While touring Britain in 1998, Acid Mothers Temple members Kawabata Makato and Cotton Casino, along with original Temple drummer Koizumi Hajime, hooked up with fellow cosmic traveller David Keenan, of Glasgow’s Telstar Ponies and regular contributor to The Wire, to plant the seeds for what would become Rebel Powers. On this, their debut, the band’s intentions seem clear and single-minded - to explore, through improvisation based on minimalist sound layering, the darkest channels of the night sky and deepest recesses of earth’s vast oceans.
No One Star Will Stand the Night contains two twenty plus minute tracks, but if you can tap into the same energy that must have surrounded the actual performance, their duration could alternate between a single frozen second, held captive in the glacial winds of time, or in the eternity of death’s final toll.
On the eerie 25-minute opening track, “We Are For The Dark”, Casino’s ghostly vocals cast themselves like an ethereal mist across a marshy canvas of sustained guitar notes, metallic clatter, and swirl of sarangi (a classical instrument of Indian origin), while at its very heart lays David Keenan’s clanging percussive chords, sounding for all the world like the pounding of Hephaestus’ anvil before race day. The only slightly shorter “Our God is a Mighty Fortress” begins with relatively restrained whispers, gradually building momentum before reaching a wild crescendo only to fade out again in tears of cinematic despair.
Rebel Powers are in possession of a dark sort of magic, throwing Cthulu-like shapes, conjuring harrowing lullabies with the power to evoke the most nightmarish visions in even the soundest sleeper.
By Spencer Grady