Osorezan's Mimidokodesuka

Our old friend, free (if not big) in Japan

Jim O'Rourke has hardly been silent since decamping to Tokyo in 2005 to pursue film and presumably chillax: His discographical sprawl continues unabated. But while the Wilco/Sonic Youth comrade has indulged in everything from aleatoric experiments (Tokyo Realization, his take on Toru Takemitsu's Corona) to ambitious collaborations (the spacious Hagyou, with free saxophonist Akira Sakata and the Boredoms' Yoshimi P-We), little has trickled back to the States save by peer-to-peer back channels. Though Osorezan's Mimidokodesuka is technically a reissue, given its relatively recent recording date (2005) and its label (Drag City, O'Rourke's largest domestic outlet), one might read it as something more noteworthy. So noted. (Also noted: Osorezan translates to "Fear Mountain"; Mimidokdesuka to "Where's My Ear?")

With O'Rourke on guitar, and joined by bassist Darrin Gray (On Fillmore) and drummer Chris Corsano (Björk)—frequent collaborators both—there are no grand statements here. But there's no bullshit, either. Well, maybe some. Recorded live at Tokyo's Pit Inn (along with a Japan-only companion disc, Oyobare/Tetrodotoxin, again featuring Sakata), Mimidokdesuka's three tracks are straight free jazz, despite O'Rourke's occasional drones and Derek Bailey deconstructions. Gray and Corsano coalesce into glorious '60s schizoidisms during the second half of "Form of the Collapse If a Collapse Should Occur," building and discarding structures around O'Rourke's guitar squalls, the noise seeping between abstract beams. Not everything is as coherent: Some passages shift focus from moment to moment, and especially from listen to listen. "In Addition," the last of the progressively longer jams, wanders for four minutes over what sounds like the sharpening of a knife before it turns sharply, suddenly in free flight/fall around O'Rourke's shredding. Throughout, he favors noise over notes, like a postcard that says: "Having a great time—don't care one way or the other if you're here."

 
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