When I think about the most potent psychedelic rock, there’s a counterbalance at play. As well as the visceral drive that powers the ascension into space, there’s a sense of submission – freewheeling into the momentum, coasting upon the waves of phaser and echo. Human muscle is the spark, but after a while a celestial takes over – the rhythmic return feels effortless, self-renewing, pushing the limbs round as they run blissfully slack. Yet with Suzuki Junzo, I hear someone breaking down the barriers of consciousness via brute force. Here’s a musician that has no intention of negotiating with the powers beyond. Instead, these tracks shunt themselves forward through earthly grit alone, jangling and crackling through the grill of tattered amplifiers, lugging themselves over cobbled drums or the merciless Sahara of beatlessness. On Shizuka Na Heya De Ashioto Wa, enlightenment is a bloody and unglamorous thing.
Take “Stomping Silver Darling”: a swung strummed riff, a boxed firework of a guitar solo. That’s it. No rhythmic reenforcements arrive to bolster the onward motion, and the two guitars don’t need them anyway. After all, the propulsion resides in that violent plectrum attack. Junzo doesn’t strum through the strings, but into them – pushing against the tension until they ping back, causing each string to buzz in complaint as each attack brings them closer to snapping. Meanwhile, the track itself is slowly caving in; pedal fuzz compounds into a thick sediment, squeezing out all melodic intent, slowly reducing the music to an ugly overdriven signal. In fact, all of the tracks reach this dead-end of fuzz and vigorous jangling, and instead of flowering outward beyond the bodily limits – as per the M.O. for psychedelia elsewhere – the album grabs hold of the edges of the universe and pulls it inward, shrinking everything down into a scrunched, unstable mass of lactic acid and failure. It’s all there is.