MANI NEUMEIER & KAWABATA MAKOTO
A damn good one-million-euro question: Who was the first German musician to have his likeness displayed at the Tokyo Wax Museum? Answer: Mani Neumeier, founder and drummer of the legendary Krautrock band Guru Guru. And how come? Simple: The Japanese simply have fine taste in music. Not only are they the most enthusiastic classical music listeners, they're also wild about Teutonic avant-garde rock (aka Krautrock) – which is no better embodied by anyone than by Mani Neumeier.
The affinity, by the way, is based on reciprocity. Ever since 1996, the same year his wax figure was inaugurated, when he toured through the country for the first time with Guru Guru, Neumeier has been so enthusiastic about Japan that he journeys there at least once a year. The following year he performed there with the Damo Suzuki Network. Later he was usually traveling solo, seeking out the best improvisational musicians that Japan had to offer to take part in his concerts.
Some of these musicians told him of a completely freaked-out guitarist. He was the wildest of them all – in other words, exactly the right thing for Mani Neumeier. Kawabata Makoto was his name, and he was/is the head of the band Acid Mothers Temple. Neumeier had already played together with their bassist, Tsuyama Atsushi, and to satisfy Neumeier's curiosity, Tsuyama arranged a concert. That was in 2006. The three harmonized perfectly: The chemistry was right and they brewed up a massive storm. They sensed that they had created a mighty psychedelic monster and called it Acid Mothers Guru Guru. A year later they completed a ten-day whirlwind tour of the United States, where they were met with wild applause. During each of the four tours of Japan that have followed so far, they have also been celebrated in packed concert halls every time.
But Mani Neumeier also very much enjoys playing as a duo, so he organized numerous concerts just for himself and Kawabata. The desire soon emerged to record a CD in the studio with just the two of them. The result is SAMURAI BLUES: High-grade psychedelic improvisations by two absolutely unrestricted professionals. With their tempestuous guitars and thundering drums, Neumeier and Kawabata demonstrate just what is possible in acid rock in 2011.
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