A near flawless culture of hospitality, design, cuisines, architecture, and a wonderful sense of ritual that pervades its society.
A country ruled by meticulous and supreme organization, people respectful to the point of being invisible with an innate sense of courtesy.
Vibrant, ever-changing streetscapes and fantastic food.
A country where you can determine your location by the colour of your miso soup – you’re in the east if it’s dark and salty, in the west half if it is sweet and light.
A country daring me to find anything that is not completely desirable.
I vividly remember the first time I've heard G.I.S.M. It was before the curated echo-chamber world, where no algorithms of Amazon and iTunes chose what would suit your taste. You had to get out there, outside your cocoon, and trial and error to find new and exciting things–things that did not necessarily mirror your tastes.
I discovered G.I.S.M. when I got the P.E.A.C.E./War compilation in the early ‘90ies. It was dangerous, intense, exotic, and struck a chord with me that only very few bands after did. It was nothing like the punk and hardcore prominent at that time: according to the law of averages something like G.I.S.M., combining so many influences, should balance out to a bland muddle.
Mix a range of colours and you will get brown.
G.I.S.M. refuted that law and it was just plain blinding, dazzling, grand insanity. Hardcore at that time was pretty much synonymous with American culture. Not just in cultural terms--we were the willing vassals of the New World. I tried to find out more about G.I.S.M. and waded through a maze of myths and misinformation. Not too much long after I was able to acquire G.I.S.M.'s deTestation CD from the German distribution Bitzcore Records, which would later on become the home of everything Turbojugend.
"Leaving aside the fact that I am not a music expert (when did that ever hold me back?)"
My mind was blown and that was that.
Leaving aside the fact that I am not a music expert (when did that ever hold me back?) and the many variables that determine what a great band is, this was the non-plus-ultra. A band cut off from comprehension.
It stretched music’s very fabric.
Never had I experienced such boiling energy unleashed on me.
Nothing felt contrived; G.I.S.M. was like a mineral – naturally formed.
Never had exultancy and anguish been so thoroughly intermeshed. The artwork was absolutely brilliant and majestic.
The effect of aforementioned CD has left an imprint on pretty much everything I've worked on musically.
The ultimate statement.
A groundbreaking band when there was still ground to break, I was swept up by a tornado into the insane world of SKV at the dead centre of which lay Randy Uchida’s licks.
G.I.S.M. became the blanket that could be thrown over the invisible to give form to something I had not envisioned before. A mysterious power that I felt but could not explain, sating the yearning for what is not of this world.
Evoking irrational violent sentiments, borderline absurd at times. A form of madness that allowed me to take leave of my senses, painting a harrowing picture of the state of humanity.
It was not until many years later that I have had a chance to experience the reception of G.I.S.M. in country.
For some reason, I naïvely thought that in Japan information would be easier to come by and it would be possible to demystify the phenomenon to some extent—which is good because it allows people their own interpretations in their own creative minds. Never reveal what is in the bag.
Tokyo, the surreal rabbit hole. The incandescent spectacle made not only Bill Murray rub his eyes in disbelief as he cruised through Shinjuku. In Tokyo you can be whatever you like and find anything ever imagined – from cat cafes to fetish restaurants. A dazzling strangeness, crowds creating their own current with labyrinthine density.
To come by reliable information about G.I.S.M. was not easy. The polar opposite was the case.
Sometimes it is better if a band stays a mirage.
Getting the facts is sometimes light letting light in upon magic.
What a timeless band.