Saturday, December 26, 2009

MARDIGRAS - Gaia CD (199?)


Gaia CD (199?)


03. EURO
04. GAIA

Hiroki Okano (vocals, computer programming, manipulator)
Masaaki Tano (drums)
Tatsuhiro (voice, guitar, metal percussion)
mu-U (keyboards, wind instruments)
Kyuma (guitar)

Released: 199?
Label: Night Gallery
Catalogue number: UKCR-1005
Format: CD

Lenght: 18:32
Bitrate: 320 kbps

Probably released around the same time as the "Changes" flexi, this minialbum turned out to be the last recorded output from MARDIGRAS. This was put out by the famous Night Gallery label (who also released DEAD END's debut LP) and distributed by UK Project (whose subsidary Zazzle Records was the home of some of the most intriguing new wave/VK-yet-not-quite bands of the day).

Starting off the album is "UNBALANCED WORLD", a surprisingly rockist tune considering it's mainly synthesized orchestration. The out of character rock-a-rolla verses do have a slightly off-putting effect, at least to these ears, but I'll let it slide, taking the utterly charming sturm und drang of the bridge and refrain into consideration.

Next up is "TRANSMISSION", and yes indeed - it IS a cover of the Joy Division classic. Hiroki Okano does quite a good job at channeling the spirit of Ian Curtis (although filtered through the bombastic delivery of David Sylvian), although in the hands and arrangement of MARDIGRAS the tune is transformed from its death-dirge roots into something infinitely more danceable. Indeed, the line "Dance, dance, dance!/Dance to the radio" comes through as positively dionysian when compared to the bleak delivery of the original. At the risk at being though of as completely tasteless, I have to confess that I actually do prefer this slicker, more driven version of the song to the original ...the latter always struck me as somewhat limp and hamfisted (although I can't deny that the main riff in its simplicity is a great work of songwriting).

Breaking off from the fist-pumping forward momentum of the previous two songs (and subsequent one) is the formless experimentalism of "EURO" - a strange melange of operatic vocals, synth-blurts, pseudo-musique concrete, church choirs and such. A pretentious affair for sure, but it does do the trick of adding some variety to the record and thus tying it together.

Closing of the album in a most grandiose manner is the larger-than-life "GAIA". Barring the first few seconds of cheesy doodles (thankfully ripped apart by a blood-curling shriek of harmonics), the monumental track we're presented with here reaches dizzying heights of epicness with its marriage of guitar-pyrotechnics to a chugging metronomic beat. For all it's arena-synth aspirations and life-and-death vocal stylings, "GAIA" somehow manages to avoid falling into the abyss of embarrasing portentousness. Rather, the colossal emotions it strives to express feel genuinely heartfelt. Definitely the zenith of MARDIGRAS' production.

Finally, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to inxxane for originally hipping me up to this incredible band. Huge thanks, man!


Ikebukuro said...

Ilove the cover!!!!

Carddass said...

The cover is definitely catchy and upbeat. And Tano went from making the classic Dead Line album to doing this. I wonder what he was up to inbetween?

filipovic said...

You're welcome (it's me, although this is a different login). The only reason I even have this flexi is because it was offered to me in a batch of other things, so even though my musical interests are far from what Mardigras produces i'm so glad it ended up here!

The butterfly effect is real!

Aionism said...

This is pretty good.

Release date: 1990/10/25? -
Maybe 10/28...

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