Yoshimi P-We is probably best known as the titular inspiration for The Flaming Lips' 2002 masterwork Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, but as the prime mover of the Japanese all-girl group OOIOO, she has produced some of the more challenging rock music to come from the Far East in recent years, notably the psychedelic extravaganzas Kila Kila Kila and Gold & Green. For this project, she has composed an extraordinary series of uncompromising, absorbing avant-rock pieces that bring to mind the more testing corners of the catalogues of such as Faust, Frank Zappa, Henry Cow and The Residents, as they might be played by a neo-primitivist garage band. Percussion is well to the fore, with pounding tom-toms and shrill, rhythmic chanting driving the opener "UMA", and a clutter of hand percussion lending an Art Ensemble-esque cast to "UJA". Steel pans, xylophone and congas pepper other tracks alongside the band's itchy guitar, keyboard and horn textures, while layers of vocal harmonies combine with metallic percussion to explosive effect on the 15-minute "SAI". As exhilarating a musical ride as any you'll take this year.
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