Heavier than a Death in the Family

by devinking

Takeshi Mizutani’s guitar feedback is a circle built from tangents. Each tangent is the center of a two-dimensional vector-star that moves in vortices outwards and these stars can never touch except by violence. But the listener holds on to a secret, mongrel nature that expects the reverse in his musical substance; to them, Mizutani’s feedback becomes the stock characters of a post-war play or short story and the blank centers of the costumed stars enact a strange form of passive discipline, the irreversible movements of destined emotion.

In Kyoto, August of 1968, Takeshi Mizutani formed the band Les Rallizes Denudes and modeled its sound off of two albums: The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat and Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum. Both American albums examine a guitar distortion that is angry and tonal-less. The bands come out of a blues aesthetic, but the ghost of Robert Johnson was always arguing for presence, for acceptance and recognition; Blue Cheer and Lou Reed found Johnson’s underground American main line and are aggressively skeptical. Through distortion, the notes of the blues scale are hidden and the musical point of reference dissipates; humanism isn’t critiqued but ignored; notes and words don’t exist anymore.

Takeshi Mizutani rehearsed this affect further and created white noise American roots music in Japan that, in the beginning, was accompanied by a dance troupe who, eventually, found the music too loud. Mizutani scoffed. The language of dance simply had no room for his new existential terms: embodiment is useless when it is impossible.

—It is impossible to move to or through my music. Instead, one should move towards or away from my music. This is the violence you push out onto nature daily. You are beings towards this nature.

The enjoyment felt by the futens, the name for Japanese hippies after a popular cartoon long haired shirker, how the young people of Japan loved this noise, this punishment, this recreation of violence Mizutani was now in charge of, supreme leader of the untranslatable Les Rallizes Denudes. Rallizes means absolutely nothing in French and denude means to lay bear. And when the German dadaists first came to recreate their own language in the wake of a World War they tore words apart and represented the world to itself through primitive giggles and googles and gaggles and zas and seps and samangs, anything to distance themselves from the forced sincerity of their parents. They built themselves new clubs out of old ones and they served mustard in their beer and they sawed the chairs slightly so when people sat down the chairs would break and the people would fall. And on the stage Tristan Tzara spoke languages that sounded like no language anyone had heard before and wore costumes that no one had ever seen before and in his voice one understood how frightening the word was when given as only sound. The word as only sound, sound without a referent. What a pretender Tristan Tzara was! How much his libido sang underneath his growls! At the end of the night, when the broken chairs were re-stiched and the money was counted who did Tristan Tzara take home and make love to? Who did he fuck? Whose ear did he groan syllables into? How easy it is for us to find this information! how easy to find such pretty girls named Maya Kruscek and Greta Knutson! Why look at the stars when I have your eyes?