morphogenesis discogs resonance

brast burn
brast burn  

•   Debon part 1   (23:28)
•   Debon part 2   (22:28) mp3

total time 45:56

Jewel case with numbered card insert

Includes postage - for multiple items I will refund the excess

karuna khyal
karuna khyal  

•   Side A   (24:32)
•   Side B   (22:30) mp3

total time 47:02

Jewel case with numbered card insert


On this occasion Paradigm Discs has decided to reissue 2 LP's of what can only be described as rock music, minus the drum kit. These two records are something of a mystery. No group information was ever given, and no production date or location is indicated. It would seem though, that these records are both by the same group of Japanese people and that they were recorded in the mid seventies in Japan. In common with Magical Power Mako, the musical influences here are much more Germanic than anything Japanese, with long hypnotic free form rock hysteria, comparable to Faust in the use of experimentation and heavily fuzzed electric guitar. The emotional wordless vocals echo those of Damo Suzuki from Can. But unlike Can the rhythms are wrought from hand drums, sleigh bells, tambourine, bass drum and other simple means. Hard blown harmonica is a strong feature on this somewhat crazed mantric rock along with recorder, flute, zither, mandolin, acoustic guitar and synth. There is also a strong use of tape loops, electronics, environmental sounds, backwards tapes and what sounds distinctly like the hysterical laughter of Stan Laurel.



Obscure Japanese under-ground rock group from the 70s re-issued here in 1999 to an unsuspecting western world which could not have known of the wayward experiments going on in Tokyo at the time. A perspective of the Japanese underground becomes clearer on hearing this wild dose of free-form rock. While Fushitsusha, White Heaven and Magical Power Mako may be names from the 90s Tokyo underground that drew heavily of West Coast Psychedelia of Blue Cheer, Karuna Khyal is a precursor to those groups in that they embraced such a storm of noise some decades earlier.However the tape experiments and treatments are much more prominent in this recording. Evidence that Captain Beefheart, Faust and Guru Guru have a considerable degree of influence on this leftfield ritual of sonic mayhem. (Skip Jansen)

ALTERNATIVE PRESS (August 1999 / No. 133)
These mid-'70s releases - by interconnected musicians about whom nothing is known - represent two of the highest peaks of Japanese psych-prog weirdness. Brast Burn's Debon is an intricate con catenation of cascading sleigh bells and hand drums, windswept Himalayan acid atmospherics, bottleneck acoustic-guitar twiddle and Damo Suzuki-like mantric babble. All of the above is held aloft by a synthesist with a terminal case of pitch wheel woozies and is strategically embellished with outbursts of tumbling bass drums, spiraling flutes and recorders, and some exquisitly hallucinogenic electric guitar. Coming on like an eternal cosmic caravan, the whole damn thing is soaked in a higher-key music of the spheres vibe. Yes, Brast Burn are indeed the real goods, and they will suck you into a hypnogogic reverie. Karuna Khyal are, by contrast, an altogether more psychotic proposition, quite capable of inducing frontal lobe fatigue in those lacking a hardy constitution. Great monolithic slabs of damaged, half speed Beefheartian swamp dirge, replete with squawking, overblown mouth harp, collide with undulating waves of Throbbing Gristle-esque electronic distortion, as the group stridently trudge across your neuroreceptors and eroding your sanity. Attempting to reconcile the contents of those disparate dispatches is a losing game. If there ia any thread connecting these excursions, it's in the mantrically intoned vocals that wend their way through both of these outings; though the volatility of the vocal delivery on Alomoni 1985 renders even these ties tenuous. Suffice to say, both of these forays into the outer reaches of sound are perched near the zenith of radical innovation (Eric Lumbleau)

