calm. A drone-feedback soundscape. Pretty static compared to some of the other tracks. #2 smoothly segues into track #3, which teases your ache for cohesion with fuzzed out distorto-guitar sounds playing almost yet not quite riffage, which repeats and repeats as it slowly decays and eventually loses the little tangibility it had to begin with, leaving you engulfed in a flurry of noise. Track #4 wraps with a meditative, feeding back, oscillating, clicking, scraping, journey of drone. More similar to #2 in its static tendencies. Let the relentless buzz possess you. -Surfer Rosa (KFJC 89.7FM)
Two new Utech's this list, and that's something to be stoked about, 'cause the label rarely disappoints, if ever. This one's from Japanese guitarist Suzuki Junzo, who's played in Tokyo flashbacking psych rock bands like Overhang Party, Miminokoto, and Astral Travelling Unity, though here he's solo, just him and his guitar and the black void. Yes, it can be bleak and ominous... but pretty, calm, mesmeric, too. There's four long tracks, beginning with the 20-minute title track, inspired by bluesman Lonnie Johnson's "Blue Ghost Blues"... though again, this isn't blues. Something far darker. For the first half, it could be a folky James Blackshaw on luudes kind of thing... then it enters eerie ambient suspense soundtrack territory... before around the 12 minute mark when Junzo puts the pedal to the metal and his amp begins to howl and fry Keiji Haino style. For reals, for Rallizes. Track two, "Beyond The Yellow Clouds", is 11 minutes of dark shimmering drone bliss, segueing smoothly into the disc's shortest (8:33) but most badass track, its title a tribute to the Pink Fairies, "Shivering Larry's Last Freakout", totally monomaniacal, distortodelic, repetitive riffarma that comes across like one of Tetuzi Akiyama's brilliant/dumb "Don't Forget To Boogie" cuts mixed maybe with some NWOFHM (Circle) stuff, frantic primitive minimalist ZZ Haino in a wind tunnel action - damn! Then as a comedown, chillout, final piece, there's 13 more minutes of ghostly guitar grind, a la Ulaan Khol or Li Jianhong, "Studies For Three Broken Canes Of Dr. Dream", that lives up to its fantastic title, whatever that means. We like, but we'll be queuing up ol' Shivering Larry again in a second, that's the jam!
Utech wins again with this one - grab a copy and put on your shades and enjoy. Limited to 300 copies only. And as usual with Utech stuff, packaged in a nice oversized sleeve. The artwork's mostly black, the only image, a half-seen Junzo holding his ghostly guitar. He's NOT wearing shades, which seems strange.
Excellent new solo CD from Junzo, leader of the reformatted Japanese underground group New Miminokoto and guitarist with Overhang Party and 20 Guilders. There's a spare, hypnotic quality to Junzo's guitar playing here that comes closest to Christina Carter's solo form, that same focus on the alchemical aspect of endlessly re-stated simple chord fragments. Elsewhere there is the kind of ferocious psychedelic blues of the classic Youngs/Bower Site/Realm LP, with the sound of metal bars coaxing singing tones from vibrating strings and carving them into ululating static drones. The album is inspired by Lonnie Johnson's harrowing “Blue Ghost Blues” ? also a major touchstone for Loren Connors ? but this is blues denuded of any narrative thrust, blues as the most primal sound of the guitar itself, single chords howling in a vast void of silence.
-David Keenan of Volcanic Tongue,Scotland/UK
Toen Majutsu No Niwa nog gewoon Overhang Party heette, speelde gitarist Junzo Suzuki in een van de hardste psychedelische Japrockbands op aarde. Vandaag de dag is hij actief in onder andere het duo 20 Guilders en Miminokoto, maar vooral ook solo. In 2009 bracht hij op zijn eigen label Plunk's Plan Ode To A Blue Ghost uit op cdr, en deze krijgt nu geheel terecht een heruitgave op Utech Records, met prachtig nieuw artwork.
