Kawabata Makoto’s Mainliner is one of many side projects created by Acid Mothers Temple mainman Kawabata Makoto. They released several famously noisy records back in the nineties and early noughties, but then disappeared without warning. Why they have now returned we also do not know. One reason may be linked to the presence of new bass player and vocalist Kawabe Taigen , who fulfills the same roles in London-based psyche-metallers Bo Ningen. It may be that Makoto gazed down from his mountain top temple and saw the great works of the mighty Bo Ningen and decided he had found a worthy collaborator.
Now if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know I’m a lover of Japanese rock music (what do you mean you haven’t?!) and was delighted to hear of this musical hook up between two of my favourite live artists. I’m not familiar with Mainliner‘s back catalogue, but am a huge admirer of the awesome Acid Mothers Temple live experience, and Bo Ningen‘s “Line The Wall” was my album of 2012.
So that’s the pedigree and background: what does it sound like? Well, I wrote the following about bonus track ‘The Dispossessed’, but I think it gives a good idea of the Mainliner experience – It’s like hearing a chill wind blow through blackened trees whilst short-circuiting war droids savagely destroy each other on the battle plain. It is so dischordant at times you may well find yourself begging for relief.
If that sounds like your kind of thing then read on.
Opener and title track ‘Revelation Space’, like so much here, seems to be a heavily improvised noise epic of sometimes painful feedback and distortion, Taigen and regular drummer Koji Shimura create several punishing grooves over which Makoto shreds and shrieks. Makoto‘s guitar style here can best be described as a mix between the most experimental of Jimi Hendrix and the most anguished of Kurt Cobain.
It’s not all out and out fury: ‘Taitan’ is spooky with sighing vocals over spiky and soaring feedbacked guitars. Later Can-esque drums emerge to amp up the supernatural vibe. It deserves to be the soundtrack to one of those sick Korean horror movies. ‘D.D.D.’ is an unusually brief, heavily distorted proto-punk tear up. It’s the closest we get to the early Bo Ningen template.
Closing 20 minute epic ‘New Sun’ opens with an uncharacteristically traditional riff and Taigen‘s chant like vocals as the band settle into a thuggish space rock groove for some time, but whenever it breaks down you wince as you know Makoto is preparing to attack again.
This is as extreme an album as I care to listen to this year, that it is a comeback album by a man who’s been playing since the 1970’s is pretty incredible. It kind of puts Black Sabbath‘s return in perspective! Now the majority of the time I’d rather listen to “13” than “Revelation Space”, but it’s worthy of massive respect and is a must hear for fans of psyche rock.
Kawabata Makoto’s Mainliner tour the UK & Ireland for the first time this September:
19 Liverpool – The Blade Factory
20 Cork – Clonakilty Guitar Festival. West Cork (Ireland)
21 Dublin – The Grand Social (Ireland)
22 Limerick – Venue TBC (Ireland)
23 Glasgow – The 13th Note
24 Newcastle Upon Tyne – Think Tank @ Hoults Yard
25 Hebden Bridge – Trades Club
26 Birmingham – The Flapper (w/ Dethscalator)
27 Bristol – Thekla
28 Brighton – The Green Door Store
29 London – Corsica Studios (w/ Patent Saint & Dethscalator)