Two Great Guitar albums Pt3 (clean and NOT serene): Ahleuchatistas & Sajjanu

Righto, i’m not even going to pretend not to have dropped the ball completely over the last couple of months, let’s just say that i’ve been a bit jaded as far as music is concerned. If there was one thing i did cultivate a keen appreciation for, musically, i would say that it’s a kind of enervated, thin and naked guitar sound that i found to be particularly well embodied in, yes, two albums. These two arguably have more in common than ones i paired up in Pt. 1 and Pt.2 , in that they’re both math-rock in a way, and, uh, they’re both on Tzadik (as was Fred Frith’s ‘To Sail, To Sail’, covered in Pt1). I’m honestly not collecting bribes from them, it  just so happens that John Zorn’s imprint has a real talent for picking out stuff that makes my head rattle with glee.

Ahleuchatistas – Of The Body Prone
Tzadik, 2009

I first heard of Ahleuchatistas when Ella Buckley wrote me that she had seen them in New York and that i would flip my lid when i heard them. Having finally heard their 2009 album ‘Of the Body Prone’, i say, fair enough! Ahleuchatistas’ music is, for the most part, like a cat-and-mouse chase between the guitar, bass and drums; with brisk yet disjointed time signatures, the songs move in fits and starts and are punctuated by erratic bursts of noise. There’s something simultaneously wonky and menacing about this music, a bit like a hastily patched up scarecrow that nevertheless looks all the more creepy for it.
The album is characterised by Shane Perlowan’s spidery guitar sound, but the drummer is also a big part of it’s appeal for me:  ‘Total Nightmare in a Deep Dive’ pairs a placid spaghetti western riff with a deep bass rumble and the the kind of free noise drumming that i’ve got a permanent hardon for.

Ahleuchatistas – Owls

Ahleuchatistas – Total Nightmare in a Deep Dive

Sajjanu – Pechiku
Tzadik, 2009

Sajjanu are a three piece from Japan, whose deity seems to have decreed ‘Thou shalt not repeat a riff, and if thou must, thou shalt somehow destroy it”. This incredibly perverse music can be daunting to listen to, as it is certainly as close to musical ADD as you can get. Even scarier is how tightly composed these never-repeating pieces are, i don’t know where they get the mental capacity to remember all that! But amazingly, each of the couple hundred riffs that get fired off at you within the space of a track is a gem.  Sajjanu are also more than willing to indulge in some of the more masturbatory aspects of rock’s speckled history and go EPIC on your ass, but it’s all in the name of  being as schizophrenic as possible. These guys are clearly uber-virtuosos, but an overarching sense of humour is the driving force behind this album. Not recommended if you need a groove to hold onto.

Sajjanu – Mechanical Tampopong

Bonus Rave:

Mi Ami – Steal Your Face
Thrill Jockey, 2010

I just thought i’d tack a mention of this album at the end of this post because if you haven’t heard it you are missing out. There seems to be a collective creaming of selves on review sites and even among my friends about this, and with very good reason: Mi Ami’s ‘Steal Your Face’ is one of the most satisfying, off the wall rock albums i’ve heard in ages – if i’m going to find a comparison, think Gang Gang Dance put into a blender along with Ex Models. The second track, ‘Latin Lover’, sounds suspiciously like   The Rapture’s ‘House of Jealous Lovers’ for a while, with yelped vocals and serrated guitar riding atop a disco beat, but only until the guitar part collapses in on itself and idiot-savant analog synth noise swallows the whole thing whole, while ‘Dreamers’ manages to out-Can Can themselves. Do check it out.


  1. Quote

    Ah the bright flash when glee slits jade!

  2. Quote

    you should have seen my fan mail to Ahleuchatistas’ guitarist! He replied, nogals.

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