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Incapacitants

Alchemy Box Is Stupid (11cd + 2 Dvd box)

Label: ALCHEMY RECORDS

Format: 11 cd + 2 dvd box

Out of stock

Box is Stupid is a really luxurious and rather neat boxset that brings together 11 CD and 2Dvds cd's worth of early out print 1990’s tape releasers by Japanese noise tearing duo The Incapacitants. It's really a must have item item for any serious and discerning noise fan. "As far as I'm concerned, the Incapacitants are THE best noise band to ever come out of Japan. While they aren't as prolific or esoteric as some of their contemporaries, they've consistently been responsible for some of the most complex, chaotic, loud, and downright fun releases in the genre. Here, almost all of their cassette recordings have been complied into a lavish, lovingly presented box set that stands up proudly with any other large-scale reissue release, and the material sounds as fresh today as it did some 10 to 15 years ago.

It’s hard for me to not speak in hyperbole when discussing this set. Rather than focusing on esoteric artsyness (e.g. Aube) or clichéd serial killer and prostitute murders (early Whitehouse and a large proportion of US noise bands), the Incaps are just two regular guys who, after their white collar jobs are done, like to get together, crank up the homemade electronics, and have a seizure of fun behind the mics. Any Youtube search of their performances will make this painfully obvious: they dance, they wrestle, they jump around, and it all looks like a hell of a lot of fun. The best thing about the actual output from these guys is the sheer complexity of sound. As far as noise artists go, few can match their dynamic, layered sound that each subsequent listen reveals some new sound or tone that didn’t seem to be there before.

Presented here are seven of their early cassette releases, spread across ten discs: Stupid is Stupid (one studio and one live disc), Extreme Gospel Nights, Ad Nauseam (originally three cassettes: one of Fumio Kosakai solo, one of T. Mikawa solo, and a collaborative live tape), D.D.D.D., The Tongue, Cosmic Incapacitants, and I, Residuum. The Incapacitans sound is a consistent one: layer upon layer of overdriven electronic noise above which the two salarymen take turns shrieking or growling into a microphone. That’s not to say there aren’t subtle variations: a comparison of "Stupid is Stupid" and "Don’t Sleep While We Explain" from the first disc alone show this: the former is all low end crunch and occasional death metal guttural growls, while the latter is more high frequency tones, siren textures, and higher pitched shrieks.

Comparing the studio and live recordings it's quite obvious the band isn’t spending a lot of time in the studio in post-production or multitracking, but the feel between the two is distinct. The natural reverberations and different environments create a different sound in the live setting: the Stupid is Stupid live tracks allow much more of the vocals through, the chattering electronics still there and forceful, but the voices not as buried. The live disc of Ad Nauseaum is a different beast entirely: lots of static and ambient noise makes it feel more like a crunchy, grimy bootleg recording (in the best possible way).

The solo discs also show the separate parts that make the whole of the band: Mikawa's disc is all sustained metallic industrial roar, while Kosakai's is more idiosyncratic, the first track "Technodelicatessen" being a goofy pisstake on dance music that could be a lost Front 242 remix, while the closing “Into Another’s Doom’s Pain” is muffled raw power electronics and divebomb tones mixed with some bizarre vocalisms. One of the more dramatic shifts is in the latter portion of these discs. Cosmic Incapacitants is an appropriately titled release, because it filters the boys' usual din through a mess of flangers, echos, and phasers to give a distinctly 1960s sci-fi meets psychedelic substances feeling, even more so than Kosakai’s other band, C.C.C.C., ever did.

Not to sound elitist here, but this isn’t the kind of thing that will appeal to people who have heard "a Merzbow disc or two" or "that Wolf Eyes album on Sub Pop". It's aimed more at the established noise fan who knows their Masonna from their Government Alpha. But, for anyone with an inkling of interest, it's a wonderful time capsule from the Golden Age of Japanese Noise that anyone can enjoy. (Creaig Dunton, Brainwashed.com)

Details
Cat. number: YOUTH-176
Year: 2012
Notes:

All Alchemy Records reissues come in cardboard sleeves with obi. The bonus CDs and DVDs come in white paper sleeves with window. Also included 4-page booklet.