High Rise is a Japanese trio formed by vocalist and bassist
Asahito Nanjo and by guitarist Munehiro Narita. Narita had already recorded
Taco (Pinakotheca, 1983).
High Rise are a power-trio in the (brutal, improvisational, punkish) vein of
Caspar Brötzmann's Massaker.
Narita's stunning technique is the main attraction.
The 1984 cassette Psychedelic Noise Beats (La Musica, 1996) won't be
reissued for years. Ditto for
the 1986 cassette Tapes (La Musica, 1996).
Not counting the bootleg Psychedelic Speed Freaks (PSF, 1984 - Time Bomb, 1997),
High Rise's first album was
High Rise II (PSF, 1986 - Squealer, 1998), that opens with a delirious
rock and roll number, Turn You Cry and then delves into the uncontrolled
urge of Cotton Top, amid neurotic guitar strumming and tribal drumming.
Another epileptic fit detonates Last Rights while
Wipe Out's epic refrain and cosmic riff could come out of a lost 1960s
Pink Floyd album played at double speed.
Everything pales compared with the 13-minute trenody Pop Sicle, a
calculated gamble on the Velvet Underground's raga-boogie augmented with
thundering drums and galactic guitar solos.
Their terrorist art and Narita's catastrophic guitar style culminate with
this unrestrained bacchanal.
The 1998 reissue includes Monster A Go Go and
Dispersion (PSF, 1992 - Squealer, 1998)
has the anthemically noisy and pulsing Mainliner (a` la Stooges)
and is crowned by the 15-minute Sadducees Faith.
High Rise recorded
a legendary Live (PSF, 1994 - Squealer, 1999)
that ranks with Grateful Dead's Live Dead as one of the monumental
works of improvised psychedelic rock; except that High Rise build walls of
noise in the tradition of Blue Cheer.
The breathless rock and roll of Sadame and its explosive guitar solos
make Led Zeppelin sound like a band of catholic schoolgirls.
(whose riff is stolen from Electric Prunes' You've Never Had It Better)
has the martial, psychotic pace of MC5's best sonic mayhems, amid
ferocious guitar distortions and wild arpeggios.
Mira is an orgiastic, 8-minute showcase of Narita's thunder and
lighning guitar style over demonic drumming, Narita as a guitar semi-god in
the vein of Jimi Hendrix.
A more human sound surfaces with Outside Gentiles,
an extended blues-rock song of the Cream/Hendrix tradition, doubled by the
even more Cream-ian, 9-minute song Door, whose panzer-grade blues groove
matches Jack Bruce's grandeur (alas, the vocals definitely don't) while the
guitar wails and screams in the best Clapton-ian tradition.
A supercharged version of Mainliner leads into the
earth-shaking riff of Pop Sicle, the song stretched to ten
is also the centerpiece of Disallow (PSF, 1996 - Squealer, 1999),
their most polished record.
Desperado (PSF, 1998) is a minor work that features only one extended
jam, Right On.
Both Durophet (Fractal, 1999) and
Speed Free Sonic (Paratactile, 1999) are live albums.
Asahito Nanjo is also active as Musica Transonic, a supergroup with
Acid Mother Temple's guitarist Makoto Kawabata and Ruin's drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, which released five albums:
Introducing Musica Transonic (PSF, 1995),
A Pilgrim's Repose (1996),
Orthodox Jazz (1997),
Incubation (1998), a collaboration with Keiji Haino,
and Swing Strong Mod (1999);
and several cassettes: Zilch (La Musica, 1995), Works (1995) Euro Rock Boogaloo (1996), Musica Groove (1996), Damp Squib (1996), Differences (1997).
Hard Rock Transonic (Fractal, 2002) collects unreleased material.
They returned with the indulgent Kysofbigkou (Vivo, 2007).
Another project is Toho Sara (PSF).
Nanjo also contributes to noise terrorists
Mainliner and many other bands.
High Rise are probably the greatest purveyors of the fusion of
free-jazz and acid-rock.
Destination: The Best Of High Rise (PSF, 2002)
is an anthology of the years between 1986 and 2001.
Munehiro Narita also played in a duo with drummer Shoij Hano,
Kyoaku No Intention.
His debut solo album, Munehiro Narita (PSF, 2005), contains two
lengthy solos and two duets
(with Ueno Takashi of Aihiyo and Maher Shalal Hash Baz). It was followed by
Ether (aRCHIVE, 2006).
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