Domo ArigaDIE!!! – Day 02 – Video Curation: MOST: Johnny (#DomoArigaDIE!!!)

MOST Phew

Help support this curated series by purchasing a copy of Domo ArigaDIE!!! (Thank you–I think you’ll like the book)

When you were probably twenty-one years old, you experienced an album that would change your life–with intensity. You heard Anton Fier’s BLIND LIGHT. Its depths enthralled you: the bass, the flies, the palominos. Do you remember sitting close to the speakers and absorbing the foreign language as it was spoken, sung, whispered, chanted, hushed, and blurred into your mind? You thought the singer was exploring French hymns, but she was not. She sang Japanese. You would come to learn her name–PHEW–and be witness to the mysteries of the musical depths she would reveal to you as you sought out her records (one by one and then some) and strapped her sounds to your ears for years to come.

THEN…

Several years later, you take the train to Shinjuku station. Now you’re a young man full of dreams and tonkatsu, blue neckties, soba and gallons of Calpis. You’ve prepared yourself for this night. With tickets in hand, it’s time…

Flashback: when you first came to Japan, you bought a CD by Phew’s punk band MOST. It was the first CD you bought when you moved to this island country. You never heard such raw rockin’ energy and, though you are not typically a punk rock music fan, you found something different about MOST, something that worked within the realm of punk, but in a shifting, jilting, slightly off-beat, not-quite-post-punk, catchy, sludgy, surfy, airy and unusual angle. You loved it. And, of course, Phew’s voice (no longer so hushed and subdued as on the BLIND LIGHT album) roared and preached with religious intensity, fervor, magnitude.

That night in Shinjuku, you finally get to bow to her presence before the show starts and introduce yourself. She was selling T-shirts with her fellow band members. You chatted in Japanese, but just a bit, because you were nervous (always are in front of your idols). Months later, you would meet her again at a small venue in Koenji after a show in which she collaborated with Sachiko M, another incredible sound-manipulator. You gave her your homemade noise and she thanked you. You thanked her for all those years of joy. But MOST…

MOST makes my Japanicity tremble and rip. When you hear MOST, you feel an energy emanating from underneath the Nippon streets like a kaiju awakening, an elixir inserted in the ears of all those ear-budded commuters. (What in the world are they listening to?)

The Shinjuku LOFT crowd goes batshit bonkers when MOST takes the stage. The volume (blessed volume) has been turned up to 80,000. The band rocks the Shinjuku LOFT with a fury from here to Osaka, leaves you wondering what fever you just saw, shaken and broken. It’s all a fuzzy slush of beautiful guitar noise, raging vocals, moshing fans, and sweat on sweat. It was hot down there. You wanted it to be hotter down there.

MOST (in my stupid world of failures and tribulations) will always capture Phew in her most ecstatic form. MOST will be my ghost-fuel. MOST will be the sound of my past splitting apart into piles of mush on the floor. I surrender to MOST. I implore you to allow yourself to become enchanted. This is your divining rod. This is what it feels like to be wrenched to tears by beautiful hands. This is more than music. It’s the voice of what you’ve always known.

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