By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
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Haino's electric guitar, meanwhile, lay up against the wall backward, taunting difficult-music lovers attendant for a mindmelt. It would stay put the rest of the night; no confrontation, just comedy. Haino stuck to programmed beats, theremin-like air synths, yelps, and incantations as his fellow improvisersJohn Zorn on sax, DNA's Ikue Mori on laptop loops, Sylvie Courvoisier on (and sometimes in) pianomocked, swagger-jacked, or flat-out antagonized him over five movements. Right away Haino threw down a simple two-chord air-synth boogie, inviting 10 minutes of relentless and uncooperative skronk and instrumental gags, until all four gave out and hovered within a quarter-step of the same note. It was the night's most excruciatingly beautiful moment (or vice versa), save Zorn's mouthpiece-off-sax, vibration-qua-vibration demystification bit, so obvious it actually worked.
There were three midset duets, Haino with each player separately. Mori-Haino's percussive musings ended abruptly when Haino just snapped the mixing board off and Mori gave him the "that's it?" look. Polar opposite, the Courvoisier-Haino duet went long and new age, the suspended chords wrapping around Haino's Slimer impression a little too comfortably, something like a Brion knockoff.
As for the Zorn-Haino sword fight, well, at least Haino and Zorn had fun: Zorn squawked with his sax bell dug into the side of his army-fatigued leg, while Haino jumped around the room pretending to vomit. People tried to understand, but there's nothing to get hereso visceral, so slapstick. Maybe I should have been making the track-01, Nani Nani connections, or parsing what Zorn had muttered to Haino before they started playing. But sorry, when I see a 50-year-old Japanese man with sunglasses and hair down to his ass, wearing leather pants and rolling on the floor ralphing, I think of something else.