Forty years on from his debut, Richard Pinhas is still producing challenging music, and on this 2016 album combined with two icons of the Japanese avant-garde – drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, mastermind of warped-prog legends Ruins, and Masami Akita, a.k.a. noise guru Merzbow. Although they have performed and toured together, this is the first time the trio had made it into a studio and actually recorded. What we have here are four “songs”, with Pinhas providing guitar and synth guitar, Merzbow electronic noise, and Yoshida bashing the hell out of a drum kit. It is really hard to understand who is leading who, as in many ways it is Yoshida who is at the forefront of what is going on, while the other two are fighting instruments to produce something that is avant garde, challenging and quite unsettling.
This is bleak, disconcerting music depicting a post nuclear age, where life is cheap and short. It is compelling, disturbing, disconcerting and polarising. This isn’t music for everyone, and there will be many who feel this isn’t even meeting the definition of the term, but I found it interesting and engaging even if I don’t want to play it all the time.