Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Worlds End Girlfriend - SEVEN IDIOTS (2010)

Let me start this off by saying that I have no idea how to describe this music. I've given myself the daunting task of describing this album, especially constraining myself in word count, and I don't know how to even begin. Throughout Katsuhiko Maeda's (here: World's End Girlfriend) entire career, he's been churning out unholy works flowing in and out of lethargic passages of the ambient or post-rock variety to highly-involved, glitchy noisy nightmares, and everything in between... at the same time. There have been attempts to pigeonhole him. Some call him post-rock, but he's really nowhere near the GY!BEs or Slints. Some call him math-rock, but he's nowhere near the Don Caballeros or Polvos. Some have called him IDM, et cetera et cetera. The truth is that he is somewhere in between, and although I have no intention on trying to condense this into such boring categories, I'm not being helped.
There are moments of post-rock, certainly. He uses tons of slow-moving passages, punctuated by lush strings and very solemn movements. And from that he can go into his math-rock and IDM areas, mixing a very glitchy electronic foreground with a rock base with his guitar pumping riffs with his frequent string samples. His music isn't much limited by what most would think is logical. He'll lead with a solemn, aching trip and fall right into a cheeky, 16-bit melody without a second thought (The first two songs of "Dreams End Come True"). There is little in terms of bounds for him musically. This is shown frequently throughout his career and is again highlighted with his latest, SEVEN IDIOTS.
Again, I have no idea were to begin. He has a slight intro, which introduces some of the general sound and a leitmotif (it doesn't really make many appearances, though). It's glitchy, slightly upbeat, kind of close to a "Shibuya-Kei" sound (think Cornelius or Pizzicato Five). And much of the album, surprisingly follows suit. This is most likely the catchiest WEG has ever been. You'll likely find yourself stamping your feet, clapping your hands, wiggling your hips, whatever happens when you get yourself in a dancy beat. Largely guitar dominated, he weaves these very sweet melodies in between quick rhythms that couple with his strings to make a sort of "ballroom" atmosphere. Perhaps a youthful, hippies-in-the-grass kind of ballroom, but a cheery affair regardless. This is frequently destroyed by his glitch and pummel, yes, but you won't find anything this upbeat and poppy in his catalog.
Don't let me mislead you, though. Later in his album the melancholy and unholy noise does take the stage. The finale is a heart-tearing little piece, the one before keeps chunky fuzz and demonic sampling in place with sparse chords (also heard in the song before it). I'd be fairly certain there is much in terms of thematics here. There are references to Dante's Divine Comedy. One could possibly believe that the beginning of the album represents a lavish lifestyle, or maybe heaven, the 3 part for the "Bohemian Purgatory" may be just that, and the last terrifying, noisy affairs are the inner depths of hell themselves. The boiling blood, the torture, the shrieks of despair, they are definitely represented. There is a lot to inspect, for certain, and if I had a better knowledge of The Divine Comedy, maybe I could give more insight. Even without I could dissect this and that, explaining what each glitch and sample represents for this journey... but, again, I wouldn't know where to begin.


  1. Post-music is definitely the best description. Nice review

  2. I think the jazzy sections that are spliced up in Der Speigal or whatever are like, the lesser demons and their torture of the lusting and envious. It's like, haunting and demonic, but it's all very loopy and not just straight menacing. It's fun to think.

  3. The Offering Inferno was crazy as shiiiiiiiiiittt