CCCC - Amplified Crystal II


Here is a scarce tape, released on Endorphine Factory in 1993, by one of the standard-bearers for "Japanese noise". Like their compatriots Hijokaidan, CCCC was a real band, not just a single dude and a table full of pedals. Hiroshi Hasegawa (today known as Astro) and Fumio Kosakai (also of Swastika and Incapacitants) played synthesizers and electronics, Ryuchi Nagakubo (Swastika) played bass guitar, and Miyuko Hino (primarily an actor in films, though she made a single post-CCCC album with the duo Mne-Mic) fronted the group with performance art/movement and some theremin and other electronics. They functioned as a single unit, listening to each other as intently as any free-improv quartet, but with a result that had as much in common with Taj Mahal Travellers' psychedelic inner-space stasis as it did the overpowering scorch of Merzbow or Solmania.

This tape is a strange one in their canon, as it intentionally ruptures the group dynamic. Side A hands CCCC's classic "Amplified Crystal" LP over to Akifumi Nakajima/Aube to remix. Unsurprisingly, it still sounds a lot like CCCC, but with Aube's familiar slow rise and fall structure. Not necessary, but not bad either. On Side B, we get a solo piece by each band member. Hasegawa's track sounds like... well, like Astro. Fumio Kosokai turns in the horrible "I'm Sitting in a Room", which bears no audible relation to the Alvin Lucier piece. Instead, it's a rather unfortunate acoustic tune that, really, you can skip past. Noise might be harsh, but this song is (unintentionally) unlistenable. At least he gets credit for doing something unexpected. Mayuko Hino's solo piece is harsh in the right way. The bass player's solo track, though, is the winner here, a real heavy wash of who-the-hell-knows. It makes me wish he released more of his own noise, though he is the least prolific member of the band. The album ends with a CCCC track that comfortably answers the question that the rest of the tape seems to ask: is CCCC more than the sum of its parts? Yes, it absolutely is.

CCCC - Amplified Crystal II


badgerstump 4 July 2014 at 11:56  

CCCC's Ummagumma?

[now there's a reference to show I'm down with the kids]

Mrs. Inside 4 July 2014 at 19:03  

right, or:

badgerstump 4 July 2014 at 19:59  


that's taking independence day too far!

Anonymous,  6 July 2014 at 18:52  

all hail cccc