Music

True Light, True Shred

Two titans of Japanese rock, one limited-release album.

In Japanese, Mahikari means "True Light," and is one of a handful of new religious movements that has swept the country. Mahikari combines aspects of various older Asian religions and spiritualist teachings—like Oomotoko, Buddhism and Shintoism—and puts an emphasis on inner harmony. Now that two of Japan's most renowned guitarists of the '90s—Acid Mother's Temple guitarist Kamoto Kawabata and The Boredoms' ex-ax man Yamamoto "Yama-Motor" Seiichi—are collaborating, Mahikari now also means "fucking awesome psych noise rock band." Their debut self-titled album, four songs totaling 40-plus minutes, creates mind-blowing sonic landscapes. Kawabata and Yamamoto have an incredible knack for building on each other's riffs and solos.

The opening song, "The Fog Peaks of Nara" (below), let's the two layer distorted wails and reverb-heavy, sustained arpeggios for more than eight minutes before Stoo Odom (formerly of Thin White Rope) comes in on drums. Odom's playing is completely solid here, but of course with the likes of Kawabata and Yamamoto, at no point is he the highlight of the album. The real down and dirty guitar playing comes on the third song, "The Ooze Pits of Clarksdale." You won't find any self-indulgent shredding like when Steve Vai and Joe Satriani get together (pricks), just some great, great guitar playing by two men who know as many scales and modes as they do effects-heavy ways to manipulate their tone. A truly killer instrumental album. But get it soon: it's only available on limited-edition vinyl direct from Birdman Records.

Recommended situations for listening to Mahikari: Tai Chi sessions; background music to your Sunday spent masturbating to weird Japanese anime porn; 4am, driving to the White Castle, high out of your motherfuckin' mind.

"The Fog Peaks of Nara"

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