K2  In The Monotonous Flowers  CD   (Ground Fault)   11.99

When it comes to the Japanese harsh noise underground, K2 reigns as one of the field's most ferocious sound-destroyers, forging a brutal "junk noise" aesthetic that employs spastic sound editing, psychedelic electronics and chaos strategies to create immensely abrasive and cathartic blasts of extreme noise-art. I'm such a big fan of K2 (aka Kimihide Kusafuka, who by day works as a cancer pathologist) and the brand of harsh noise that he's been perfecting since 1983 that we trawled his catalog for his most merciless recordings, and have come up with a stack of old and new releases that are all recommended listening for fans of maximum sonic chaos.

An oddity in the K2 discography, 2002's In The Monotonous Flowers was a departure from Kusafuka's usual "junknoise" approach into something more surreal, even "musical". From the outset, it was telling that this bore the legend of Ground Fault's Series II on the album package, which positioned it alongside more textural, experimental soundscapes from the likes of Jazzkammer, Contagious Orgasm and Christian Renou. That said, this hour-long aural hallucination is hardly soft stuff. It just happens to be more structured and sample-based than the pachinko parlor war-zones of K2's other albums. These confusional, unpredictable noisescapes produce a genuinely unsettling dreamlike atmosphere that have been cobbled together from a miasma of field recordings, tape noise, Japanese video game soundtrack fragments, electronic glitch, high-end feedback tones, broken drum machines, and meandering keyboard melodies that feel like derelict bits of a late 70s horror movie score.

It's a constantly morphing mass of sound, shifting from brain-damaged synth-pop experiments into passages of lowercase technoid minimalism, unleashing blasts of industrial pummel and making jarring detours into electro-acoustic terror, unfurling swelling synth drones amid chunks of heavy distorted rock, and weaving demented loops around the sounds of clarinet, piano and guitar. All of this stuff was performed and recorded by Kusafuka, but then heavily processed, chopped up and re-assembled into a bizarre, garbled patchwork nightmare, frequently punctuated with doses of his trademark harsh noise as well as sudden, shocking blasts of acoustic sound that are reminiscent of Randy Yau or Dave Phillips. The whole thing becomes gradually more and more unsettling once you get to songs like "Rodents In The Sewer", and while the overall tone of the album is different from what we're used to hearing from K2 (and bearing a strong influence from Steven Stapleton's cut-up compositional style with Nurse With Wound), it's still a suspenseful, disturbing listening experience that's not for the faint of heart.

Track Samples:
Sample : K2-In The Monotonous Flowers
Sample : K2-In The Monotonous Flowers
Sample : K2-In The Monotonous Flowers