Let me preface this review by recommending that anyone reading this should check out Kawabata Mokoto’s Bandcamp page. It’s an unbelievable treasure trove of solo recordings, random collaborations, AMT rarities, and so much more. One such gem is this new album from the trio of Kawabata, Nakaya Koichi, and Okano Futoshi. The original Andromelos featured Masonna on electronics back in 2004, but Kawabata and Futoshi joined up with Koichi for the band’s sequel in 2013. After an extended hiatus, the trio blasted back into space in April of this year and cranked out Space Wrecked Castaways.
With all that out of the way, it’s 2021 and Kawabata is in fine form. Space Wrecked Castaways is a sonic purge that rides a prog wave straight into the cosmic realm. Contemplative beginnings with Kawabata’s spectral guitar explorations spinning constellations against Koichi’s synth ephemera give way to a gonzo spectacle. Futoshi always pushes the rhythm in the right place, knowing when it’s time to light the fuse and take off all the shackles. Once Kawabata and Koichi get a solid feel for each other, we got interstellar.
Kawabata is one of my favorite guitar players of all time for a reason. He can do it all. He can shred, he can dig deep into hypnotic drones, and he can create unrecognizable sounds. That said, Kawabata shredding is as good as it gets. When Koichi kicks in some prog-infused arpeggios, everything lights up. Fifteen straight minutes of guitar wreckage, obliterating time and space as deep grooves grind beneath and the heavens open up and rain gold. Kawabata is incandescent, ripping mind-melting solos left and right.
There’s something that happens inside this kind of sonic obliteration; it’s paralyzing because the music and sound are so heavy, so dense it locks anyone listening in place. The synths and drums provide the foundation, but on Space Wrecked Castaways it’s Kawabata that tears open the wormhole. Everything about Space Wrecked Castaways screams catharsis and this beautiful sonic mayhem is a reminder of what it feels like to live.
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