Posts Tagged ‘PSF Records’

White Heaven – Out

I wrote about this one a little while back, but it bears another mention since this is the first time that this essential LP has been readily available. White Heaven’s proper debut may stand as one of the greatest psychedelic records of the ‘90s and argument goes to push it well up the all time list as well. The record brought together a formidable collection of musicians, lead by the talents of You Ishihara and Michio Kurihara. The former would go on to form The Stars and the latter would helm Ghost, but while they were together for a short time, they stood at the epicenter of a Japanese psychedelic bloom that can still be fell flowering today. Later, the band would bring Shimura Koji (Mainliner, Acid Mothers Temple) into the fold, but here, even though they were just beginning, their sound had already begun to form the exploratory blues pyrotechnics that cemented them as a primordial force in Japanese rock.

Prior to this album, the band released a live tape that documented their early shows, but the studio lit the light of some fertile collaborations. Kurihara’s guitars singe and demur over the course of the album, especially the epic centerpiece “Mandrax Town.” Following this album both Michio and drummer Ken Ishihara exited, but this was a document of the band at their most vital and elemental. The band would finally call it quits around the release of 1997’s Levitation and Kurihara would take Ghost on to be one of the premiere exports from the scene, but this moment of inception and incubation proves where much of his sound got its start. Black Editions has restored this LP to its proper position as a centerpiece in any psychedelic bin. Necessary by all measures.



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White Heaven Out Reissued by Black Editions Group

More great news from the Black Editions Group. As they work through the PSF catalog, they continue to put great records back in their proper place among the stacks. This time the label has a reissue of White Heaven’s scorching 1991 LP Out. The record features guitar from Michio Kurihara (Ghost, Cosmic Invention) and it marks a high watermark of ’90s psychedelic Japan. Originals of the LP will set you back upwards of $300 so its an amazing piece to have back in circulation. The album is a feedback chomping monster of riff and riot that cannot be denied. Check out the slow-burn freakout of “Mandrax Town” and get over to the site, where they have a mailorder-only gold edition of the LP.


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Psychedelic Speed Freaks

After resurrecting High Rise’s sonic assault II from the cataloged caverns of PSF, Black Editions gives fans of guitarist/ear drum antagonist Munehiro Narita another treat with the issue of his revamped trio Psychedelic Speed Freaks’ eponymous LP. When the band first rolled out, High Rise dubbed themselves Psychedelic Speed Freaks, originally counting Narita with Masashi Mitani, Asahito Nanjo, and Ikuro Takahashi among the ranks. Presumably the name was an homage to the record label they’d eventually claim as a home, but the label thought the name was a little too on the nose once they were signed on board, hence the swap to High Rise. The switch back to their old handle doesn’t change much about the direction of the band’s sound. Still anchored by Narita’s “motorcycle fuzztone” guitar, the record is perched in the red and not looking to relent. David Jasso steps up on bass this time around and also adds in a dose of Lemmy-indebted vocals that scrape and strain to push themselves over the top of the cyclone assault of guitar and drums.

Straddling the lay lines between psych, metal, thrash, and doom, the band creates a punishing document for 2019 that expands on the dynamic that Narita and Asahito Nanjo crafted and damn near perfected over their initial run. It’s easy to imagine that there are plenty of newer volume feeders out there who never got the chance to experience High Rise in their paint-melting prime, so Psychedelic Speed Freaks seek to right a wrong and bring more joyous noise to the universe both (barely) between the grooves here and in the live setting. From all accounts they tore the doors off of Black Editions’ Festival last month and hopes are on that they keep it up with more dates. The kind of heat that this thing is putting out hasn’t been much matched of late, with perhaps the exception of Feral Ohms, who’ve always seemed to be heirs apparent to High Rise.

Goes without saying that if you’re a High Rise fan, this one’s essential. Honestly, if the term Japanese psych gives you any goosebumps this one should already be on your shelf. It’s a total crusher in every sense of the term.




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High Rise – II

Black Editions has done the world a service reviving the out of print P.S.F. catalog for the majority that missed these records in any format, let alone on vinyl. When the project was announced it had a few initial records attached (Keiji Haino, the indomitable Tokyo Flashback compilation) but the one that got me the most excited about the whole ordeal was news that High Rise’s second album II would make its way back to vinyl with the original black and silver cover. That record is a cornerstone of Japanese psych, and one of the hardest hitting heavy psych records from any scene.

Primarily the work of Asahito Nanjo and Mnehiro Narita, the record hones distortion and fury into a formidable weapon of psychedelic destruction. The band melds punk’s mayhem and no wave’s acerbic bite with metal’s bleeding edge and penchant for guitar histrionics. Nanjo’s bass thunders through walls of distortion, pounding the air with a relentless pummel. It’s Narita’s guitar work, though, that provides the real appeal of the record. That he’s not held up in higher esteem as a purveyor of maddening riffs is beyond me. This edition features a newly scrubbed mix by Asahito Nanjo, marking it as the definitive version in the band’s eyes.

Fans of Acid Mother’s Temple, Comets On Fire and Boris would do well to take notice to this precursor of psych sludge. It’s an absolutely essential release given proper love and a reverent pressing. The label’s been killing it with their selections so far, now if they can just get White Heaven’s Out on the schedule I’ll be set.


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Ben Chasny on Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu

Chalkin’ up another great installment of Hidden Gems, RSTB’s series in which one of my favorite artists picks out an album that hasn’t gotten proper due in the scheme of things and shines a bit of light on it. I’ve found that the picks can often illuminate not only a deserving overlooked album, but also give insight as to where the chooser’s own sound developed from, and this entry from Ben Chasny is a prime example. Ben’s picked a PSF classic, the very seldom sung Live In The First Year Of The Heisei (Volume’s I and II), by collaborative trio Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu. Technically its two albums, but who’s to get picky around here. Ben gives his take on what makes this such a slept on piece of culture and how it’s played an important role in his own music.

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