Met zijn Fender Stratocaster en Gibson Les Paul start Suzuki in de eerste instantie subtiel. Het duurt ruim zes minuten voordat we een variatie horen op zijn minimale getokkel, dat klinkt als een soundtrack voor een donkere, mysterieuze film. Maar het geluid zwelt aan in deze twintig minuten durende openingstrack, waarbij agressief en nerveus gitaarspel langzaam een muur van noise optrekt. Naar het einde toe heb je zelfs de neiging het volume naar beneden aan te passen, zo'n contrast vormt het met de start van het nummer.
Het tweede bedrijf Beyond The Yellow Clouds trekt de lijn door waarmee het album was gestart: met sfeervolle drones die een onderhuidse spanning met zich meedragen, gevoed door venijnige, uit de maat springende riffs. Over riffs gesproken, Shivering Larry's Last Freak Out is er vol van. Dit is waar we Junzo Suzuki van kennen uit het verleden: maniakaal repeterend, psychedelisch en snoeihard. Oorsmeer maakt plaats voor een gigantische golf feedback die ruim acht minuten aanhoudt. Het afsluitende Studies For Three Broken Canes Of Dr. Dream moet het juist weer hebben van ambient en drone, waarbij het klinkt alsof Suzuki zijn gitaar met de strijkstok bespeeld. In dertien minuten laat de Japanner wederom horen hoe goed hij is in spanningsopbouw en het creeren van een pikzwart muzieklandschap.
Ode To A Blue Ghost is een album geinspireerd door de klassieker Blue Ghost Blues van Lonnie Johnson, pionier in de jazz- en bluesmuziek, uit circa 1927. De raakvlakken worden misschien niet direct duidelijk, hoewel er legio zijn te vinden. De muziek van de Japanner is allesbehalve vrolijk bijvoorbeeld, en draagt dikwijls een donkere, spookachtige sfeer met zich mee. En zoals blues draait om repetitieve akkoorden, zo creeert Junzo Suzuki ook massieve soundscapes met behulp van repeterende aanslagen en effecten. Ja, ik zou een walvis nog met een banaan kunnen vergelijken. Feit blijft, dat Ode To A Blue Ghost een album is dat in iedere kast van de experimentele muziekliefhebber niet zou misstaan.
Casi nunca reseno discos nuevos por que casi nunca los escucho antes de que sean resenados, no investigo muy seguido a ver que ha salido y casi siempre descubro cosas por recomendacion, ya un poco tarde para las velocidades a las que actualmente estamos acostumbrados. A veces deambulo por paginas especializadas que suben montones de discos por dia con clasificaciones que me son incomprensibles, sin embargo esta vez uno me llamo fuertemente la atencion por tres razones: su evocativo titulo, su contundente portada y su alucinante clasificacion. Sabia que me encantaria y lo hizo.
Suzuki Junzo es un musico nacido en Tokio en el 73, que se distingue por tocar improvisaciones sonoras de noise, drone y minimalismo, pero llevadas a cabo a traves de bases de folk y blues. Partiendo de notas de guitarra electrica sostenidas por largos lapsos de tiempo, acumulandose en repeticiones distorsionadas, con minimas variaciones y una casi nula presencia de lineas melodicas.
Para este su segundo album, inspirado en el tema “Blue Ghost Blues” del legendario pionero del blues Lonnie Johnson, presenta cuatro cortes oscuros de muy alto nivel experimental, que se ensanchan hasta generar atmosferas densas, para envolver al escucha en espesas capas de pausado y apabullante ruido.
Es el tema 1, que da nombre al disco, el mas largo y cambiante, pues esta planteado a partir de una pequena melodia de guitarra que se va repitiendo y anexando a mas y mas elementos, creciendo hasta que las paredes de sonido adquieren la solidez de una lapida. Los temas subsecuentes son mucho mas constantes y parten de una sola figura musical que se repite incesantemente hasta lo enajenante, de un modo mas lento en el segundo corte “Beyond the Yellow Clowds”, y mucho mas audaz y violento en el tercero “Shievering Larry's Last Freak Out” con el que se entrelaza, para finalmente dar paso a “Studies for a Three Broken Canes of Dr Dream”, de vibra bastante sordida y abrumadora.
Un album que puede llegar a ser la delicia de quien busca en el caos ese atisbo de tranquilidad que ya no se encuentra tan facilmente en la musica pop.
