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Psyche Bugyo - Psychedelic Judgeman Comes, He Has the Cherry Blossom on the Shoulder

  by Dominic B. Simpson

published: 9 / 4 / 2014

Psyche Bugyo - Psychedelic Judgeman Comes, He Has the Cherry Blossom on the Shoulder
Label: Janus Sounds
Format: CD


Accessible and upbeat psychedelia/Krautrock on debut album from Psyche Bugyo, the side project of Acid Mothers Temple bassist and vocalist Atsushi Tsuyama

The appearance of a new record by Acid Mothers Temple is not an uncommon event. Rapidly becoming one of the most unwieldy back catalogues around (it’s fair to say that for the Japanese psych collective, concepts such as “truncation”, “outtakes”, or “selective editing” do not exist), AMT’s mammoth discography is pushing into the hundreds. Apparently based in a commune on top of a mountain near Osaka, the dauntingly prolific collective have a habit of classifying their releases under various incarnations, most of which are as baffling as the next. Having difficulty telling the difference between Acid Mothers and the Melting Paraiso UFO, Acid Mothers Temple SWR, Acid Mothers Temple and the Pink Lady Blues, Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno, Acid Mothers Temple and the Mothers of Invasion, Acid Mothers Temple and the Incredible Strange Band, Acid Mothers Temple Space Paranoid, and just plane old Acid Mothers Temple? Well, you’re not alone. That doesn’t even take into account their collaborations, from Acid Mothers Afrirampo (featuring the bonkers female Japanese duo Afrirampo) to Acid Mothers Guru Guru (featuring the obscure 70’s Krautrock act Guru Guru) to Acid Mothers Gong (featuring…you get the idea). In addition (there’s always more with AMT), there’s the question of their side-projects, practically a murky world in themselves. From AMT main-man Kawabata Makoto’s solo albums as Mainliner and under his own name, to keyboardist Higashi Horishi’s output (him of the ‘Battlestar Galactica’-style space noises), to God knows what else, it’s difficult to know where it all ends. To this existing catalogue, we can now add Psyche Bugyo’s excellent new album ‘Psychedlelic Judgemman Comes, He Has the Cherry Blossom on the Shoulder’, led by longtime AMT bassist, vocalist, and “cosmic joker” Atsushi Tsuyama. Information on the net as to this shadowy offshoot is scarce, but it does mention that the group also contains former member Ryoko Ono on sax and flute. Divided into three lengthy tracks, the album doesn’t wait to get going: ‘My Abarenbo Shogun’ gets firmly into a groove, with a showcase straight away of what makes Psyche Bugyo so different to Acid Mother Temple: a prominent use of a Hammond organ (though who exactly is playing it remains a mystery). Together with some blistering distorted guitar and Tsuyama’s ranting vocals, the track sounds like one of AMT’s jams shorn of Makoto’s signature Blue Cheer-style thundering guitar shredding, thrown together with some squealing free-jazz saxophone screeching away like the Sun Ra Arkestra at their finest. ‘Psychedelic Judgeman’, by contrast, begins with Japanese flutes giving off a distinctly calm and ‘mystical’ feel, before eventually becoming a kaleidoscopic whirling circus of organ, pounding drums and thick guitar attack over 35 minutes, becoming more crazed as the song progresses, with frequent ‘elbows-only’ organ only exacerbating the insanity. Finally, on a more relaxed note, there’s ‘Son of Mr Living Willow’, a gloriously mellow jam at the start with some lovely entrancing flute and a stinging guitar solo, over which Tsuyama has some commanding vocals (most of which are in Japanese, and for this reviewer sadly thus a mystery). At times, it brings to mind Pink Floyd from the ‘Saucerful of Secrets’-era – a period that Acid Mothers Temple clearly hark back to in much of their work – or even, Heaven forbid, ‘Summertime’ by the Isley Brothers, before ending up in a fantastic, hypnotic Krautrock-like groove, with the organ and drums driving the song to its conclusion. As a companion to AMT’s dauntingly large catalogue, ‘Pyschedelic Judgeman Comes, He Has the Cherry Blossom on the Shoulder’ stands fine on its own two feet, with the absence of Makoto’s ever-present monster guitar chug something of a relief for once. In contrast to AMT’s often Sabbathesque, doom-laden heaviness, this is a much more accessible, joyful affair, celebrating the organ as much as the wah-wah and distortion pedals. Play it loud in the summer when the weather’s fine and enjoy the good vibes.

Track Listing:-
1 My Abarenbō Shōgun
2 Psychedelic Judgeman (Parts (A)
3 Son of Mr. Livingwillow

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