Sunday, December 17, 2006

Karuna Khyal - "Alomoni 1985" {Japan} [1976] (Kraut Rock/Prog Rock)

Track listing
• Side A
1. Karuna Khyal 1 (24:32)
• Side B
2. Karuna Khyal 2 (22:30)

Alomoni 1985 is a long lost artefact from the underground Japanese scene during the mid '70s. The album was release privately by Voice records around 1976 and re- released on Paradigm Discs in 1998, limited to 500 hand numbered records. There is very little known about the group; band members and production information are both unknown. Around the same time ('75) the group released another album under a different name Debon by Brast Burn which act as a perfect pair to this album.

Over the last decade many rumours about the band have been circulating the Japanese Psychedelic underground scene who owes a huge debt to Karuna Khyal in all their oddities. Although hailing from Japan their influences are mainly drawn from the German Kraut rock scene, following in the foot steps of greats such as Faust, Guru Guru and Can, alongside large influences from the bluesy rock played by Hapshash & The Coloured Coat and Captain Beefheart. Throughout the vocals are not dissimilar to Damo Suzuki hysterics; mumbled and sometimes screamed in insanity. Their overall sound is defined by their raw primitive bluesy sound, wealths of tape manipulation, plenty of mouth organ, electronic sounds, electrifying jam sessions, crazy vocals… all packaged up nicely into two lengthy composition.

Contain only two full blown psychedelic trip clocking in just short of 50 minutes this album will leave you strung out pleading for your sanity back. Each song is structured up on hypnotic rhythms, which is surprising considering the lack of drums in the album. In short this is one of the most addictive albums I have ever listened to. This one will be put on repeat for days at a time, unable to bring myself to stop the immense pleasure I receive from listening to this album.

The first piece "Karuna Khyal part 1" is a connection of smaller pieces fused together to produce one large song. In most cases an amazing flow between the pieces is found throughout. Imagine Captain Beef heart's Minor man slowing down to about half pace counteracted by other worldly ambience built up via haunting tap loops and frightening side guitar work. Unfortunately this track can loose its footings at times spoiling the overall effortless flow of the song. The only thing I can say about the second song "Karuna Khyal part 2" is Perfection. This is of the most electrifying psychedelic/ experimental music I have heard. The madness only intensifies from here on in, reminding me somewhat of Hapshash & The Coloured Coat's early material. I cannot describe this track with words; it is something you have to listen to believe.

This was one of my first introductions into the Japanese scene and holds a dear place in my heart. This is not to say it was love at first site, it was a tedious experience coming to terms with the genius of this album. At first there seemed little point or direction to this album, but with each listen you will piece together new links. I cannot stress enough time is something this album needs.

Unfortunately I cannot award Alomoni 1985 with a five star rating like I would if the album was solely "Karuna Khyal part 2". I can find too many faults in the first song to confidently give this a masterpiece status. Highly recommended especially to fanatic Kraut rock and Japanese psychedelic fans. ~Review by Black

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