Suishou no Fune
As promised, Suishou no Fune gave me a taste of what their show is like on their home turf. Be it Suishou no Fune’s style to play in eccentric venues, Muryoku Muzenji was certainly no exception. As The Glasslands in Brooklyn is a cross between venue space and art space, Muryoku Muzenji is a cross between jam space and obscure toy collector’s obsession space. The walls and ceiling are covered with pictures, drawings, flags, toys, dolls, scraps of paper, and all kinds of multi-colored junk. It was as if a tornado hit a toy collector’s garage sale and scattered the debris along the walls of Muryoku Muzenji. The owner of the club is an older bald man who was wearing a pink apron and matching Hello Kitty hat. Apparently he is often naked.
I met Pirako of Suishou no Fune at Koenji train station and she took me to Muryoku Muzenji. She explained how it is a crazy underground club in Tokyo, but this was not what I was expecting. Suishou no Fune has played over 100 shows at Muryoku Muzenji and has recorded some of their albums there. The show I saw on Aprill 11th was a private show and I had to come alone. There were no more than ten people there, but I don’t think Muryoku Muzenji could comfortably hold many more than that.
Opening acts included singer/songwriter solo performances. I think these opening acts had much more passion and substance than most American artists of a similar genre. One reminded me of a traveling street performer as he strummed his beat up acoustic guitar and played harmonica in the torn and tattered rags he wore for clothing. It was a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for a Wednesday night show that felt more like a jam session or open mic than a concert.
As I have already described Suishou no Fune from their show in Brooklyn, I will not get too into how they sounded, but it was a similar wall of swelling sound and an experimental soundscape of emotion and feeling. For a more detailed description, please refer to Suishou No Fune (NYC).
I think the drummer that joined the experimental duo at Muryoku Muzenji added quite a bit of texture to the music. He added a pulse for this sea of sound, but he did not harness it. Often he was experimenting with offbeat accents and finding unusual places to punctuate. He had the touch and finesse of an experimental or free jazz drummer. Upon interviewing the band, guitarist Kageo told me that he did not have much to say about his music, but rather it should speak for itself. Music is his identity and he does not mind what people call it or how they perceive it, as long as he can continue to play. When they tour America, people seem to feel their music and understand what it is about. It certainly invokes feeling and Suishou no Fune believes that in this regard, their music breaks through the boundary of language and makes it possible for them to touch audiences abroad. Pirako went on to say that she does not think when she is playing; instead, her performance is based entirely on feeling the music and letting it take her where she needs to go. Although it may be difficult to speak Japanese, English or any language, music such as Suishou no Fune’s can transcend this boundary and speak in the language of music. Anyone can share the universal phenomenon of musical experience. It is a part of human experience that everyone shares. Suishou no Fune plans to saddle up for another tour of the West within the next year.