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High Rise

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HIGH RISE

The Japanese underground has pioneered more than its share of extremes, from the pure squall of Merzbow and Hijokaidan to the disemboweled pomo rock of the Boredoms and Omoide Hatoba to the noisy shamanism of Keiji Haino. For more than a decade, Tokyo bassist Asahito Nanjo and his trio High Rise have been pushing their blammo brand of psychedelia into the red, mixing the all-out hard-rock power of the MC5 with some of the most maniacal wah-wah damage ever recorded. They don't play songs, per se, but rather viciously attack grooves, pummeling them into the ground, and their hypnotic unholy din has a physical component to it that you can't get just by turning an amp to 11. There's something in the execution that brings to mind fingers bloodied by guitar strings and limbs broken over drum kits. In an interview published in the New Zealand fanzine Opprobrium, Nanjo posited the trio's relationship to the minimalist tradition thusly: "We want to compress the whole of that thirty years into three minutes, into the time it takes to prepare a cup of ramen, or for Ultraman's color timer to expire." High Rise's most recent album, Desperado (P.S.F.), is less dense than previous works; on "Effing" they almost sound like a jazz trio--albeit one that's tanked up on speed. But next week the North Carolina indie Squealer will issue domestically two of the band's earliest and heaviest releases, High Rise II and Dispersion. This is High Rise's Chicago debut, but not Nanjo's: last year two of his other projects, Mainliner and Musica Transonic, played here with Ruins. Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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