OUT OF THE UNKNOWN - Amplified Punks Hair Funked

Album: Amplified Punks Hair Funked
Tags: Noise-Rock, Electronics, Improvisation, Experimental, Avant-Rock, Heavy, Art-Rock
WTF Qualities: Wild electronics, heavy improvisation, open form, long stretches of space mixed with outbursts of colorful noise
Year: 2010
Country: Japan
Link: Label Page: http://www.q-tone.com/site/pages/releases/qt05.html / MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/ootu

What does this artwork sound like to you?

 Do you hear rhythm in it? Harmony? Fragments of high pitched tones? Is it even musical?
The imaginary game of "hearing" sounds or even music from pieces of art can be a rewarding and enjoyable one.
You can even take it a step further and try to listen to any object. Any visual idea can be translated into sound.
Our senses are connected and have the power to speak to one another.
It's a sensitivity that can be developed and nurtured.

Many musicians also work in the field of visual art. From Jerry Garcia to Miles Davis to Captain Beefheart to Ron Wood.
Have you ever tried to connect a musician's visual art with his or her music? What are the correlations?

Certain music is hard to disassociate with specific styles of the fine arts. For example, Claude Debussy goes hand in hand with impressionist artists such as Claude Monet. While listening to his music the world around us transforms into vivid moving blurred strokes.

The artwork above is from Tokyo artist Yoshihiro Kikuchi, who is also half of OUT OF THE UNKNOWN.
Their first full album, "Amplified Punks Hair Funked", will soon be released on the German q-tone label.
It plays as a noise-rock representation of Kikuchi's visual art.
Vibrant yet dissonant, playful and obsessively detailed, animated and humorous yet a feeling of a heavy gravitation towards dark secrets of the human psych.
All present in both mediums.


Yoshihiro Kikuchi: drums, noise, computer, editing, artwork, outburst, swearing, hell
Nori Arita: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, violin, computer, mix

This album is made up of two long tracks. Clocking in at 26:17 and 13:32.

The first track is humorously titled "Hammered Metal in Crap Disco is Singin'"
A slow and minimal guitar and drum kit create a meditative atmosphere as it unravels the beginning of this album. This does not prepare us for what's further inside.
Eventually a few snare hits take us into a quick burst of noise-rock over-drive.
This combination of open meditative space and sudden explosions of colorful noise carries over to many of Kikuchi's art pieces.

My interest perks up when the noise drops out and a guitar begins to web dissonant and angular sounds against samples, electronics, and sparse drums. Over what sounds like a few loops everything slowly builds up and gets a bit more wild and freaky until a final breakdown taking us to the end of this track.

The next track titled, "Ornette Plays Metal Music on Crashed Computer", is a whole different animal.
This is where the true WTF begins if you ask me.
Right off the bat we are treated to droned out electronic yelps and cries. Very colorful and funny.
This carries on for a while - weaving and diving sounds splash into one another and ripple outwards only to return again in an altered state.
The music on this track reflects the vibrant and playful visual collage style of Kikuchi's artwork.

In a twisted kind of way this music succeeds in taking Noise-Rock into the art gallery.
It's the product of the world after it's gone through the filter of a true artist.
With it's great awareness of space, attention to detail, sense of ease and humor and it's unique perception of atmosphere.
But most important, this music can teach us something. The relationship between sound and sight.
What we see can be heard.
And what we hear can be seen.
And just maybe we can work these lessons into our daily routine.

More of Yoshihiro Kikuchi's artwork can be viewed here:

You can listen to both tracks of the album from WTFMusic.org here:

Hammered Metal in Crap Disco is Singin - http://wtfmusic.org/#music/133/679
Ornette Plays Metal Music on Crashed Computer - http://wtfmusic.org/#music/133/680

Further discussion of this artist and album can be found here: