Masaki Batoh - Brain Pulse Music
Japan's Ghost has long been one of that country's most potent musical exports, exploring psychedelia, pop, drone and punk with consistently surprising grace and knack for the dramatic. Head Ghost Masaki Batoh's last solo project was sixteen years ago, but his new offering is not only worth the weight but stands with Ghost's more experimental outings. Recorded before and interrupted by the March 2011 earthquake, "Brain Pulse Music" uses the haunting, brittle buy majestic sound of an instrument of his own creation as a foundation for these seven drones. There is also an elegiac feel to some of these, prayers for those touched by the earthquake. A professional acupuncturist, Batoh noticed the post-quake stress and anxiety of his patients, which influenced the development of the record.
The instrument Batoh created was the Brain Pulse Music Machine, an instrument amazingly played with the mind, with headgear picking up brain waves and a motherboard translating them into sound. That makes for eerie, piercing sci-fi drones on "Eye Tracking Test," or, as on "Kumano codex 2," a spare, raking, wind-chime tones, with a Japanese classical music feel to the melody. But not all is so high tech and driven by neuroscience. By adding a simple drum line, shakuhachi and wind chimes, Batoh steers "Kumano Codex 3" into the realm of the meditative and of exorcism. The closer, "Aiki no Okami," is devastating-haunting, incorporating Buddhist chant, electronic drone, and a harsh pulse, shamanistic, incantatory. It feels meant both for healing and for catharsis.
On top of being amazing for the use of the one of a kind Brain Pulse Music Machine, "Brain Pulse Music" is stunning for its deep compassion and the haunting influence of national tragedy. In a better world, Masaki Batoh would be in Nobel conversations with this one.
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