Although in his work with groups Miminokoto and 20 Guilders, Junzo plays blues and psychedelic rock, when it comes to his solo work, he leaves all notion of genre behind him. He veers off the identifiable road into strange, uncharted territory. This instrumental album serves as a powerful testimony to that vision. The opening, twenty minute title track may begin sedately with him picking out notes like beams of light on his guitar but after a couple of minutes an eldritch, quivering guitar sneaks in and soon takes over. It builds in volume until by about twelve minutes it no longer sounds like a guitar and more like some impossible object. By the last quarter, it sounds like a mighty guitar amp dying in a solar flare storm. It is pretty jaw-dropping stuff. It then just suddenly fades out in a growl of feedback giving way to silence before you manage to comprehend it. Second track 'Beyond The Yellow Clouds' is a strange, hypnotic, shaking guitar drone. Over 10 minutes of tranced out sound that seems relatively sedate after the previous track . However, it then segues into 'Shivering Larry's Last Freakout' which kicks off with a heavy mc5/Spacemen 3 guitar riff. He carries on riffing along in this manner for a few minutes and then something extraordinary happens. A chattering void of sound wells up in the mix almost, but not quite, drowning out the mighty riffage. I don't know what it is or how he does it but it sounds inhuman. Just as you are beginning to orientate yourself in this strangeness he suddenly ends it all with a sudden, loud, short classic rock riff. On the original version of the album, it would end there but for this reissue, there is a fourth track, the twelve minute 'Studies for Three Broken Canes of Dr. Dream'. Here he lays down a reverberating, alien landscape of guitar explorations, bringing a fitting epilogue to an album that reminds us that the electric guitar still has plenty of surprises left and uncharted territories to explore.
-Was Ist Das, UK
Suzuki Junzo's Second Utech release, originally issued as micro-edition CD=R in 2009, may initially remind some listeners of the work of another Japanese guitarists, the black-clad sorcere of the six-string, Keiji Haino. Ode to a Blue Ghost's opening title track isn't overwhelming storm of sound in the manner of marathon Haino workouts like Execration That Accept to Acknowledge or The Book of Eternity Set Aflame; rather it's reminiscent of one of his quiter but no less intense solo discs.
Affection. Like That Album, Ode to a Blue Ghost begins with slow, plaintive strumming before rising to a loud scraping sound, as though the strings were coated with resin and needed to be scrubbed clean, but Junzo had forgotten to unplug the amplifer first. Running to nealy 20 minutes lomg, its sheer volume and sustained energy become almost breathtaking - swathed in reverb, the sound pulses like a static-cloud, at some point ceasing to be musical and becoming more like the manipulated field recordings of Australian sound artist Alan Lamb, who attaches contact microphones to disused telegraph wires in the outbreak.
Different Tracks, Different moods; "Beyond the Yellow Clouds" is composed of shimmering chords like a koto strummed through delay pedals and a Marshall stack or Two, while "Shivering Larry's Freak Out", to which the track is joined, brings in a fuzzy garage rock riff (Overdubbed after awhile) that positively cries out for thunderous backbeat.- which unfortunately never arrives, The Final track, exclusive to the Utech Version, is "Studies for three broken canes of dr.dream", a thick yet weavering cloud of post-Sonic Youth harmonics. Taken as a whole, Ode to A Blue Ghost has the raw emotional power of Delta blues, but feeds that intensity through amplification untill it becomes as abstract as pain felt in a dream.
-Wire July 2012 by Phil Freeman
Suzuki Junzo's "Ode to a Blue Ghost" is an album of effects-laden guitar texture that originally came out in 2009 in a 3 track edition. The new Utech re-issue also contains a 4th piece.
The cavernous sound is similar to the sparser moments of Acid Mothers Temple, but without the feel good vibes and bluesy melodies of traditional psychedelic jam rock. Junzo's sound is somber and serious, cold in tone, and not rhythmically driven. This is a solo set and there are no drums here, and only a couple conventionally played riffs. Instead he favors drones, atonal swells of feedback and piercing washes of harsh noise.
