SCENES OF LIVENESS AND DEADNESS by David Novak
There are about forty-five people in here, bathing in the blast of Noise right now: a group of older fans, some college kids already holding CDs they've purchased from the merchandise table, a handful of foreigners (mostly Canadian and American), and a lot of familiar faces among the regulars, local performers, and store and label owners here for the show. These all-Noise concerts usually happen about once a month in Tokyo, in different venues. The live house, 20,000V, is set up like any small hole-in-the-wall rock club, a poorly maintained, boxy room in the basement—actually, two floors down in the subbasement—of an anonymous building on the main shopping street in Koenji. It's about a hundred square feet, and there are huge black wooden speaker enclosures chained to the ceiling on either side of the stage; flyers on the walls for both current and past hardcore, scum, punk, and Noise shows; a tiny bar in the back by the toilets selling cups of beer; and a little table near the door where recordings by the evening's performers are sold. I stand about halfway toward the front of the room, slightly to the side of the stage, in line with one of the huge towers of speakers. MSBR is on stage now, and he is very interesting to watch. His body movements are much more conservative than those of the energetic eighteen-year-old Long Islander Viodre, whose thrashing set preceded MSBR, but his hands are always moving: constantly adjusting pots and faders, starting and stopping sounds, changing them, pushing against pedals, and switching them of and on with the base of his hand. In comparison with tonight's other performers, MSBR's Noise is more multilayered and rhythmic, and he is almost completely still as he sits in the center of an earsplitting whirlwind of sound. He cuts in and out of an analog delay, shuttling through a spacey blur as he shifts out of one timbre and into another, never letting any texture linger for more than five or ten seconds. Everyone is rapt, falling into the steady flow of sound. No one talks; no one could talk if they wanted to. . . .
Uma 129 MSBR – Ultimate Ambience Lp 19 €
MSBR ( Molten Salt Breeder Reactor ), a.k.a. Koji Tano , was one of the most respected noise artists to arise from Japan's exciting noise/experimental music scene of the 1990's. Much of his material was self-released on his own label, the astounding MSBR Records , which was dedicated to the production of limited edition releases with incredible artwork. MSBR present a music elaborated with previously chosen source of sounds, whose origins are either naturel or artificial, with use of Korg guitar synthesizer and some effects, working in analog sounds. Oscillating between Grappling Electro Noise (as he describes his musical style) and pure noise, the really surprising quality of the sound research leads to a tremendous kind of noise-texture.
“Ultimate Ambience” is his debut album , recorded in February 1991 and released the following year on its label in 400 copies (the first one hundred copies in special edition with in unique fold out handmade covers using foil, paint, and collage elements). Tano 's Molten Salt Breeder Reactor divided record into two long track filled with excellent harsh noise with strong influences of musique concrete and electro-acoustic. The great production on this Lp makes it so powerful that it is frightening at times!
The record has been pressed on 140 gr black vinyl with black label and black inner sleeve and comes in a deluxe silver silkscreen on Fedrigoni black cardboard sleeve, limited to 199 copies w/insert on Rembrandt deluxe paper with layout by Yoshihiro Nakano. Original audio master from Denzatsu.
From Tribute to MSBR LP booklet released in November 2012 by Urashima with the precious help of some friends of the artist, to remember one of the most important figures of the Japanese noise scene:
Nothing could have been a more promptly necessary. It was my first night in Tokyo. Koji Tano wanted to take me to some big time All Japan Pro Wrestling extravaganza. I thought he mentioned something about Vader. Big Bad Vader had just regained the Triple Crown the week before. It was late. Tonight's match was sold out. Koji was sure he could still find tickets somewhere, but we went to a number of places to no avail. As we walked down the crowded streets, each shop's doorway blared forth a different loudspeaker soundtrack. One tiny tinny racket after another. The faster the walk, the faster the live editing. The slow the pace, the slower the cut up would seem. Brightly lit signage stretched downwards, plunging out from the night sky to the glowing nocturnal pavement underfoot. All the while Koji was sharing his vast knowledge of all things wrestling. He told me all kinds of things about big Giant Baba. A incapable intelligence answered all abominable fortunes. I had no idea; big time!
