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Electric Heavy Land

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £25.95
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Amazon's Acid Mothers Temple Store


Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Oct. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alien8
  • ASIN: B00006LLL4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,556 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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By A Customer on 4 April 2003
Format: Audio CD
The funny thing about psychedelic music is that the best stuff doesn't need drugs at all. I don't think I'd dare listen to Electric Heavy Land on anything stronger than green tea.
I respect the opinion of the reviewer who thinks that AMT are starting to suffer from over-exposure and over-production; I even agree that a rest might do Kawabata Makoto good and that some recent releases have shown signs of fatigue. Surely this isn't one of them, though? It mightn't be their most varied or original album, but I can't imagine a band sounding less jaded!
Much has been made of Kawabata's guitar heroics, and sure enough his fretwork on Electric Heavy Land could skin a rhinoceros. But Tsuyama Atsushi's volcanic bass is at the core of the sound -- he does for AMT what Lemmy did for Hawkwind until the rest of the band got scared of him. In fact, imagine what the darker, more frenetic parts of 'Space Ritual Live' would sound like with Hendrix on guitar (and totally in-your-face production -- none of Absolutely Freakout!'s studiously retro echo-chamber ambience here) and you'll get a fair idea of the sort of racket AMT are making ... only much, much further out.
EHL goes to some of the places I always wished psych rock would go. Yes, it's one-dimensional. Yes, it's basically just a bunch of heads wigging out. But when the heads are as expanded as these, a one-dimensional wig-out can be a very wonderful thing indeed. Make sure it's not your only AMT album, though.
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Format: Audio CD
I give this CD a four-star rating ONLY for those who have three or less other AMT releases to their name. Allow me to explain: 'Electric Heavyland' is a good offering, but it's a bit too similar to several of the many Acid Mothers Temple titles out there. Three lengthy tracks here, "Atomic Rotary Grinding God" (15:43) snatches your mind right out of the base of your skull only to let you know what is coming your way. "Loved And Confused" (17:02) features more of the band's trademark insane space noise rock and "Phantom Of Galactic Magnum" (18:52) allows the unexpected listener{s} to surrender to some relentless cosmic electronics. Whew! Enjoy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8a95e558) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8adffc54) out of 5 stars 21st Century Freak Out Music 10 Feb. 2003
By Snow Leopard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Acid Mothers Temple is a super-freak-out group. Technically a collective, ground around guitar-guru Kawabata, you never know who will turn up, but you can be sure it'll be the right people. For established fans, this is one of the Acid Mothers Temple's heaviest (as the name implies). Each song very much resembles the kind of freak-out familiar now from the beginning of their 52 minute long debut.
In general, Acid Mothers Temple take the spirit of long-jam 60s freak-out music and reinvent it for the 21st century. All the song titles and nods towards classic rock ultimately don't mean much, or are allusions not necessary to appreciating their music, and I actually had to pick a band they remind me of, then I'd say they seem most like Hawkwind, but only when Hawkwind gets into one of their long, riff-repeating zone-outs. Because this is music that truly puts the freak back in freak-out. Kawabata's guitar, for instance, sounds like it's the size of Godzilla, and the band is the size of a small planet. This is not the peace and love groove-fest of the sixties; the music is jarring, overwhelmingly chaotic and noise-driven, and aims to be literally ear-blowing if not also mind-blowing. But what it shares with the sixties is a visionary sensibility, like looking directly into the universal knowledge of the god-mind, or something like that. It is not ironic at all; it is dead-serious, and rampagingly, enthusiastically so without being starry-eyed (as one could say critically of sixties music). It is not "ugly" music and it is not designed to aggravate you, like some noise rock is. It's definitely meditative music, but the meditation is the kind done by standing on top of the highest mountain on Mars and screaming your lungs out as loudly as you can. Properly speaking (like all mystical states), it's something that can only be experienced, not described, but here we go anyway.