The opener and title track "Ode to a Blue Ghost" is the longest and most difficult piece here at 22 minutes. The post rock-ish melody that begins the album is a sad yet pleasing sound, some kind of ode to anticipation and solitude. He patiently plays the riff for many minutes, and at a glacial pace, it is overtaken by tense, dissonant feedback noise which climbs to frightening volume and becomes a harrowing din which lacerates the ear, evoking images of a forlorn and hellish land, in the pinnacle of the record's coldness. Invariably, I have to turn the volume down.
The following "Beyond the Yellow Cloud" is welcome in its ambient liquidity, and the record becomes more listenable from here on out. This one starts with a jangling, detuned guitar chord, which is then allowed to resonate into a soft, simmering feedback tone. Junzo uses a whammy bar to add a smokey quavering to the tone, which swells and burns through many melancholy shapes. Occasionally, he strums another chord to solidify and strengthen the feedback tones. There's a lot of delay and reverb, and the sea of sound that amasses in the background of the piece drifts serenely but insistently, with a momentum of its own.
The ambience breaks naturally into "Shivering Larry's Last Freak Out", which is much closer to a retro psychedelic "guitar solo in space", and easily the most enjoyable track on the album. With a deep, overdriven tone, Junzo plays chugging blues chord progressions with a vast delays. This is the only place on the album where he breaks from morbid brooding and creates something blissful and soaring.
The new track is the 13 minute "Studies for Three Broken Canes of Dr. Dream", a murky dark ambient feedback mass which begins not dissimilar to TenHornedBeast. A drone thickens within the sludge as the track progresses, sounding massive by the 9 minute mark, then falling into a vague, wistful shroud of reverberation. It's the equal of every other track here, and a hauntingly desolate conclusion.
In conclusion, Suzuki Junzo's "Ode to a Blue Ghost" can be uninviting, yet also powerfully transporting and cathartic if the listener puts forth the effort. The bleak and abrasive soundscapes found here sketch a lonely and morbid narrative, but each piece is in its perfect place. Highly recommended to fans of drone, noise and dark ambient music who are not easily frightened or depressed.
-Josh landry of Musique Machine
On this album, Japanese guitarist Suzuki Junzo wails on his weapon of choice for, like, a fuckin' hour. Drone, noise, blues, psychedelic rock, ambient, goddamn folk: Junzo approaches a variety of genre influences and proceeds to kick the shit out of each of them. “Shivering Larry's Last Freak Out” riffs like Skullflower on Klonopin, while “Studies for Three Broken Canes of Dr. Dream” somehow makes howling screeches sound soothing and zen-like. Like the aforementioned Bill Laswell album, Ode To A Blue Ghost is entirely a solo affair, but whereas the former ekes out quiet overtones, Junzo absolutely obliterates his otherwise empty sonic environment with all the crunchy power his electric guitar can muster. That I don't have more to say about this record is not an indication of anything but my inability to articulate coherent thoughts in the face of Junzo's epic squalls. This is a good album to get drunk to. If I were still a teenager, I'd like to imagine I'd blast this album alone in my room, a classy take on adolescent angst. Alas, I'm just a twenty-something white dude who's left to wonder what else is bubbling under the surface in Tokyo. Junzo is a rebel with a singular cause: rocking your face off. Damn, just thinking about this record makes me want a cigarette.
-Josh Becker of BEATS PER MINUTE choose OBG for his top 10 of 2013 (3rd)
The older release is Ode to a Blue Ghost , from Tokyo's Suzuki Junzo. His is certainly a less-recognized name compared to Kawabata, but he's responsible for years of solo and other releases, primarily solo guitar work like this one. He's semi-recently taken on the guitar and vocal duties in Koji Shimura's Miminokoto project (which all readers of this blog have a duty to be familiar with). This CD was originally released on Junzo's own Plunk's Plan label, then reissued by the always-interesting Utech label . Four long tracks (the title is 20 minutes!), the aptly-named ghostly guitar work chimes delicately in a gentle reverb, recalling Loren Mazzacane Conners in his quieter moments. However, don't relax too much: at a moment's notice the music bursts apart into chaotic scrapes and disturbed scratchings, delayed and reverbed into uncomfortable atmospheres as layers of distortion build upon each other. And that's all just the title track. There's quite a variety here, showing quite well the range of Junzo's playing.
-Mason Jones of Ongakublog