It’s an absolute truth that should Roland Seward Woodbe allow you through the gates and onto the Siltbreeze roster, you’re in rarified air among the underground. Hell, even if the guy drops your name in passing conversation or at dinner over slivers of gruyere and glasses of Malbec, your street cred instantly doubles. Though the summer has been scant for the label, there have been some significant releases from some significant names: the Mike Rep re-ish, Alastair Galbraith and another helping of the stellar Fabulous Diamonds cacophony. I wouldn’t call it playing it safe, but those are records of standard fare by somewhat household names and nothing of the head-scratching variety expected from a record bearing the Siltbreeze stamp. What I adore about Woodbe, though, is his propensity to surprise with those artifacts we’ll be wishing we had purchased decades from now. Those be the no-names, the worldly obscurities the label finds by sifting the shit out of the mailbox and actually making correspondence with his outsider penpals.
Of those names Woodbe was dropping in 2009, Kito-Mizukumi Rouber comes to mind as a record for which I scoured about, wondering if I’d ever have the opportunity to hear more from this anomaly, to know exactly when and where this was made (present-day Japan is what I’m guessing). Only to that end I’d be completely satisfied. I doubt the Siltbreeze inbox was flooded with requests to get the Kito combo onboard, but this 7-inch places them right alongside those aforementioned forgotten slabs of wax scrawled deep with sounds that could only pique the mind of a man like Woodbe (and will pique your mind years down the road). It’s like they’ve been a part of the clan from the beginning.
I’ll be honest in saying I’m still trudging through Julian Cope’s extremely pedantic Japrocksampler, as it’s certainly not doing the same for Rising Sun psych as it did for the Germanic tribes. Maybe that’s because there’s no one genre being rifled through in the East, making albums from bands like People, Speed Glue & Shinki, and (most of all) Les Rallizes Denudes impenetrable and incomprehensible to Western ears. That, or we’re just an uncultured bunch over here. But just because Cope has written a muddled mess doesn’t mean someone with the brains of Woodbe couldn’t tap a tome basically hipping us to the roots, the flowers that bloomed out of those roots, and the wilted mulch created by those dying blooms. This is what Midori Mushi San Connichiwa emanates—a particularly pungent stench of leftover riffs and Japanese lore, melted down in darkness and left to rot in an apocalypse aftermath. There are a lot more ties to history here than there are nods to the future. That’s not to say there isn’t life or limb in these crumbling structures. “Nin Pi Nin Blues” is an affirming march with a sentry beat, all the while the confusion of present stratagem fizzles in the background, no clear horizon line between space and guitars. Elsewhere, all in the course of 13 minutes, Kito-Mizukumi Rouber seem poised to infiltrate everything from stank blues metal to Beefheartian one-legged boogie (“Botsu” is a favorite) and onto campfire chorals. Their “Michael Korasho,” a wobbly take on “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore,” is easily the freakiest track I’ve heard this year. Then again, when the Boredoms are your sole reference, anything dripping with this much creepy, certifiably psychedelic ectoplasm is sure to have you reconsidering the undeniable weirdness of both Japan and the Siltbreeze empire.
Kevin J. Elliott