Review Summary: 53rd and 3rd
Having basically dropped off the face of the earth fifteen years ago, Juntaro Yamanouchi gives Moenai Hai
a sense of enigma: some contextual food for thought, and some inconclusive ideas. The sudden, low-hype release of Moenai Hai
leads one to believe that The Gerogerigegege’s creative driving force is conflicted, but dedicated, presenting something that needed to be said, but not how Yamanouchi might normally say it. It’s sorta futile to outline The Gerogerigegege’s typical modes of communication, as they range from onstage vacuum-cleaner masturbation to coprophagia, but by contrast, their newest offering is bizarrely sombre and deliberate. The album seeps with solitude and incongruity, made all the more effective at the hands of an artist known for being unabashedly honest. After the sloppy, self-aware half-heartedness of 2001’s Saturdaynight Big Cock Salaryman
, the sense of introspection on Moenai Hai
Opener “Out of Saiga” consists of a light, rumbly texture and concrète noises, resembling an indeterminate city setting. It bears all the intimidation of a metropolis with none of the bustling life, as though the protagonist is walking down a street with their eyes closed, able to shut out all human noise within a ten-mile radius, allowing the crushing ambience of the distant background to settle. The metallic creaks and groans resemble derelict playground equipment, perhaps symbolizing how Yamanouchi has grown detached with his youth, but is nonetheless a shell of it, via his more raucous previous work that hangs over him like a cloud - only speculation, though. Eponymous follow-up “The Gerogerigegege”, allegedly composed over thirty years ago, hits with the impact of waking up in a surging electric chair. The heavy, shoegazey riff is a complete contrast to the opener, and charges the track with endless energy. At times, the main riff falls to the back, as JY delivers emotive, noisy guitar improvisations like a monologue overtop a shadowed, moving frame - this frame being a sweaty audience, totally unaware of the random mental sidestep. The outro is an extended tremolo fury, like the few seconds before a guitarist finishes a song with one final, explosive chord, only it never comes, as though JY is savouring it for all it’s worth. Titled appropriately, it typifies the physicality of The Gerogerigegege, but with the album’s emotional hardships in tow.
Yet another complete 180, “Tokyo: Sea of Loser / Donors for USA” is minimalist, droning piano work, where each stroke coincides with empty space. While the emotional component works in conjunction with the album’s themes - especially a sense of spacial limbo - its face-value worth is slightly ruined by an unnecessary runtime; it starts with boring dark ambient, endures twenty-ish minutes of boring dark ambient, and finishes with boring dark ambient. It conveys a feeling of being forgotten, and stuck in a weird transitory state; it’s the aftermath of nothingness. It’s just a weird inclusion, as closer “Final Tuning” accomplishes what it couldn’t, and actually bears the innuendo of the crushing title track, as though the disaster still hangs in the air. The music box is a significant post-tramatic symbol, as the childlike musical plaything seems oblivious to the subsided musical chaos; the presence of “Tokyo: Sea of Loser / Donors for USA” is all the more frustrating. In a way, the irresolution might be compared to Yamanouchi’s lengthy withdrawal and possible self-discovery - again, only speculation.
Despite being stylistically all-over-the-place, and hindered by “Tokyo: Sea of Loser / Donors for USA” ’s elongation breaking up the flow, Moenai Hai
is a compelling reflection of Juntaro Yamanouchi’s absence. In hindsight, what's perhaps most interesting about Moenai Hai
is the tragedy of its tameness. This is the same person that created Tokyo Anal Dynamite
, and left a legacy of untouchable lunacy, baffling those who didn’t immediately peg his output as nonsense. This is The Gerogerigegege trying
for an uncertain audience, with an uncertain message, for uncertain response, and no recourse. It's the sound of a broken man dismantling.