GX Jupitter-Larsen (Los Angeles, California – June 2012)
I first found out (as for many other artists) about MSBR and Koji through Marco Veronesi of ADN: it was 1992, if I am not wrong, and I was developing the initial ideas of my solo SSHE RETINA STIMULANTS activities...the transcendental intensity of the hyper dense sound and the materic flavor of the packaging hooked me forever...I got in touch and, besides getting release after release, we also became friends and I was honored to have a SSHE RETINA STIMULANTS/MSBR split, lathe 7" production put out by Koji himself in 1995. Our connection grew stronger year after year: we first met in Tokyo, when Koji was kind enough to come and see me very late at night, in occasion of one of my business trips. We then did together a small (3 dates) UK tour with Government Alpha in 1998 and met for the last time in 2000, when he came (with his girlfriend Niko) to Milano, where we performed again on the same bill. During all this time (and up to his tragically early death) we kept in constant touch and collaborated in many different ways (from him guesting on my SRS releases to me contributing tracks and articles / interviews for his magazine)... Koji was unique and absolutely special, mixing an extremely overwhelming vision with totally accurate crafting for his own sound creations, while delivering a monstrous cultural service for "noise based art" with his encyclopedic web site platform and his writing / publishing. On top of this, Koji was a very kind and totally pleasant person... I miss you, my friend.
P.NG5361.Bandera (Milan, Italy – April 2012)
I have to say “Good-Bye, Tano-san”. Since 1994 when I re-started my musical activity again, I had frequently met him and talked to him about music and mores. He was a mania for Manga, gamble and Neue Deutsche Welle. I am remembering the live show at the small club, which I firstly organized. Then, I invited to M.S.B.R., Pain Jerk and Incapacitants. Some label would like to release the live LP at that time, but this plan has been lost. I sometimes performed the live show with M.S.B.R., and moreover collaborated with him in live performances. They are very funny times for me and even him. In 1997(?), I firstly mini-toured to West Coast of USA with M.S.B.R., RoboChanMan and Yok. I spent very pleased time with him and US friends. Thank you, Tano-san !!! One memory: I and my wife visited Denshi-Zatsuon shop and met him in the spring of 2005, and after then, she said to me “ I looked Tano-san was very tired”. I suggest that he had already suffered from colon cancer. This time is the last that I saw him. Therefore, I have to say “Thank you very much, Tano-san!!!! Good-Bye !!!!”
Dr. Kimihide Kusafuka a.k.a. K2 (Tokyo, Japan – October 2012)
My first introduction to MSBR was via "Ultimate Ambience" LP in '92. I began corresponding and collaborating with Koji in 1993. Our first release (of several) was in '94, "Sonic Aggression". We had mutual admiration. He, Hiroshi Hasegawa, and Masami Akita were among the first Japanese artists that I was in contact with. I also had the pleasure of meeting him in Tokyo when he flew me there in 2003. At his store, he asked me to sign the wall (in his store) next to Thurston Moore's name because he said Thurston was a fan of my work too. I found it odd for anyone wanting an autograph of mine. He insisted. He made me feel special. In a genre where some like to "knock you down", Koji was loving and understanding. I was so excited, nervous, shy to meet Japanese artists that I admired and loved to listen to. He was very humble. I am honored to have met, collaborated with, and called him my friend. We are all grateful that he left behind his work to be cherished for many years to come.
Richard Ramirez (Houston, Texas – August 2012)
Sometimes, I think how Tano-san is going now. and when I listen noise stuff at my home, I think what he think of them… I liked to hear his opinion for noise. I liked his point of views for noise. He was my first friend who make noise. we used to have dinner after we met at NEdS record store. Then we told a lot about noise. so our relationship consisted of "NOISE". So, only "NOISE". but he had many hobbies. Football, Mixed Martial Arts, Cats, Manga and Pachinko etc.. Past about 6 years since he passed away. he was 44 years old at the time. Now I am 42 years old. if I died after 2 years, what should I do? what should I think? I can't imagine it. but I only know what I should make NOISE. to make NOISE what I can do it now. We can't meet Tano-san anymore. but we can consider MSBR more and more. still you can feel minds of Tano-san via MSBR. so, forever…
Yasutoshi Yoshida (Tokyo, Japan – November 2011)