Album Review

Tenko – “At The Top of Mt. Brocken ” – [Recommended]

Thurston Hunger   3/14/2007   A Library, CD

Vocal contortionist Tenko (see Microcosmos and Death Praxis at KFJC, and
we need to find *more* other related works…) is the nucleus of this
release, with a host of sonic electrons revolving around her. This is a
1995 release, and serves as a fine “who’s who” in Japan’s avant garden.
Tenko’s voice does often have that sort of shouted-from-a-mountain-top
and echo-bouncing-around-the-cavern-of-your-skull quality. Her voice
is strong, often martial, almost like it has a Germanic bite to it. But
she still has fun with it, multitracking it in parts, shearing it with
metal on “Dodo,” making it regal with Kazutoki Umezu on “Water Hours”
over a drip….droppp bassline. She gets sliced and diced gamelan a la
mode from “Ohotomo” Yoshide on “A Crack in the Lie” (looks like they
even turntable scratched an extra “Ho” into his name…) How strong is
Tenko’s voice? On “An Irregular Attack” she makes Tatsuya Yoshida sound
like a teenage boy…although he still drums like a demon. Yukihiro
Issou I thought added the best contrast to Tenko’s voice, Issou on the
Nho-kan is fragrant flutey as opposed to the more guttural low grit
that Tenko provides, a nice smooth to harsh juxtaposition. Of course
some numbers that just blare at you are great, like “Cardiogram” a
fine exercise for lungs and ears.

-Thurston Hunger

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