"Atomic Rotary Grinding God", at almost 16 minutes, opens with a backwards vocal warble that bounces along for a bit before a genuinely surprising and sharp feedback blast cuts through the music, and the massive interstellar spacecraft that is Acid Mothers Temple takes off into a hurricane of guitar, drums and bass. All the amplifiers are definitely set to eleven, and you can actually hear the drummer losing weight as he bashes away in a total frenzy. This is chaos to be sure, but a chaos that is groovy to listen to. Around seven minutes, things "calm" a bit, the vocal warble returns more or less. Two minutes later, the feedback hits again and a noisy restatement of the opening thunders along, overdriven wah-wah guitar solo inclusive. Close your eyes, and it's like you're in a jet plane, plummeting through black clouds, lit by sudden flashes of lightning.
"Loved and Confused", at 17 minutes, starts with the killer riff of the disc, a slow, monstrously stomping thing with continuously phased cymbals panning back and forth as white noise and the crooning vocalist in the background (imagine someone singing opera over grindcore). It really is amazing how much sound these guys get, without resorting to fattening up the mix by way of production tricks. Around 3 minutes, the monster lick gives way to outright maximal super-frenzy, high-necked scrambling guitar lines, warp-speed bass, the poor drummer (flailing with all four limbs as hard as possible), the phased, panned cymbals still swirling around and blerpy keyboard "washes" smearing across the whole sonic wall. At 6 minutes, everything comes to a torturously grinding, exquisitely wrung out pause, and you are just itching to hear that monster riff again. And indeed, you are rewarded, and it's a very satisfying thing indeed. Eventually, the riff just kind of melts away and another super-sonic wall of noises shreds and bombs and explodes for over 8 minutes to the end.
"Phantom of Galactic Magnum", at 19 minutes, starts with an underwater bubbly noise, as a low rumble of guitars and a crash cymbal creep up to fill the screen of your ears with the dreadnought enormity of some kind of sonic space cruiser. Treated vocals, and the now obligatory phased cymbals panning back and forth are suddenly blasted through the heart by a shrieking guitar freak out. Amazingly enough, the amplifiers are up to 12 this time. At around five minutes, one of the guitarists starts alternately nailing five power chords and soloing, "subtly" (if that's the right word) introducing the riff that is officially introduced around 7'30" (or at 15'00", depending on how you want to parse it). Proof, if it was needed, that this is not music without a brain, or random noise rock altogether. The guitar mayhem here, matched by keyboard craziness ... words fail me. Then it gets crazier.
In general, one could say this disc is simply three variations on a basic formula: a touch of introduction, a heavy riff just to trick you into thinking it's really a song, and then cutting to massive, band-wide improvisationally overwhelming spazzing out. A satisfying repeat of the riff later in the song reassures you that, indeed, this is still music and creates once again a sense of the wholeness of the song.
In the final analysis, this music is intensely cathartic and uplifting. It's certainly not for everyone, but if truly over-the-top hyper-amped music on the largest scale is something that might appeal to you, then you will not want to miss this disc, or this band.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ac83954) out of 5 stars Louder! C'mon--LOUDER!!! 12 Aug. 2004
By Briggs May - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Like, whoa. If you have any vested interest in keeping your sense of hearing or your peace of mind, then this one is best avoided. Imagine a Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd and Funkadelic getting together to jam, but Merzbow, our beloved godfather of Japanese noise just happens to be on the soundboard, mixing and mutilating everything into a bloody pulp.

