It's been years since someone has had the guts, ego, and lack of irony to take on the mantle held by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and (the overrated) Eric Clapton. But leave it to the country that brought us the larger-than-life stompings of Godzilla and Rodan to resurrect the guitar god.
Acid Mothers Temple is the brain child of Japanese guitar virtuoso Makoto Kawabata, who is described by normally stuffy Wire magazine as "one of the greatest post-Hendrix blood and fire guitarists." On songs like "Virgin UFO Feedback," from the band's 2001 release Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!!), it's obvious he deserves the comparison. Roaring guitar solos sweep and dive over themselves; long notes break into fuzzy feedback that ventures close to pure noise before scrambling back. It's a display of guitar playing at its most unhinged.
And yet it would be wrong to say that lysergic wailing is all Acid Mothers Temple is about. The band also revels in Black Sabbath's plodding sludge and some of Hawkwind's trippy psychedelia. Kawabata's perpetually morphing group, which formed in 1997 as a jam project, is now described as a collective of around 30 members -- including musicians, dancers, artists, and even farmers. It might be this diversity that allows Acid Mothers Temple to move so easily from Kraftwerk and Philip Glass to folk-like meditations complete with traditional Japanese string instruments. Then again, with the average song clocking in at 20 minutes, these guys have plenty of time to explore. Do us a favor and give them some of yours.