Tetragrammaton

Elegy for Native Tongues

by Thomas Britt

26 March 2009

 
cover art

Tetragrammaton

Elegy for Native Tongues

(Subvalent)
US: 12 Oct 2008
UK: Unavailable

Tetragrammaton is the quadriliteral name for God. It is also the name of the Japanese band behind Elegy for Native Tongues, a sprawling two-disc psychedelic/noise/free-jazz album. The band is part of the same musical universe as Acid Mothers Temple and Borbetomagus. Although this ambitious outing doesn’t offer as wide a spectrum of psychedelic textures as AMT touchstone Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!!) or as unhinged a force as Snuff Jazz, band members Nobunaga Ken, Cal Lyall, and TOMO do form an exciting ensemble involving drums, electronics, guitar, hurdy-gurdy, and saxophone.

As with almost all music of this sort, the listener only fully appreciates the craft of the songs through extended and repeated attention. The chanting sweet spot on “The Ghosts Won’t Starve But We Will Perish” kicks in only after the tenth minute, which is the same point at which tinny distortion gives way to a barely-there oscillating melody in “Kohelet Revisited”. Such hidden pleasures are buried everywhere throughout disc one (the studio recordings) and disc two (a 2007 live set). This is a breathtaking listen. Just don’t expect any hooks.

Elegy for Native Tongues

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.

 

//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Call for Essays on Topics in Culture; Present, Past and the Speculative Future

// Announcements

"PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as…

READ the article