No Wave Friction

Written on

April 25, 2011

Shortly after getting into punk music in general, I stumbled upon the beauty that is no wave. The band that stood out most for me was Teenage Jesus and The Jerks. Their music and Lydia Lunch were equally captivating in their audacity and creativity. So I was pleased to learn that their bassist, Reck, reinvented his old band with Chico Hige once he returned to Japan after their time in New York.

Friction originally formed under the name Circle Triangle Square in 1971 then 3/3 in the mid-70’s. This band is considered to be one of the pioneers of alternative rock in Japan. More information:

Originally formed in 1971 as an avant-garde music group by bassist Reck, saxophonist Chico Hige, and drummer Sakuro Watanabe in Tokyo, Japan. They changed the bands name to 3/3 in the mid 70s, and Reck and Chico later moved to the United States, where they would join the band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and later became the original founding members of James Chance and the Contortions before returning back to Japan.

Renaming 3/3 to form Friction, they recruited guitarist Tsunematsu Masatoshi, who had studied art at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music. They released a live album and single in 1979, and their first studio album, Atsureki (軋轢, meaning ‘friction’ in Japanese) in 1980, produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

-From their wiki page.

Today I will be focusing on their 1980 release, Atsureki. This album is amazingly complex. It has a very classic punk feel to it that strongly reminds me of Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols and X. But then you get certain intervals in songs that are distinctly more inharmonious than the already very dirty rock being played. The track “Big-S” is a great example of this. All throught this song is a crazy guitar riff that sounds like someone sliding an object along the strings. About 1:35 minutes into it, the misanthropic guitar riff gets it’s own solo with stable rock beats being played on the drums and some very audible bass in the background. Which brings me to how audible the bass is in the entire album as is the saxophone. The former I appreciate and the latter I appreciate only in this album (I normally can not stand saxophones). The saxophone is excellently presented in the most sleazy fashion in “Cycle Dance” and “Out.” By the way, this is a very addictive album. You have been warned.

It can be downloaded here.

Originally posted here.

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