AVANT (Spring 1998)
Originally released on Voice records, Debon and Alomoni 1985 exhibit pure, unadulterated, mid 70's 'everybody must get stoned' music; best appreciated at very loud volume in a basement flat at 4 o'clock in the morning when most of the party-goers have left, in 1975. Described as 'rock music, minus the drum kit' there are several interesting moments here. The group were Japanese but the musical influences are more Germanic than Japanese, Faust immediately spring to mind, as do Pink Floyd, Santana and The Doors, making it on the whole a peculiar cocktail. To anyone raised on the blues of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters it's strange hearing the blues sung with a Japanese accent - in the same way it looks odd watching Ninja films dubbed into English (although no translation is supplied, it's possible to make out 'Oh yeah' and 'OK babe' - one can only hope the Japanese blueser is singing about his girlfriend, his car, his dog etc.) But despite the obvoius cultural differences there are moments when this band manage to cut something far closer to the origins of Blues than The Doors. Then again there are the sections where the sleigh bells kick in and the recorders start tooting - the listener is plunged unprepared into a mystical hippydom. Whereas Beyond The Black Crack offers surplus silly bedroom splicing, demonstrating a refreshing lack of pretension, it is the occasional rough edges and musical jokes that save Debon and Alomoni 1985 from becoming completely self -conscious nonsense. Debon Part Two plays tape loops against each other at different speeds adding a Nancarrow-ish twist to the confusion; mad person vocals, dog barks, cuckoos, bird cheeps, monkey screams and bursts of thunderous percussion help to disrupt the chilled out grooves. Unlike say, Keiji Haino, whose hollow and uninspired axemanship in the name of 'free' music bores, close listening to some of these tracks can detect unusual polyphony between the guitar and accompaniment. The use of stereo is often playful with wide separation offering independent events at the extremities while a focal point (usually a repeated figure in the centre of the mix) holds the sonic chaos together. The textured layering of echo, reverb and backward recordings against forward recordings provides contrast to the more rock inspired sections. The big riff was embedded into the seventies rock artillery - here it becomes the basis of pseudo-mantras; the length of the tracks supporting a climax over many minutes that could well be used in a hypnotic Voodoo ceremony where the village virgins dance themselves into a heightened state of sexual frenzy and bite off chicken heads. The age of the recordings, combined with their lack of high end EQ lends them the kind of darkness modern lo-fi bands, with their top notch ADAT recorders, dream of attaining. On Alomoni the lead vocal (you can tell by the over-dubbed yelping that Beefheart has been an influence) is fed through a band-pass filter to simulate telephone quality - reminiscent of that found on early Residents records. Here it's less quirky, more bluesy; not so much eye-ball head as up for head - but in the end the music just sails too close to hippidippidopeydung. (Richard Hemmings)

Also around 1974, I believe, or 1975, perhaps, 'Debon' by Brast Burn and 'Alomoni 1985' by Karuna Khyal were first released on Voice Records. These utterly charming buffet tables of canned sauerkraut, flambéed tonsil declarations, brown and green stringy mess over in the corner, and freshly prepared song salad with a dressing of giddy delay euphoria, would have been the most satisfying solution for many a connoisseur's hunger pangs for multitracked solitary psychedelic songster, had the LP's not been pressed on oregano-flavoured vinyl at the height of Japan's obsession with spaghetti westerns. Most of the world has waited 25 long years for Paradigm's reissues on inedible plastic and gold. It can be a trecherous and sometimes lonely road to follow, bypassing the fast-food rest stops of mixolydian jamming and redundant rock repetition, opting instead for such scenic hamlets as Tape Tomfoolery and Obfuscation Hill, but these albums travel the route with ease. Undoubtedly, many modern backward glancers will gleefully devour these like finely aged cheese, but isn't it odd how many people spread brie on Ritz crackers? I said no stoners... we're allowed to have one. (Alesandro Moreschi).

