Review Summary: MOVE YOUR BODY!
Of all the artists that have tried to find common ground between conventional music and harsh noise, without compromising the core principles of the latter, few can claim to have done it better than Kazumoto Endo on his debut full-length While You Were Out
. Maintaining the exhaustingly visceral edge that pervades music of this ilk, Endo combines it with a range of jovial pop sensibilities in a manner that feels sincere in its ambition and natural in its performance. The result is an album that can act as a gateway to the nether regions of noise for the uninitiated, while simultaneously appealing to those better versed in what is ultimately a rather misunderstood genre of music. This is certainly no mean feat, especially given that Endo’s work – eclectic and intricate as it may be – still usurps a vast portion of the noise repertoire in terms of unadulterated intensity.
The eponymous opener engrosses the listener with a perpetual and somewhat goofy tribal beat, underpinning a gamut of manipulated static, cut-and-paste sound effects and explosive walls of industrial noise, akin to that of corrugated iron sliding along a rotating blade. Endo’s philosophy is mostly unchanged throughout the eight remaining tracks, but a number of things distinguish While You Were Out
from the litany of sonic endurance tests that make up a good share of its contemporaries. Chiefly, the album is fun
, and it’s apparent that Endo is enjoying himself making it as much as anyone else will be in the process of listening to it. “Itabashi Girl” completely derails the hypnotic vibe of the title track, swapping the foundation of drums for a poppy refrain upon which the eruptions of noise jump and dance in a remarkable display of call-and-response. The song concludes with an emphatic sample that implores you to “move your body!” before delving into utter chaos once again. This particular moment stands a testament to Endo’s vision as an artist, perfectly demonstrating his impulsive, care-free attitude through the use of three simple words. His fervent for inappropriate cutaways is flaunted until the album’s closure, and each segue is delivered with such impeccable timing that one can’t help but be left in hysterics every now and then.
While You Were Out
is unlike any album I’ve ever heard before, while many albums are aesthetically and compositionally similar, none of them possess the same kind of endearing – and at times gut-wrenchingly comical – outlook that Endo displays here. Whether you’ve had difficulty in coming to terms with the esoteric stylings of harsh noise, or you consider yourself an enthusiast, While You Were Out
is an indispensable chapter in the genre’s history, and an essential listen.