For all its highbrow pedigrees, Nazoranai initially began as a shock-rock trio. Sure, it was shocking enough that Japanese experimental noise legend Keiji Haino had linked with American guitarist Stephen O’Malley and the Australian guitarist, drummer and workhorse Oren Ambarchi in any stable format. But the real assault and revolt came with the actual sound of their self-titled debut, not its setup. During a thundering, demented 2011 live set captured in Paris, Ambarchi hammered his kit. Sunn O))) co-founder O’Malley’s bass boomed, blasted and broke into and out of the background. And Haino? He played Haino, of course, hurling fragmented poetry and launching ferocious static and feedback in all directions. Nazoranai scanned like a collection of ecstatically snapped interrobangs.
The trio’s second LP, The Most Painful Time Happens Only Once Has It Arrived Already..?, is more likely to pull you in, at least once you get past the mind-warping title and the Haino-typical names of the accompanying tracks. (Seriously, man, who is making the time rot?) Recorded in Birmingham, England, two years after that first album, this four-track set finds Nazoranai settling in, tracing collective improvisational curves with more grace than clamor, more total engagement than fuck-all outrage.
While the aforementioned “Who is Making the Time Rot” plows through eight minutes of broken rhythms and bleeding tones, the other three pieces tend to simmer toward eruption. “You Should Look Closely Those Shattered Spells Never Attaining Embodiment as Prayer They are Born Here Again,” or Track One, is a rupture of dissonant squall and scrambled drums at first. It calms toward the middle, though, like a bastard child of Miles Davis’s Get Up With It sessions. The title track begins as a busted blues, with Haino repeating a riff made of shards as O’Malley and Ambarchi “walk” behind him. Ambarchi even takes a drum solo, kind of. By song’s end, though, the relatively standardized structure proves to be little more than feint. Haino screams like he’s mortal pain, as the instruments make one last gasp. It ends only with Haino’s falsetto voice, suspended eerily above a void of room tone. That near-silence is proof that Nazoranai doesn’t need to scream or shriek for attention.