Quite an unbelievable find! This mysterious record has lain undiscovered since the mid seventies when (it is guessed) it was recorded by a group of unknown Japanese musicians and then released privately by Voice records. Rumours of the greatness of this psychedelic masterpiece have circulated for years (largely propagated by Nurse With Wounds famously obscure "list" on which Brast Burn feature) and it has finally seen re-release in a beautiful hand numbered CD issue of just 500. So, now that it's available what's it actually like? Well,... it's simply astonishing. Split into two long sequences, the music runs right up to the edge of sanity and screams wordlessly in the face of madness then jogs back to a lone hill top to lazily invent the form of psychedelic acid folk that Ghost have made an entire career from. There is utterly freaked out, acid-drenched genius at work on this record. Strains of Kraut rock run throughout, Can, and particularly Damo Suzuki's vocal style, are certainly valid comparisons, but this music really does seem to be running a race of its own, clouded in pot smoke, and headed in the wrong direction but glorious while doing it. Highly Recommended.
Behold: a true hidden treasure. Buried deep in time, this obscure artifact is something of a revelation. No group information was ever given, and no production date or location is indicated, however, it would seem that this record and the "Brast Burn" LP (also reissued by Paradigm) are both by the same group of Japanese nutters and that they were both recorded in the mid seventies in Japan. But all you really need to know is that it is stone cold fantastic, a wild and manic trip full to the brim with hypnotic jams constructed from all manner of eclectic instruments. The tribal blues sound is augmented with fascinating tape experiments, electronics, environmental sounds, moaned (howled) vocals and a host of musical delicacies, as dangerous as they are delicious. The influence of German bands such as Can, Faust and Guru Guru is evident throughout, so too is the influence of the good Captain (Beefheart that is) whose gut wrenching blues dirges find compadres in this unearthed swamp. Deranged psychedelic music for anyone with a passing interest in Kraut rock, the new Japanese psychedelic scene (most of whom owe these pioneers a great debt) or great music from the edge of the solar system. This CD reissue will hopefully bring the band some deserved attention, but with a hand numbered pressing of a mere 500 it is just as likely these issues will soon become artifacts in themselves. Highly Recommended.

One of the great lost Krautrock albums of the 1970s....... .......by a Japanese group! Brast Burn were included on the 'legendary list' that appeared on the sleeve of the debut album from Nurse With Wound, 1979's startling "Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella" (United Dairies). NWW mainman Steve Stapleton had put together a list of the major players amongst everything Krautrock, experimental, avant-garde and like-minded artists to make a young 'post-punk' audience hungry for more brain-popping musics and to let a new audience into the bliss that is Krautrock. As a teenager in the early 70s, Stapleton actually travelled to Germany as an exploring fan, staying at Conny Plank's Studio and also partying with Guru Guru, no wonder his life took the turn it did. On the publication of Mr. Cope's 'Krautrocksampler', Stapleton expressed his joy about the book, as it would trigger certain labels to re-release many hidden gems onto CD. Brast Burn's "Debon" album was first released on Voice Records in the mid-seventies and it wasn't until 1998 that Clive Graham's Paradigm label brought it to the surface once more. Apparently, it was remastered >from the original vinyl, but don't be put off, Graham has done a fantastic remaster job, altogether with a great sleeve, (first edition 500 copies). There is something more to add to the mystery when he asks if anyone has any information as to the whereabouts of the group, where the album was recorded etc. The album is made up of two long pieces (you guessed it) "Debon parts 1 & 2". A faded in Synth pulse starts the album off which morphs into an orchestration of fuzzed Guitar, echo-drenched Percussives, reverbed Bass Guitar , Pianos, Acoustic Slide Guitars, Zithers and all manner of Taped sounds, slowly letting the rhythm set a steady pace for the Vocals to begin. Well now, the lead Vocals always make me smile! Friends of mine have always come up with some corking descriptions: 'Damo Suzuki on Crack' , 'James Brown in Space' and er...'Shaun Ryder's Dad'! Whatever description they should have, one thing is for sure, the Vocals are certainly inspired. Whilst the rest of the ensemble weave a bobbing chant of what sounds like "shoo-am-I, Shoo-am-I, Shoo-am I Shoo", the lead Voice interjects with grunts and 'yeahs' whilst an Organ or Synth sounds like a cross between a bumblebee and a stylophone, all the time the lead Voice gets more strained, eventhough you can almost tell he is lying down! Electronic wind sounds signal a different direction for the track now and is flagshipped by a sound which is made, I think, by (a Tape Loop of ?) reverbed Electric Guitar strings which are struck to make it sound like an odd sort of ritual bell. Flutes and Tin Whistles flutter to the wind electronics and Sleigh Bells, backing an almost out of tune Synth (of course, this makes it all the more strange!). Tinny sounding Taped Church Bells herald the last segment of 'Part 1' and a more positive rhythm from the Hand Drums then glides in with more infectious chanting before a small explosion brings it to a halt. The second half of this extraordinary (monged?) record ("Debon part 2"!) begins with Acoustic Guitars circling a forgotten nursery rhyme toon along with a cuckoo sound and dogs barking in the near background, ushering in more Voice gruntings and some very strange sounds sliding to and fro, so many things happening but at the same time there is a good sense of space amongst all the sounds. A 12-string Guitar comes in to send things a little off-kilter whilst the Voices, dogs and cuckoos swirl around your head. This is a must for headphones, it's like there was a bunch of seasoned stoners on an expedition along the vast ice carpets in the tundra, consigned to being totally lost but evoking their gods through herbs and music (okay, so it's a normal weekend for some!). They've experimented with the Percussion to great effect, using it through various electrical processes and it's easy to see a line of evolution through to modern day Japanese groups especially Ghost and the more laid back material of the Acid Mothers family. When Can discovered Damo Suzuki busking on a Munich street and asked him to join them all those years ago, I think there was an instant (kosmische) connection between Japan and the European left-field musics that started some sort of mystical lineage... hey! perhaps it's best NOT to listen to Brast Burn with headphones on...you will certainly travel- that's for sure, and far out (man) at that...  Brast Burn are apparently linked with Karuna Khyal, some people say they were the same band, they had the next release on Voice Records and were also treated to the CD remaster courtesy of Paradigm, the album being "Alomoni 1985" and a more psychotic outing altogether!  If you enjoy Faust and Can (especially the E.F.S. sketches) and are partial to the aformentioned Ghost and Acid Mothers albums of recent years, then you'll certainly enjoy this music here and as I've already mentioned, all praise must go to Clive Graham for doing such a great job on the CD presentation. Where are they now ?? (Jim Tones)

