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Destination Tokyo

Nisennenmondai

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Album Review

Unlike Neji/Tori, Destination Tokyo doesn't have any songs named for the bands Nisenennmondai admires, and with good reason: these focused yet still unpredictable excursions are utterly theirs. The trio dives even deeper into the grooves that drive their music, expanding them and streamlining them into something challenging yet fresh and immediate. Once again, however, the album's song titles reflect the band's aims just as clearly as their playing, especially on the 12-minute epic "Mirrorball," which pits layers of sparkling staccato guitar counterpoint against a slowly revolving bassline and swift hi-hats that sound like fast-forward "disco." Throughout, the band's interplay is effortless, seemingly endless, like the infinite reflections of two mirrors facing each other. "Disco" is even more evocative of a surreal dancefloor, with bassist Yuri Zaikawa and guitarist Masako Takada's angular playing dancing around the formidably swift beat that drummer Sayaka Himeno lays down, until the three of them lock together in the song's churning coda. "Ijen Urusuozuos" is another powerhouse, a 13-minute excursion of Morse code guitars and machine-like rhythms that ends just as precisely as it unfurls. Despite their precision, Nisenennmondai never feel overwrought, as the playful intermission "Miraabouru" — which features the band singing "Mirrorball"'s motif with sped-up vocals — attests. They close Destination Tokyo with its charming title track, a Krautrock workout that's lighter, more atmospheric and melodic than anything that came before it, but still shows just how important relentless rhythms are to them (and also shows how much sense it makes that they share a U.S. label with fellow Krautrock evolvers Tussle). By the time Destination Tokyo lands with whoosh of a jet touching down, it's clear how much ground they've covered since Neji/Tori — and that the journey is just as important to Nisenennmondai as the destination.

Biography

Formed: Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

A Tokyo-based all-female instrumental trio that makes equally raw and danceable music, Nisennenmondai formed in the late '90s and took their name from the Japanese translation of the then-current phrase "Y2K bug." Guitarist Masako Takada, bassist Yuri Zaikawa, and drummer Sayaka Himeno met at a club near their university and formed the band soon after, taking as much inspiration from the cool kids at school as they did from experimentalists like This Heat, Pop Group, Sonic Youth, DNA and Neu! Their...
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Destination Tokyo, Nisennenmondai
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