|Date:||Jul 23, 2009|
Sometimes a CD lands on my desk that just leaves me entirely confounded, unsure whether I love it or hate it, but admiring its sonic audacity.
Ten-G’s debut album “Draconic Sun” is a perfect example, at times striking the right sonic chord before hyperactively scurrying off somewhere into left field leaving me unsure whether it’s lost the plot or simply contorted upon itself like the last hour of a David Lynch film.
The background in live music of this duo is clearly heard throughout the album, not only in its frequent use of guitar-based arrangements, but also from the general electronic-acid-rock attitude which flows through most of the tracks. The result feels heavily geared towards energetic live performances, with wailing synths and effects providing the main melodic thrust over vigorously high-tempo basslines. Listening to Draconic Sun, I can't help but be reminded of a similarly rock-inspired, acid-drenched album of more than a decade ago, the still-loved “Rock Bitch Mafia” from legendary trio The Green Nuns of the Revolution.
This Japanese duo seems to occasionally take the theme one step into the blatantly strange almost reminiscent of a few of my old Psy-Harmonics or Suomi-trance CDs, giving a result that is fully unpredictable, for better or worse. In this case, the frequent changes of direction and musical surprises are sometimes fun, sometimes head-scratchingly nonsensical, but certainly creative and never boring. Staying true to its unpredictability, the album takes a welcome detour for the final three tracks, a remarkable succession of thoroughly entrancing numbers that find a way to keep the energy packed in while holding the chaos in check.
This trio of “Its Memories”, “Nine” and “Abyssal Explorer” stand out through their focused approach, which loses none of the vivacity of the earlier songs but allows a more mature melodic depth to shine through. Whether intentional or by accident, such an explosive finale leaves the CD on a high note, giving a retrospective sense of direction to the piece as a whole.