Spend any time immersed in the strange world of Nurse With Wound, and you'll encounter talk of "The List." As central to the NWW mythos as Le Comte de Lautréamont's Maldoror is to the parallel mythology of Current 93, The List is a page of names that accompanied the first NWW album, 1979's A Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella. Reaching out to like-minded outsider souls, NWW doyen Steven Stapleton compiled an exhaustive checklist of Krautrock, European progressive, 20th Century, psychedelic, improv, Zeuhl, concrète, jazz, noise, RIO and avant-pop artists, all of whom met the qualification of NWWs central apothegm: "Categories strain, crack, and sometimes break, under their burden - step out of the space provided." The Freeman brothers (of Audion Magazine/Ultima Thule fame) took it upon themselves to annotate and extrapolate Stapleton's list, providing a buyer's-guide of NWW-fan-friendly recordings but frequently adding to the confusion in the course of their speculations. Stapleton notes a certain Brast Burn - right between Brainticket (whose music NWW plunders frequently and with glee) and Brave New World. By way of explanation, the Freemans offer only a terse "A Japanese Faust" and posit that the band, along with Karuna Khyal (who, while not included in The List, released an album on the same Voice Records label), must have been interchangeable concerns. If the accepted lore isn't deliberately misleading, Brast Burn and Karuna Khyal are indeed one and the same. Could these Voice Records artists represent a Janus-faced collective entirely at peace with its inherent contradictions? Might the tribal Sturm und Drang and stomping lunatic-fringe revelry of Karuna Khyal's Alomoni 1985 and the beatific grace of Debon be two sides of a single fabulous tale? As both albums have languid slide guitars and tape loops in common, the possibility seems more likely with every spin through Debon. A telling point of reference here could be Magical Power Mako, another perplexing entity of Japanese origin and synchronous (mid-'70s) activity. Like any good artistic enigma, MPM inhabits a creative realm to which others gain entrance only at his bidding. Since 1974, MPM has charted his own cosmic/kosmiche trail of self and spiritual discovery through music, with each record as different from the last as it is from everything else. It is to the kaleidoscope of MPM's finest work that Brast Burn's helical psychedelic configurations return. Spread across two lengthy (22+-minute) tracks, broken into shards and melted down, Debon is a mandala of jingling loops, multi-tracked and harmonized lamasery chants, Kenji "Damo" Suzuki-styled declamations, electronic glimmers, gongs, sacred bells, and fuzzed-out synthesizers. Brast Burn further plaits Debon with breathless flutes and recorders, subtle musique concrète embellishments, percussive shudders, and guitars, guitars, guitars - electric and acoustic, clean and lavishly effects-laden, strummed and struck, slicing and gently sliding. The laundry list of elements, worthy of Ashtray Navigations or Simon Wickham Smith and Richard Youngs, actually evokes a similar effect - at once improvisational yet utterly musical. Nor is it much of a stretch to draw the line connecting Brast Burn with such scions as Ghost or Trembling Strain. Favoring consciousness, clarity, and contemplation (as opposed to Karuna Khyal's fits of angst and drunken choler), Brast Burn communicates sensitivity to the Zen virtue of negative space, layering the natural white noises of wind and water to cancel out lingering entropic traces.The epic gestures of the earlier track culminate in raga-like repose - a spiritually exhausting, soul-wrenching prayer ritual concluding with the revitalizing serenity of meditation. It might all be too hippie-drippy/sounds-of-the-'70s for some, if not for the full zoological spectrum of curious critter voices (elsewhere identified as Stan Laurel samples!) and toy-like musical accents littering its picked and plucked figures. Tape designs and interrupted narrative aside, there's far more evidence of early Popul Vuh - particularly during the tracks climactic throes of euphoric axemanship - than there is support for Brast Burn's ostensible "Japanese Faust" reputation. Of Paradigm Discs' Voice Records reissues, the exhilarating Alomoni 1985 may be the more immediately arresting album. But Debon's fascinating, multidimensional charms are not to be overlooked by devotees of psychedelic arcana. 1999 saw the unearthing of another coveted relic, thanks to the efforts of Paradigm Disc's Clive Graham. As with the label's reissues of (the possibly related) Brast Burn's Debon, Trevor Wishart's Menagerie, and The Reverend Dwight Frizzell & Anal Magic's Beyond the Black Crack, Karuna Khayal's Alomoni 1985 is something very special - unburied treasure, indeed. The MO on Alomoni 1985 is thoroughly corrupted rock & roll, steeped in ragtag R&B and crisscrossed by croaked vocal mantras and deliriously dizzy slide guitar. On the first of the albums two 20+-minute fractured tracks of rambunctious, bass-led "song," Alomoni 1985 invites comparisons to nothing less than a low-rent Faust Tapes - less dependent upon Faust's bucolic demeanor and rigorous studio-as-instrument directive - or a particularly gone Magic Band outtake (free from the Captain's authoritarian censorship). And while KK is at least more deserving of the "Japanese Faust" descriptive misleadingly bestowed upon Brast Burn, even this seems bluntly dismissive of a unique, remarkably potent brand of madness. Liberally laced as it is with dated Canned Heat-isms, copious shofar-squawk harmonica riffing, grim oompah/cosmic jug-band plod, smears of visceral feedback, and truly insidious tape-work, Alomoni 1985 is most uncannily analogous to the early catalog of Hapshash & The Coloured Coat. An LSD-besotted English trio, H&TCC recorded one of the freakiest records of its day, 1967's giddy Hapshash & The Coloured Coat Featuring The Human Host and The Heavy Metal Kids. Rumor has Hapshash's lysergic excesses leading members to death, insanity, and, natch - production work for a major studio after only one other (very different) album, 1969's fun, Moby Grape-flavored Western Flier. H&tCC's legacy long outlived the band, as Hapshash's music and communal lifestyle directly inspired the first stirrings in Germany of what would become Krautrock. Heaping complication upon confusion, the smoking second half of Alomoni 1985 winds through a noisy tribal exorcism-cum-hoedown. With a bacchanalian commotion of scrappy percussion, a dozen shades of vocal damage (overtone chants, wordless mumbling, tuneless singing, raucous whoops and hollers), gusts of modulated (wind? synth?) noise, and spurts of volatile, psychedelicized improv, KK bursts through the free-music barrier - albeit in a stomping, stumbling Cro-Magnon fashion. No-Neck Blues Band adherents take note. Surviving lore about KK, however, places Alomoni 1985 quite a few years earlier (maybe), in Japan (maybe), with an unknown (maybe), substantially more menacing quantity either cut adrift of its contemporaneous musical timeline or orbiting decades ahead of such. Consider that such modern concerns as Ectogram, Ulan Bator, Ghost, and all aforementioned and kindred souls could sticker their names on the cover of Alomoni 1985 without anyone batting an eye. It just doesnt add up, does it? In fact, so many questions concerning KK persist that the CD tray includes a plea (from Mr. Graham!) for any information about this enigmatic crew. Alomoni 1985 may lack the provenance needed to calibrate its actual historical import, but the album remains a compelling oddity - brash, bristling, baffling, and all but inexplicable. One is left wondering what might have become of Karuna Khyal, whatever year's model Alomoni 1985 represents. (Gil Gershman)

