The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Friday, August 16, 2002
XINLISUPREME

It's true, isn't it? We cannot accept the future unless it emerges from our own backyard. Chicago house? Detroit techno? Nope, give me that Tallulah Gosh blanket.

It's wrong, is it? We cannot praise an unknown quantity sufficiently to persuade you to invest in it without donating you a host of recognisable landmarks by which it can be measured.

Especially when it's been advertised on the back page of the Wire. Particularly when its UK label is Fat Cat Records. Improbably when there's a superfluous shaggy dog sleeve note imposed by Andrew Weatherall, all sub-Sturgeon slush about "shredded wires, smashed samplers, smouldering laptops and shattered zip-discs."

What do Xinlisupreme themselves (itself?) have to say? The only portion which they choose for you to interpret is printed: "all you need is love was not true. It's no easy." The very deliberate grammatical slip leads us into a self-imposed maze of multiple meanings.

Emphatically when Japanese cool sculptors Xinlisupreme release their debut CD which is resonant with futures and call it Tomorrow Never Comes. Well maybe not. Nowness is come, of course, and this is occurring now.

It's astonishing, wasn't it? You listen to the opening carcrash seconds of track one "Kyoro," fully expecting another peat-standard Keiji Haino-type overdefined in its ill definition noise ablution. You certainly do not expect it to suddenly mutate into a gleeful rock stomp, completely confident in its purpose but naturally to be unheard except by those who wish to find it. A fantastic feedback gospel which defies you to purchase that Mary Chain singles compilation instead. Carefree yet scrupulously sculpted. Pop love as you wish it was but will not admit because of what others think.

It's unrepeatable, won't it? You absorb the opening airbag two minutes of track two "Goodbye For All" and sink into assumptions that this is as far as they will go. Until everything suddenly drops out of your latent trapdoor and you are left with two piano notes and breathable space. A considerate guitar which leads more to Karoli than to Keiji. There is dub, drum and bass is suggested but never underlined - as with all architecturally great music, you have to acknowledge and reside in the spaces.

It's holy, can't it? Could be. Your jaw slacks at the hermetic hypnoticism of track four, my favourite track, "All You Need Is Love Was Not True." Well, we knew that already from Patrick McGoohan (Prisoner final episode) and Neubauten (the arresting climax of 1993's Tabula Rasa), but this song gently yet firmly chides, its gigantic chord progression leading you to deliverance over its eight sacred minutes. The voice is mixed indistinctly yet still sounds as though it's emanating from your inner ear. Sonic distance is a major consideration of this group.

It's priaptic, shouldn't it? An anthem reaches you at track seven "Under a Clown" - a historically ecstatic damn you wrench of a rocker which reabsorbs the adrenalin the Hives neglected to include.

It's transcendental, admit it. The imperious serenity of track eight "Amaryllis" - a filtered, semi-backward, fully dreamt emotionscape of tundras, good enough for Selected Ambient Works 2. Listen to how the live drums subtly but ultimately decidedly play against and then supersede the stuttering rhythm loop. Miss Smilla blows steam out of her carriage window. Looks for the blood on the snow.

It's My Bloody Valentine, own it. It had to come. Track nine "You Died in the Sea." Yes, this is the drum-and-bass/warp-pop anagram Kevin Shields was threatening to unleash on us circa '93/4. This is what it would have sounded like, no doubt about it. The d&b underlay gracefully and inevitably gives way to an acknowledgement of that other group of operatives you are daring me not to mention -

Joy Division

- whose "Heart and Soul" rhythm hyperventilates with Ed Rush at his most focused to begin the fragment which is track ten "Untitled" before some James "Blood" Ulmer guitar wiggery quickly leads it out the back door.

It's beautiful, glorify it. The epic 12-minute climax, track eleven "Fatal Sisters Opened Umbrella." The nearest thing here to a straightforward pop song/rock anthem (as if it could ever have been or were to be), it betrays its doubt admirably as the luminous guitar/synth refrain - such grace in the middle of such apparent turbulence - is slowly absorbed into icebergs of feedback and atonality. The expression of deliverance, comparable with the closing moments of Centipede's Septober Energy when all 55 musicians slowly pull out of the "Hey Jude"-style refrain and explode intimately -

into contemplation

- as occurs on the twelfth track "Untitled Song." A kabuki soundtrack. They are considering. A graceful end? But no, the noises, the madness, come back in and reclaim your doubt with finality. It ends uncertainly, which is reassuring because it means there will be more.

This is Loveless where you would have desired MBV to go. It is waiting to embrace you. If only you will let it.


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