sábado, 20 de enero de 2024

INTERVIEW with KIKANJU BAKU, drummer and self-taught percussionist. The thin line between free jazz, noisecore and experimentation

Español/Spanish translation is also available.


 "I was always drumming on things. Surfaces, body parts, dogs, cutlery, glossal percussion & dumb kid mouth beats ... anything I was given or could grab. First drum set at six."

Rabid dog behind the kit, faceless explosive warrior, ADHD blast freak. Blending a really particular self taught approach to drums and percusion, working and bursting between free jazz and noise/noisecore and experimental territories. Enthusiast outlaw with a DIY ethos and guerrilla aproach to most of his self-releases.

KIKANJU BAKU has taken part in and with many different bands and musical genres: NABEG, BOLLOCK SWINE, REFORESTER, KUTTEKOP, KIKANJU BAKU & CITIZENS OF NOWHERE... or as an intermitent collaborator with ROSCOE MITCHELL (Art Ensemble of Chicago, AACM) for more than a decade. The list is too long to narrow it down or define it.



"w’ tym i’ is there mhaaan???" - All pics by Kikanju Baku



> You started on 1999 and now run different labels: Lofi Or Die Records, Erstwhile Antrum, Ethnicity Against the Error, Tetsubishi Gob-Stopper, Basayev Inductions…

Also, what happened with the Gore Beyond Necropsy release that Discogs (if the information is true) says it’s a bootleg?

Yes! It was a bootleg cdr of sold out GBN 7”s, but even more so – it was a bootleg - of a bootleg!

There was a label called Tomas Canceras Recs, ostensibly running out of Bolivia, that did CDR compilations of out of print grind/noisecore 7” material. A GBN title they issued christened Noisexcretass Asshole had come into our possession via trading with the drummer from New York Against the Belzabu in Brazil, who I think was actually running the label incognito?

This was somewhere around 1998-2000, so recall that there is no Discogs, e-bay, Bandcamp, Spottify, Big Cartel, Facebook, Myspace, Instagram or any kind of streaming service etcetera.

I would have been about 11-13 at the time & had been getting into the fractured international noisegrind/noisecore subculture by buying & trading using email & postal mail.

It was full of heterodox customs like split releases, vinyl (considered a defunct & discontinued medium at the time), CDRs, home dubbed cassettes & the remnants of “tape trading” which was just becoming obsolescent. I assumed that amalgam tape/cdr editions of sold out/unavailable releases was just another accepted facet of the noisecore/grindcore sub-current & approved etiquette.

I had also tried to contact GBN a few times, including sending some tape material & letters direct, but I never received any kind of response.

My interface expertise & technical proficiency was bilge at the time, so we just literally rearranged the tracks from the Bolivian bootleg in some burn shareware …. a fucking bootleg of a bootleg!!!

we did of course lavish it with way better art, conditioned to the mien & style of the GBN releases, which we all had original, paid-for copies of cos’ we were avid fans.

The mf was a bitch to cut-out & glue together, & the CD-surface had a sticker strip that we lifted from those supplied in blank-tapes that then had an individual colour logo hand-drawn for each disc with uni-balls. The funny thing is that it became quite a cult title in itself …. we only did about x130 or summit’, & I regret that I don’t even have a personal copy now.

We wrote to Akinobu again sometime afterwards with paragon adolescent naivety saying that we should send over copies & what not, but once again, zero reply from that ol’ some’ bitch.

It is definitely worth declaring that we distributed, bought & spread a lot of GBN shit throughout Europe & the US back in the day. A lot! Much of there stuff would not get over here & into distros because some labels that put out GBN releases did not trade. We took no issue with having to buy them wholesale, stuffing converted currency into the back of CD trays & flipping it airmail, so we were often the sole distributor this side for their vinyl releases. We got a lot of GBN titles disseminated over here & elsewhere.

The climate of interest around Grind/Noise at the time in the UK was pathetic, with almost no awareness or traction for anything like noisegrind, or related crazy shit, or buying from small independent distros. I think GBN wise (beside the Relapse release) it was just really us & the guy from Sterilized Decay who was a very dedicated individual & early bird (we were all preceded by Psycho Mania o’er in azami land)

A fucking bootleg of a bootleg yo!




> When it comes to bands and projects: Bollock Swine, Citizens of Nowhere, Foju Frequency, Kuttepop, Law Facilities Crime, Melanin Momentum, Menstrum Mantics, Nabeg, Ray Man Trio… I know that there may be more, but would you mind telling us some differences or what they have in common? You are always coming up with stuff… :)

Is there any particular reason -when it comes to releasing- or difference between them?

Core directive - uncharted uninhibited utmost - an obsession, perhaps even a crusade, with “intensification”, using the most extreme/volatile substances available - to create a standard, culture, discipline, “genres” & capacity - to push it ever, ever further into ultra-absurdities.

Sonically speaking - it needed to be as extreme as possible … further than anything else, in the literalist of empirical senses.