Brast Burn
was a legendarily obscure Japanese ensemble that existed in the first half (I presume) of the 1970s. For many years, they were known only as an entry in the notorious Nurse With Wound list, with no way for anyone to check them out. Thus this CD. First off, I'll say that it sounds really good. One would never guess that it was a transfer from vinyl. Brast Burn has been cited/promoted at various times as the "Japanese Faust". I feel that this is incorrect. A better analogy would be to the ritual/hypnotic Suzuki-era Can: to Soundtracks and the Ethnological Forgery Series. But the analogy is imperfect because Debon ranges over fairly eclectic territory, taking in slide blues, parodies of 1969-71 Pink Floyd, and some truly blasted overdrive guitar (here the Faust reference makes a little sense). Side A is where they indulge their jokier aspects - including an irritatingly persistent way with the percussion (precursor to electronica/sampledelica?) and that "ironic" slide guitar. Side B is a minor masterpiece, travelling from tribal forgery to a lovely Near Eastern ballad thing to the fuzz extravaganzas that eventually close out the album (abruptly). Individual indexing of "songs" within the two (22-minute plus) "sides" would have been helpful. Karuna Khyal's Alomoni 1985 was also on Voice Records, labelmates to Brast Burn (they were VO-1002 to the latter's 1001), Khyal were actually more Faust-like. It has been suggested that the two were in fact the same band - my feeling is that there was some personnel overlap at the very least. The album starts out (like Brast's) in a bluesy jones - but the second piece owes its soul to 'Mamie Is Blue' from So Far, with touches of Magic Band musette and primitive rhythm machine thrown in. Third piece brings in the wankering overloads of Faust's debut and from there it does not let up. Blues guitar filters in periodically the tribalisms pick up - but so do washes of wah-wah/fuzzed guitar. By any measure, this is fairly twisted stuff - and it keeps on going! In a way, this is even stranger than Faust because it's hard to fathom what the rationale for this music is. With Faust we pretty much "get" what they were going on about - but this is almost anti-natural. But, as with Brast Burn, the album gets better as it goes along. Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band turns out to be a third major referent. The second side develops into a swirling maelstrom of So Far, Trout Mask Replica and Ono's POB (as orchestrated by Brainticket?). Just so you know what you're getting into. Between this and the Brast, this is the "better" artifact - in fact, it could be considered one of the most notable avant-rock albums of all time, if only for the unusual and focussed handling of its influences. (Brian Doherty)

