LABEL: D-Trash Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Pianist, producer, and composer Himiko already had nearly half a dozen albums under her belt, in styles ranging from synthpop to jazz fusion. That has very little bearing on her self-titled sixth album (her first for D-Trash Records). Collecting, reworking, and remixing tracks from her earlier work as well as industrial band (and fellow D-Trash Records artist) Matamachete, this release starts off with the avant-garde minimalism and sampled scratch effects of "Asobi" before launching into the chaotic synthesizer noise and panning crashes of "Thunderdance," and once the noise starts up, it doesn't stop again until the album's over, and even after that you'll still probably feel disoriented for the rest of the day. In recent years Himiko has gotten more involved in experimenting with the crossover of jazz improvisation and heavy metal brutality, and that becomes especially clear on "Incantations" and "Genbaku." Both listed as "Heavy Versions" that originally appeared on her album Heavy Metal Wannabe and Electronic Jazz Cat, the two tracks each feature brutal guitar loops that are fast but somehow sludgy, like sprinting through mud, combined with rapid fire drum 'n' bass and hardcore techno beats, gurgling death metal vocal loops, and incongruous snippets of jazz piano. Himiko's current stylistic interests make for a good fit with industrial, rock, and drum 'n' bass outfit Matamachete, and on "Matamachete Scape (Remix)" she takes bits of their shrieking vocals, pounding electronic kicks, and guitars, rearranging them into a new track that surpasses the brutality of the original by chopping it into a grating and unpredictable rhythm that's like the aural equivalent of a fatal heart arrhythmia. Even when things slow down, they're brutal. "Suck" is presented in two versions, one with thick but jagged drum 'n' bass beats, the other a slower industrial breakbeat drenched in reverb. Both are abrasive, heavy on glitches and shouts and noise. Likewise, "Kokoro No Omori" is slow but heavily distorted; with its creepy whirrs, heavily processed bits of singing, and rumbling breakbeat, it's like a trip-hop track fed through a meat grinder. Don't be fooled by previous releases; Himiko's latest proves that while she's perfectly capable of playing soft jazz or synthpop ballads, she's just as capable of ripping your face right off.
Visit Himiko's website at www.himikomusic.com.
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