3″ CD-R, T’an! K’aven!! Ash!!!, 2007
Kenji Siratori is a Japanese cyberpunk writer who has expanded his horizons into the field of audio, most notably, from what I can gather, in fields such as industrial, noise and dark ambient/drone. My personal introduction to Kenji’s work was his collaboration with Andrew Liles, which reminded me of a suspenseful and rather creepy Japanese film narration. Searching the Internet, the list of musical collaborations Kenji Siratori has done in the past year is pretty astounding – tons of collaborations with other bands – but lately he seems to be doing plenty of stuff on his own. Although Kenji seems to specialize in spoken word, he is more than competent enough to step up to the music plate as well.
“Melancholic Lobotomy ” is divided into parts zero, one, two and three. “Zero” begins with sweeping noise that is more like some foul wind than a blast of feedback. Dark electronics creep about the mix and Kenji’s faint, processed voice lurks quietly in the background, lending an even darker tone to the piece. Instead of fading into the next track, “Zero” rather unexpectedly fades out as the harsher “One” kicks in. This time the noises are far more prominent and nearer in the mix. While the voices are still lingering around the background, occasionally you might not notice they’re there for a while.
The third track, “Melancholic Lobotomy Three,” serves as a perfect buildup for what has come previously in this release. Loud, processed voices kick in right from the start, along with walls of harsh noise. Although the noise is harsh in this track there is still a sense of dark, menacing ambience about the piece.
Anyone who knows me personally will know I am not a fan of mindless noise music. I don’t see the point in blasting feedback with little variation for an entire record and calling things good, or releasing hundreds of records of mindless feedback a year. Granted, I have not heard all of Kenji’s recent solo material, so I can’t judge the variation in it. But this release in particular has a good enough balance of dark atmospherics and noise to keep me interested. The fact that it is a not a full-length album doesn’t give it time for the themes to become old. After listening to this several times, I’m definitely interested in checking out more of Mr. Siratori’s work.
— Charlie Martineau