If there’s one word to describe The Gerogerigegege it would be “incomprehensible.” Their albums always challenge their audience while perhaps poking a little fun. Tokyo Anal Dynamite consisted of 75 songs in roughly 40 minutes all beginning with the song title and a shouted “ONE TWO THREE FOUR!” while 1988’s Showa book-ended the Japanese National Anthem around a lengthy recording of two people having sex. These are perhaps minor when compared to the ridiculous stage presence of Juntaro Yamanouchi and Tetsuya Endoh, which would often involve full nudity, masturbation, cross dressing, and eating shit on stage. So with all that in mind it’s a little shocking to hear one of their earliest recordings, their self-titled in fact, and find something far different.
Gerogerigegege sounds like a perfect document of how Japanoise found its way in the 80s and eventually refined itself a decade later. This album reminds me of looking at a solar eclipse through a pinhole, or hearing a brutally loud concert from outside the venue. The noise feels removed, giving the sense of hearing something so overwhelming that we’re only making out a faint approximation. It never reaches the harsh peaks of Merzbow or Masonna, and instead achieves a haziness that borders on hypnotic. Rhythms, riffs, and the occasional distant screaming blur in and out of focus throughout these six lengthy tracks to create a constantly shifting soundscape. What can often be overlooked after all the craziness was that Juntaro (missing and presumed dead for nearly a decade now) had a tremendous stylistic range and this eponymous album is a testament to that.