I've stumbled across some very weird shit here. Both these records were cut by the same Japanese duo of Karuna Khyal and Toshiyuko Nemoto in 1975 and originally put out by Voice Records. Damo Suzuki comparisons are tangible and the music is appropriately a blues/kraut/punk/avante split. 'Debon' by Brast Burn explores the more out-there forms of Can. Blues-ish slide guitar and sleigh bells from The Stooges' 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' rut in a dark alley for 20+ minutes whilst a buzzing organ hoovers every pavement crack for signs of life. A Suzuki/Mooney vocal mutters and stutters forth all kinds of non-sequiturs and phonics before some Krishna devotee chanting finishes off 'Part One.' 'Part Two' starts off barking and cuckooing at the moon to a jig-like guitar, nothing focuses, it continually breaks down and fragments like an acid casualty's psyche. Some of the mood swings it goes through include an Indian (or Greek?) ballad and screeching atonality. Can's faked world music experiments spring to mind if in idea only. Faust too. Also beginning in a bluesy mood, Karuna Khyal's 'Alomoni 1985' is less confusing but still pushing limits. Japanesque forms mix with harmonica phrases from Captain Beefheart circa 'Mirror Man.' Tape loop and echo experimentation is rife, as is the constant reprise of that blasting harmonica. A schizophrenic Little Walter on the arty side of town, wondering where he's left his rickshaw. All in all a harsh but very interesting pair of reissues. Paradigm is interested in communicating with Khyal, Nemoto, Voice Records and Nakano record shop to chase up further archives or new projects. And on the strength of this, so am I. (Steve Hanson)

