It’s an honour to have one of Japan’s most uncompromising and original noise rock bands appearing at Supersonic’s 10th anniversary bash – we are of course talking about the mighty Zeni Geva! Seeing as guitarist and vocalist KK Null has graced the Supersonic stage numerous times over the past decade (including an absolutely incredible performance with Zeni Geva themselves back in 2010 that melted the brains of everyone within a 10 mile radius), this seems like the perfect band to invite along for this year’s celebrations.
Zeni Geva’s sound doesn’t lend itself to easy categorisation, taking the primordial soup of death metal and blending it until it assumes the complex characteristics of prog rock, then lathering it in thick, turbulent layers of dissonance and serving the whole mixture up with a generous side portion of paranoia, anger and fear. Whilst KK Null has remained the core leader of the group, over the years the band’s personnel has read like a who’s-who of the early Japanese noise scene, featuring the talents of Acid Mother’s Temple guitarist Mitsuru Tabata and Boredoms/Hanatarashi drummer Ikuo Taketani, who has since been replaced by hyper talented Ruins sticksman Tatsuya Hoshida. Zeni Geva’s incendiary sound was too exciting to go unnoticed by the Western world however, and eventually caught the attention of such luminaries as Steve Albini and Jello Biafra, who signed the band to his Alternative Tentacles label in 1993 to release their classic ‘Desire For Agony’ record. As anyone who has witnessed them in the flesh before will attest, the Zeni Geva live experience is truly a force of nature. A whirlwind of distraught riffs, rapidly shifting time signatures and an almost unbearable tension threaten to overwhelm the listener, before the band’s abstract pummelling eventually ushers in a state of bizarre, transcendental euphoria. The band’s UK shows haven’t exactly been plentiful over the years, so grab this chance to see this incredible band while you can!
But of course, artists as prolific as Null and Hoshida aren’t just satisfied with treating us to just one mindblowing performance, and both artists will be taking to the stage under different guises this year too. KK Null will be teaming up for a one-off set with local tuba drone pioneers ORE, a two-piece dedicated to broadening the pallette of drone/doom with the vast, resonant sounds of the tuba. ORE’s Sam Underwood joined Null for his gut shatteringly intense performance with Lash Frenzy at Supersonic two years ago, which was evidently the start of a very fruitful partnership indeed. This unlikely combo will be playing a piece of music they’ve written specially for the festival, and will even have a few copies of an ultra-limited CD-R for sale. These are sure to sell like hot cakes, so act quickly if you want to snap one up! How ORE’s deep brass drones will play off against KK Null’s retina searingly powerful waves of noise is anyone’s guess, but this promises to be a fantastically esoteric journey into the furthest reaches of experimental music. Don’t miss out!
Tatsuya Hoshida will also be performing as Ruins Alone, the solo incarnation of his incredibly complex but endlessly groovy band Ruins. Sharing a similar style of frantic hyperactivity with bands like Naked City, Fantômas and Melt Banana but walking a path that is all their own, Ruins feed music through their own personalised meat grinder and string together the resulting strands into intricate patterns that make the Fibonacci sequence look like the 2x time table. Taking influence from French prog rock madmen Magma, Ruins songs are sung in their own language, a fitting trait for a band that so steadfastly refuses to adhere to conventional norms and structures. After being lucky enough to find 4 different virtuoso bassists to accompany him over the past 18 years, recently Hoshida has decided to go it alone, wowing audiences across the globe with his technical precision and flawless ability to leap between wildly different time signatures with the utmost grace. Ruins have always emphasised the power of immediacy and spontaneity in addition to their impeccable musicianship, making this a set that will be as gratifying to free wheeling hedonists as it is to beard stroking percussion experts.
Zeni Geva will play Supersonic Festival on Saturday 20th October, whilst Ruins Alone and KK Null & ORE will play on Sunday 21st October.