Dusted Reviews

Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O - Son of a Bitches Brew

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O

Album: Son of a Bitches Brew

Label: Important

Review date: Sep. 26, 2012

Few rock bands combine familiarity and surprise with the aplomb of legendary Japanese psych-freaks Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO (hereafter known as AMT, but seriously, what an insanely fabulous name). Nearly all their album titles and artwork reference key recordings or bands in rock/metal/psych history — Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!!), Univers Zen ou de Zero a Zero, Electric Heavyland — but they never get so referential as to become a pastiche band (indeed, it’s very hard to hear where Hendrix crops up in Electric Heavyland, beyond Makoto Kawabata’s hyper-saturated guitar noise, and even that’s more Takeshi Mizutani than Jimi). However, it should be clear from a title like Son of a Bitches Brew that, in this instance, AMT are jacking their synths and guitars into the spirit of electric Miles Davis, especially the lysergic 17-minute opening title track.

“Son of a Bitches Brew” opens in full meltdown, as Kawabata’s squalling guitar bounces off a soprano saxophone warble that sounds more like a trumpet filtered through 12 wah-wah pedals. It takes a while for the band to lock into a solid post-funk groove that actually recalls Davis’s On The Corner more than Bitches Brew, albeit one where some freak has decided to overdub everything with Hawkwind’s Del Dettmar and Dik Mik’s endlessly swooping synth washes from Space Ritual. In fact, the main musical link to electric Miles is the constant, reassuring and warm presence of electric piano, which adds a smooth and hypnotic rhythm counterpoint to the overdriven synths and feedback-driven guitar noise. AMT are not as abrasively out-there as they were on, say, Recurring Dream and Apocalypse of Darkness, but they come close, and as the track collapses in on itself in an avalanche of noise, it’s almost difficult to pick out Cotton Casino’s ghostly “space whispers” as she battles to impose herself in the maelstrom of sound. This is jazz only in that AMT have an innate ability to stretch out and free themselves from the constraints of traditional song form. Which is not the same as being, messy, of course. Each musician on Son of a Bitches Brew appears to be telepathically connected to his or her brethren and, after a few listens, you begin to pick out the points when one of them takes a step back to make space for someone else. Except the synth players, perhaps…

After such a grueling, brilliant, opener, the rest of the albums pales a bit in comparison. “Son of a Bitches Brew” feels like it was built around the admittedly skeletal structure of electric jazz, and tracks like “Helen Buddha; Miss Condom X” and “Theme From Violence Jack Johnson” don’t quite recapture that spirit, despite some baleful Nik Turner-esque wails on sax and raucous guitar-bass-drum interplay. The overbearing synths, untethered from any recognizable form, are partially responsible for this, as they quickly submerge the funky rhythms and slinky horn patterns with their futuristic mulch. Predictably, it’s on the longer tracks such as “Fellatioh’s Dance also Bitch’s Blow” and “Water Babies Kill Kill Kill” (a Russ Meyer reference?) that drummer Shimura Koki and bassist/saxophonist Tsuyama Atsushi get a bit of impetus going, with the former’s elegant polyrhythms bouncing off the echoing sax lines from the latter. Kawabata — truly one of the guitar greats of our time — is in fine, noisy, form, but even these lengthy, blues-tinged pieces lack the direction of “Son of a Bitches Brew.”

Essentially, Son of a Bitches Brew suggests a sound that Miles Davis might have encountered had he gone even further into Hendrix-inspired electric jazz. Bitches Brew, and the albums that followed, were groundbreaking and brilliant, but not really psychedelic, at least not in a “rock” sense. In contrast, Acid Mothers Temple are, first and foremost, a psychedelic rock/metal band, and whilst this means that Son of a Bitches Brew is never as derivative as its title suggests, it’s too silly and outlandish to really represent what might result if you increased the volume and the number of instruments of electric jazz. Then again, I doubt that was ever their intention. AMT make hefty, barmy, overloaded rock, and in this instance, they’ve thrown a bit of jazz in there, too. It’s not perfect but, in the right frame of mind, it works.

By Joseph Burnett

Other Reviews of Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O

Minstrel In The Galaxy

Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Under the Stars

Lord of the Underground: Vishnu and the Magic Elixir

Read More

View all articles by Joseph Burnett

Find out more about Important

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.