Details are scarce about this brace of 1975 oddities from Japan. The original releases on Voice carried no group or production information, but investigations by Paradigm boss, Clive Graham, has revealed that the same group of musicians are responsible for both these highly interesting discs. The Brast Burn album consists of two long pieces of mostly acoustic experimentation, with a strong Can feel, particularly from the vocals, which are a hybrid of Damo Suzuki and John Giorno. Tape loops, sound effects and the odd burst of synth or super-fuzzed guitar hold the attention throughout. Karuna Khyal produced the closest I've ever heard to Japanese folk-blues, with slide guitar and harmonica, before sliding into an echo-laden piece of musique concrète and backwards blues. Previously bootlegged, these official digital remasters deserve a wider audience and, with the growth in interest in the Japanese underground scene, it's very likely to happen (Trevor King)

RESONANCE (Vol.7 No.2)
I'm operating with a minimum of information here. I know very little about Brast Burn and Karuna Khyal. Paradigm Discs who have mastered these CD reissues from vinyl think that they may have been Japanese art students. The albums were possibly recorded in the mid seventies. Any further information will be gratefully received by Paradigm. Brast Burn are cited as an influence by Nurse With Wound. The two tracks Debon Parts 1 and 2 each clock in at just over twenty minutes. In part 1 the opening vocal flourish sounds like a Japanese James Brown and once you get over that shock it's quite appealing. What follows is a long dreamy musical sequence of synthesiser, gong, running water, flute, wind machine, understated drums, sleigh bells and occasional chanted vocals. The music is high on texture and inventiveness and displays a willingness to experiment in a very understated way. Part 2 starts with a wonderful, almost nursery rhyme guitar part and explores similar extended territory. Very hypnotic. This music is like ivy. It grows on you. As for Karuna Khyal's Alomoni 1985, the jury is still out. Is it the same people? Was it recorded in 1985 as the title suggests? They start off with some weird blues dominated by some great pig-in-a-microwave harmonica. They sound like very early Residents which is, I suppose, a recommendation. (Ian Shirley)

