Album cover Destination Tokyo - Nisennenmondai
Destination TokyoNisennenmondai7/10

Nisennenmondai - Destination Tokyo

6 May 2009 macron1

The never ending quest to source fresh/modern Japanoise of Nisennenmondai is one that is full of long pauses, surprise and disappointment, mostly due to their stuff being so seemingly difficult to obtain outside of Japan. A chance encounter with a new/recent release from the trio, Destination Tokyo, so soon after the last tantalizing morsel, accordingly requires careful consideration.

Possibly taking its name from the 1943 Cary Grant movie (wait a minute what? they made movies in 1943? WHAT ABOUT WWII!!!!?), Destination Tokyo is solid collection of progressive psychedelic/experimental instrumental noise/math, the main feature of whose is the evolution of Nisennenmondai's sound, especially when compared to the previously reviewed Neji/Tori. While the latter feels like more of anthology of their material covering an extended period, Destination Tokyo sees the ladies take a definite turn toward the DIY/experimental math rock region occupied by the likes of Battles and perhaps Tera Melos, lending to more of an "album" feel about the collection (in so much as an album can be comprised of 4 tracks + a nonsense pitch-shifted vocal interpretation of one of the other tracks on the album).

The most striking feature of Destination Tokyo is that the bands influences have progressed from those heard in Neji/Tori, in particular the influence of bands they have shared the stage with in the recent past is apparent. Tracks "Disco" and "Mirrorball" contain precise, sequenced guitar loops, al la Battles, while "Souzousuru Neji" features a rumbling bass line over clanging guitar that sounds as if it could disintegrate at any time, not too dissimilar to parts of Lightning Bolt.

"Mirrorball" is one of the finest moments on the album, a 12 minute opus that begins with a chirpy intro covered in the previous track "Miraabouru", upon which layers of angular bass and various other chirps (apologies for the frequent use of "chirp", though I assure you if you listen you would struggle for a more apt adjective) are then progressively ... laid, gradually building to produce a cacophonic odyssey that in parts features what sounds like a saxophone and by the end of which sounds as if 20 people are playing together (there may well be but I assume they are still a three piece outfit). Overall, Destination Tokyo does not sound perhaps as abrasive/harsh as some of the earlier stuff found on Neji/Tori.

The fact that Destination Tokyo contains only 5 tracks while clocking in at over 40 minutes means there is plenty of building and twists and turns over each track that lend to more of a drifty experience than previous work, particularly in the eponymous track. However this is not to suggest a lack of focus within the tracks or of the band as a whole, and with the likes of "Souzousuru Neji" sounding as if it would not be out of place on the earlier Neji/Tori (and indeed having an eerily similar name to the album itself), Destination Tokyo serves to illustrate the diversity and skill of Nisennenmondai that might at first listen not be apparent, cementing them as one of the most interesting instrumental groups at this time.

Sardless Tracks

  • Mirrorball
  • Disco
  • Destination Tokyo

Track Listing

  1. Souzousuru Neji
  2. Disco
  3. Miraabouru
  4. Mirrorball
  5. Destination Tokyo