Butoh Sonics – Annihilate this Memory

5.22.20 by Tony Lien

Check out this bio description from Bandcamp regarding music collective Butoh Sonics

“Phantasmagoria of sound sculpture, electronics, guitar debris & dance theater. Post-futurist clangor, dada/ambient improvisions and enchromatic jazz. Throw off the yoke of anxiety and oppression, embrace sonic sensorial immersion! Join with the eternal Void as primal waveform.” 

Am I even needed here? Do you even need to listen to the tape now? 

Really though – despite that killer Bandcamp byline – Butoh Sonics truly is a hard group to describe. Not only do they veil themselves with stage names, but their sizable creative output is not unlike an ever-growing abstract expressionist canvas; their spatters and patterns cannot be predicted – nor easily categorized as one particular genre. Noise? Plunderphonics? Freak jazz? All I can say is that it’s fruitless to try and do the typical music person thing and neatly file them away in your internal music compartment; the music will wriggle and ooze its way out of the drawer and crawl off to do its own thing or end up stuck to the bottom of our shoe. 

Annihilate this Memory” – available from Buffalo, NY label Zazen Tapes – is a foreboding improvisational noise album comprised of experimental guitar work, extensive/cryptic samples, and various other instruments/machines that are hard to put a finger on (just the way I like it). The sounds constantly morph and twist around each other – sometimes knotting up, other times floating freely in a paradoxically vast and claustrophobic space. In the tape’s finest moments (really, the entire album is a choice bizarro audio extravaganza), it reminds me of wandering through a dilapidated fun house maintained by pissed off art school students. 

It goes without saying that “Annihilate this Memory” is hardly forgettable. Add to that the fact that Zazen tapes doesn’t charge much (in relation to a great many labels out there) for their physical ephemera, and it would be a pretty nonsensical move for you to not trade them a few bucks for a genuine work of art that might as well be the official 30 minute anthem of one of the strangest years of our lives.

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