One of the central features of the laboratory is Gunk & No-Skool-Noyzcore - Noisecore/Noisegrind that goes far beyond the standard, by people that practice/train & take it seriously, & are always trying to invent & induce an intensification or expansion of extremes, damage, severity, ridiculousness, hysterics … not looking backwards or trying to reprograph.

sui generis.

Almost nobody does that, as noisecore is largely treated & practised as a kind of rhetorical statement/prank, or a “fuck the world” fashion accessory where being shit, lacking ability & mocking effort is encouraged, which is also an ideal backup justification for playing weak-as-fuck material without vigour or commitment (“it’s not supposed to sound good!”/”we’re not trying!”).

There needed to be a way to distinguish & declare distance, & demarcate a contrasting intention & condition, because noisecore/noisegrind just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Hard scrambling ... I am all over the place.

It is too eclectic & garbled, especially once you engage with EA which requires a fuckin’ essay or some such.

But an overly-simplified adumbration aggregate -

LOD, TGS & BI are sorta’ essentially the same contiguum – weapons grade, full contact No-Skool-Noyzcore, Scour Histrionics, Hard-Vacuum, Blastcore, Gunk, Blurcore, Flensecore & ultra-peak, primary or paragon harsh noise mangle. Gratecore, Noisegrind overly outrageous variations concerning Speedcore, Glitch, Breakcore - or their most destructive components or spillover - & other anomalies & “suffocatingly original” rare strains in - “severe, grievous, obstreperous, mordant” - malfunctions & mutations in surrealist futurism & supra-deformities.

Ethnicity Against the Error is illicitly radical Avant & Free Jazz - arcane, ethno, curio, peregrinism & well planned raids into terra incognita.

> As for musical “genres”, it seems that you’ve coined some of them. Is it cheap talk or is there some meaning or definition behind them?

Yuh! - These are certified distinctions & divaricative skewings, or otherwise unheard of transmogrifications & evolutionary extension on existing formulas. & some of them are not just radical elaborations but entire new genres, definitely.

Flensecore (alternately called Apoplexy) came out of the NABEG operations – a new descriptive was required to capture the turbulence & severity of such extreme - & successful – experimentation that had clearly manifested as an independent genre.

NABEG strictly avoids any of the classic grind/blast/extreme metal/standard-noisecore drum themes & patterns or inter alia conventions – they are all prohibited & an entirely new language/approach was executed.

Phosphorous Funk – this was a radical reinvention of hard funk – most notably through some very tricky & inventive time signatures, displaced beats, hyper ghost-notation & contrapuntal application etc. it also bore the ingredient/influence of the post hip-hop era, meaning that the sampled results/aesthetics that emerged from rap/hop-hop (early 90s especially) were a schema we liked to work with & elongate.

We called it “Phosphorus” cos’ the idea was it would funk so fuckin’ hard it would burn a mothafuckur!

Glyph-Hop was instrumental interpretations of the aforementioned sample-based rap beats/production taken to further extravagance on live instruments. The “glyph” being something you had to figure-out or that was very complex or hyper-quirky, but still sloshed.

Gratecore – this was an extreme innovation within Grindcore (the real shit! not the Metalic substandard). You can hear a lot of it materializing on Law Facilitates Crime’s “Thought Encryption” EP & my project 走り抜く<Hashirinuku> ... - hard to explain, there are very specific fundamentals & dynamics that create greater extremity/damage/impact - but contractions, off-beats, extra punctuation(s), pushed velocities, …. it is a discipline of “extra impetus” – the end result is just much more intense, much more dynamic & much more Grind/Grate.

The Z-Beat modus that I created also – you use buzz-rolls/doubles/triplets within the D & C beat to create more pressure but also much more detail & pivot, which also often leads to subdivision & displacement - “compounded damage” ….. good grind/gratecore should be like good boxing.

No-Skool-Noyzcore - I explained in a previous question - Noisecore by people that take it seriously & are not aiming to replicate or rip-off but originate & veer. Gunk is the same, but Gunk has to have a live drummer, that is the distinction of the term.

You also have - Drill n’ Waste, Farrago, Poise Spore, RiotGear, Fray, Advanced Fracture, Scour Histrionics, Gunk, Hard-Vacuum, Abnorm, Apoplexy, Scolopendra, Gush Gyna, Harlequin Haze Hop, … probably some other shit too? Delta vortex outermost.

it is also worth citing the phrases User-Hostile & Anti-Listener … they are more standards or condition – but an ethic that I run with/pioneer in many projects & playing.

& of course – the “blurbeat” – “tatsumaki”/竜巻 which I invented.

> Considering that you run different labels, write in the blog and so on, have you run a fanzine, printed publications or taken part in any of it?

No, never. I contribute research/intel to journalists & some publications (newspapers/blogs), but no fanzines. I was interviewed for a fanzine some years back, but it was considered to controversial by the editor, so they pulled it.