The Molecules Morokyu (Sento)
Morokyu, I'm told, is an approximation of how the Japanese pronounce this Oakland-based trio's name, which makes the title appropriate for a host of reasons. For starters, the disk is on a Japanese label, and Boredoms members/Molecules fans Eye Yamatsuka and Yamamoto contribute dadaist comic illustrations and adulating liner notes to its packaging.
Like Japan's fringe musicians, the Molecules (guitarist Ron Anderson, bassist Chris Millner and drummer Thomas Scandura) scarf up a smorgasbord of genres -- from prog rock, No Wave and free improv skronk to punk, thrash and funk -- then spew forth half-digested globs of sound vaguely reminiscent of everything and nothing (imagery inspired by track 10, entitled "Sonic Puke"). In addition, this third Molecules CD sports some strong Japanoise influences: Boredoms-style herk n' jerk abound, as do flourishes of noise collage reminiscent of effects abusers like Merzbow, and "Pissing Off Our Heroes" pays homage to the falsetto shrieks and double-barrelled attack of the Tokyo tag team Ruins.
Not to insinuate that the Molecules are trying to co-opt the current fascination with Japanese musical marginalia or reduce them to some musical Moulinex. The Molecules are a creative unit all their own, and Morokyu is by far their strongest, most intriguing release yet. It's paradoxically both more diverse musically and cohesive thematically than previous efforts, and less flippant, sophomoric and antagonistic to boot. Describing specific tracks is kind of pointless; suffice to say all 24 offer something provocative.
Incidentally, bassist Millner left the band shortly after these recordings, and after months of searching for a replacement, the Molecules have recruited a guy named Ryo, reportedly an ace musician who fits right in to their Molecular formula. He's from Japan, of course.
The Molecules play a CD release party Friday, Nov. 18, at the Thirsty Swede, 1821 Haight St, S.F. Call 221-9008. -Mike Rowell