In the words of Paradigm Discs boss, Clive Graham: 'these two records are something of a mystery. No group information was ever given, and no production date or location is indicated. It would seem though, that these records are both by the same group of people and that they were recorded in the mid-seventies in Japan.' The recordings in question, now reissued on CD by London based Paradigm, are Debon by Brast Burn and Alomoni 1985 by Karuna Khyal; both LP's were originally issued om Voice Records. Although Japanese in origin, the recordings exhibit strong Occidental influences; in particular, late 60s psychedelic rock and early 70s Krautrock. Can's groove based momentum, Faust's warped lyricism, and Popol Vuh's mystical folkiness all come to mind at various points during the 20-minute parts of Debon. These possible specific influences aside, Brast Burn had a pretty clear sense of their own group identity, and set about creating episodic pieces that were lightly driven by a rhythm section of bass guitar and sundry small percussives. Over and between these, a synth buzzes and drones, an acoustic guitarist lets fly fragments of bent notes, and a Damo-like vocalist leads safron coloured chants. Individually, the playing is rudimentary, but the collective spirit and improvisatory flow of events achieve some memorable sound-painting with studio tapework supplying unexpected animal and meteorological FX. If, as Clive Graham believes, the personnel who were once Brast Burn went on to become Karuna Khyal, then they were certainly in a more frenzied state of mind when Alomoni 1985 was recorded. Imagine those Krautrock tendencies now injected with Beefheartian blues (circa Mirror Man), including shrill blown harmonica and Van Vlietesque distorted vocals, but cranked up to monsterous proportions with a fuzzed rhythm section, backward looped guitars and various other tapework aerobatics. In fact, at times the mix is so raw and dense, it's hard to know which way anything is moving. Yet there's method in their mayhem, and much that's both menacing and exhilarating. Whoever they were, Brast Burn and Karuna Khyal deserve a second chance and, with some energetic promotion, these 70s curios might even become cult hits (Chris Blackford)

Two extremely strange artefacts from the deep Underground of mid-1970s Japan Rock music. They were both released on the Voice Records label (ie they're effectively home-made private press records), and it's suspected that the same personnel were involved in both LP's, but nobody really knows - these are genuinely mysterious obscurities! Brast Burn can be found on the original Nurse With Wound list, apparently (do you actually know anybody who uses that particular shopping list as their cultural yardstick for excellence?). Although there's an undeniable 1970s German Rock influence here - in particular Damo Suzuki with Can - I think we should check in our 'rarer records than thou' one-upmanship at the door, and simply join hands as we admit that these are two blisteringly amazing records. True, they're somewhat disjointed and bitty, and appear to be held together with string and sellotape in places - but this only adds to the appeal and strange charm. We could almost guarantee you'll be smitten and kayoed by their overwhelming oddness. Karuna Khyal's offering features two side-long tracks, in fact made up of a series of suites and episodes, although side one's highlight is a long repetitive loop track, with slide guitars, unintelligible fuzzed-out chanting, and an insane burst of harmonica blowing that makes it all sound like a plastic, transistorised version of 'Tarotplane' from Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's Mirror Man LP. This is followed, totally unexpectedly, by a long disorienting passage of echoed and treated voices moaning and sighing, overdubbed with musique concrète backwards tapes and crashing metallic guitar mini-explosions. This record can be portentous, alarming and appears to be dangerously unhinged. Very desirable. The Brast Burn LP is equally loopy. Again, two LP side-long suites - again edited together to maximum weirdness effect. Only three minutes in from the start and you've already lost the thread, lost in a maze of horrifying noises created by studio effects by persons with no respect for restraint or common decency. There follows another Damo Suzuki impression, in near-English lyrics, extended into another infuriatingly overdone looped workout. But the playing is irresistible - far less ponderous than most Krautrock, even including the beyond-reproach Can. Brast Burn's playing is much lighter and spacier than that, with a charmingly attenuated slide guitar sound, a purring keyboard of some description, and a polite but very insistent distorted drum machine throbbing away. This switches to a more pastoral theme, acoustic guitar and flute with hand drum, wailing away over the sound effect of the howling wind...now you know one of the true antecedents of Masaki Batoh's band Ghost. These are both truely weird records and snapshots of a vanished post-psychedelic period, trippy, acid tinged and very progressive. I don't think anyone could even attempt to manufacture something as utterly freaked out as this, in today's jaded climate. (Ed Pinsent)

Precisely nada is known about these mid-70s Japanese releases. The CD's were mastered from mint original vinyl editions, as the Paradigm label's attempts to contact the groups came to nothing (if anyone has any information about the groups, the label would love to hear from you). Both discs feature plenty of creepy chanting and phased Japanese vocals. Brast Burn open out weird folk forms with trance guitar. Karuna Khyal throw together test tones, bleating horns and space drones, all filtered through Cosmic Couriers-styled studio processes. (David Keenan)

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