Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Rhythm & Views

NOVEMBER 17, 1997: 


Mainliner Sonic
Charnel Music

SUPER TRASHY AND assaultive Japanese noise-core is Mainliner's calling card. The Tokyo three-piece is lead by Kawabata Makoto's bludgeoning six-string, No-Wave skronk heroics--a sonic tornado of orgasmic feedback entwined in Makoto's self-professed "motor psycho" guitar hostility. Think of a drunken Link Wray plugged into a perforated Marshall amp slamming his guitar repeatedly with a broken beer after repeatedly listening to Guitar Wolf and Pussy Galore records on his cheap Mattel "Close-and-Play" turntable. On the title cut, "Mainliner Sonic," Makoto slaps a choke hold on a musical weapon fit to spit your head apart, then miring you in muddy yet ingratiating rhythms of guitar destruction and melodic mayhem. This Cuisinart of sound encompasses four lengthy compositions of total musical annihilation. There's nothing subtle about Mainliner's atom bomb act: "Last Day," a whirlwind blend of instrumental chaos and oft-kilter rhythms, inspires schizophrenia. Mainliner is a mind-blowing guitar fuck that'd make Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth proud. Forget about the Bordoms--Mainliner eats those cornflakes for breakfast.

--Ron Bally


Sol Na Cara
Gramavision Records

MARISA MONTE WAS the last Brazilian to make a splash stateside. Like Cantuaria, she benefited from production assistance of New York avant-garde guitarist Arto Lindsay (Japanese keyboardist/bossa nova addict Ryuichi Sakamoto did much of the arranging). Some of the disc is undiluted bossa nova, which Cantuaria presents so passionately you put aside all those negative "Girl from Ipanema" connotations. Four of the cuts were written with Caetano Veloso, a major figure in Brazil's music scene from the '70s on. It could have been Lindsay's idea for Cantuaria to record one of Antonio Carlos Jobim's most gorgeous cuts, "Este Seu Olhar," seeing how the guitarist recorded it himself not that long ago. No instrument credits are given, but whoever plays the bossa nova guitar on the cut does an amazing job of replicating samba's surdo drum as a bassline. Cantuaria will become the next major figure in Brazilian music, betcha.

--Dave McElfresh


Minty Fresh

DESPITE ITS SOUNDS--the completely synthetic blips and bleeps of cheesy Kraftwerk wannabes--the debut English-language release by Sweden's Doktor Cosmos is in essence a folk record. Just as old-time guitar pickers copped stock melodies, lyrics and chord progressions, expressing themselves through adaptation, the good Doktor uses the generic, public domain accompaniments of the electronic age. With push-button convenience, Kosmos (one-time keyboardist for Stockholm's Komeda) conjures the pre-set beats and rhythms of commercial synths, on which he sings his own new songs. For those who demand blood-and-guts songwriting, the plastic ditties on Kosmos' Cocktail will sound frustratingly shallow and simplistic. That anyone with a $100 Casio and a couple fingers is more than half-way to replicating Doktor Kosmos' sound certainly places his music under scrutiny. However, I'd stop short of branding Kosmos' collection a scam, if only because his is the first all year to make me laugh out loud. There's a conceptual brilliance at work in his one-touch minimalism--both parodying and emulating early techno/synth-pop--when he mechanically deadpans like an ineffectual, over-intellectual Eurotrash noodler (think of SNL's Mike Myers as Dieter). Consider the concise lyrics to "Elevator Bossa," repeated continuously: A boy and a girl/Fell in love in the elevator/Two months later/He hate her. Then, with the ping-pong-ball driven "L.S.A.T.T. (Lazy Sunday Afternoon Table-Tennis)," and "No One at Home," which constructs a '90s cosmopolitan rag around unanswered telephone rings, doorbells and knocks, Kosmos gets really subversive. He offers his machine-age laziness as avant-garde composition, and with a barely hidden snicker, juxtaposes artiness with frivolity, and cold digital complexity with cocktail stupidity. Where Berlin meets Miami Beach, Bauhaus meets Art Deco, and ambient-techno deejaying meets organ-grinder monkey-business--Doktor Kosmos has produced a guilty pleasure worthy indulging.

--Roni Sarig

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