This music is the sound of things burning to the ground and humanity quickly losing its mind. It might be what I believe psychologists refer to as 'a significant emotional experience'. I've heard this described as 'psychedelic'. Roughly translated from its original Greek origins, the word 'psychedelic' means 'mind-opening'. Yeah, upon listening to this you'll get your mind opened, alright--in the most violent, explosive way possible. I've also heard that the concept of 'peace' was a key element in the spirit of the '60s. The only peace you'll feel is when the last track disintegrates into silence; this is the most relentless wall of noise I've ever heard from a traditional rock band.

If you're a fan of Phish, Pink Floyd, or the Grateful Dead and you think you dig anything 'psychedelic', I DARE you to listen to this. To be sure, all of the musicians are top-notch improvisers (if you can stand to listen closely enough), but they all just seem to explode when crammed together into the confines of two stereo speakers. With or without hallucinogens, this album will leave anyone's ears ringing and their head spinning.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ac83a8c) out of 5 stars The dark heart of psych 23 July 2005
By C. Quinn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The funny thing about psychedelic music is that the best stuff doesn't need drugs at all. I don't think I'd dare listen to Electric Heavy Land on anything stronger than green tea.

I respect the opinion of some fans who think that AMT were starting to suffer from over-exposure and over-production by this time (not long after, Kawabata admitted that this phase of the group had really burned itself out, and Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO (to give the outfit its full title) morphed into Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno). Personally I don't think the fatigue set in until after 'Electric Heavyland'. It mightn't be their most varied or original album, but I can't imagine a band sounding less jaded!

Much has been made of Kawabata's guitar heroics, and sure enough his fretwork on Electric Heavy Land could skin a rhinoceros. But Tsuyama Atsushi's volcanic bass is at the core of the sound -- he does for AMT what Lemmy did for Hawkwind until the rest of the band got scared of him. In fact, imagine what the darker, more frenetic parts of 'Space Ritual Live' would sound like with Hendrix on guitar (and totally in-your-face production -- none of Absolutely Freakout!'s studiously retro echo-chamber ambience here) and you'll get a fair idea of the sort of racket AMT are making ... only much, much further out.

Or is it further IN? The three long, Stygian tracks on EHL go to places I always wished 70s psych rock would go -- and most of those places sound like the earth's core. Yes, it's one-dimensional. Yes, it's basically just a bunch of heads wigging out. But when the heads are as expanded as these, a one-dimensional wig-out can be a very wonderful thing indeed. Just make sure it's not your only AMT album.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8acfc5ac) out of 5 stars Molten, massive, magma: monstrous 28 Mar. 2006
By John L Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Four stars for this does not diminish its concentrated power. If you have heard AMT + CI before, in this their later and harder configuration, then it will not sound much different than, say, their later effort, "Starless & Bible Black Sabbath." They do have great, often appropriately referential, titles, these albums....The first two tracks lived up to but not beyond my expectations. Again, this is not criticism but observation: AMT + CI are very good at their chosen blending of genres. Somehow their improvisational foundation (is that an oxymoron?) allows them to free themselves from the boogie, the blooze, and the beat. They can stretch out or crunch down, and the restless, molten, shifting structure of their pieces over long minutes enables the freedom that they thrive on and that we listeners can embed ourselves within.

This album is considered by critics a bit too sludgy in its mix. I agree, and the first two tracks do tend to coalesce rather than expand at times. Still, the nature of AMT + CI is that if you listen a few minutes, it'll all alter again. They avoid the jam-session cliche of being bogged down into a sticky consistency, and they--if not always nimbly but forcefully--manage to lift up their massive bulk towards the ether enough.

Reminds me, in fact, of the book "Solaris," (Stanislas Lem having died yesterday), in that sentient planet's ability to match the perceiver's expectations while then confounding them. The best track by far is the last one. It sounds like a volcano strafed by space fighters. The clash of sonic aerial assault from the keyboards against the pulsing and arcing guitar miasma: it makes for wonderfully visual and viscerally thick music that is cinematic and exhilarating.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b115fc0) out of 5 stars fuzz fuzz skank skree skronk waaaaaaaaaaaah fuzz fuzz fuzz 2 Aug. 2004
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Acid Mothers Temple, Electric Heavyland (Alien8, 2002)

Alien8 continues the tradition they started in 1996 of finding great bands North Americans have heard of in far too few numbers and releasing excellent material by those bands. Like most small labels on this side of the pond, Alien8 have often seemed to specialize in Japanoise (despite having released local boys made good Knurl and Molasses, American/Italian dark folk outfit Tanakh, among others) thanks to having made their names on the back of Merzbow, Aube, and Keiji Haino's best mid-nineties releases (when your label's first release is Merzbow's awe-inspiring Akasha Gulva, that's a whole lot to live up to).

Acid Mothers Temple are what would happen if you take Hawkwind (or, more appropriately, the Spinal Tap parody of Hawkwind's "free jazz" meanderings), added in "the spaceships are coming to get us"-era Parliament, a few aria-singing sopranos, a couple of dashes of Jimi Hendrix, K. K. Null, and Nicky Skopelitis, shake, chill, and serve at a Black Sabbath jam session where everyone just took entirely too much acid, all of it adulterated with things no one was aware of. Electric Heavyland is three increasingly long tracks of wandering guitar improvisation that sound like, well, nothing else on the planet. A more controlled PainKiller without John Zorn and with a couple of extra guitarists, maybe. Robin Trower on crack without vocals. Bachman Distortion Volumeride. I don't know. But it's loud and meandering. And fun in small doses. Kind of pales beside such recent, more structured long-instrumental recordings as Godspeed's Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, but has its place in the general scheme of things. ***
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