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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Acid Mothers Temple: 3-2-1, blastoff for space

June 08, 2004|Steve Hochman | Special to The Times

Ever since the '70s space-rock peak of bands such as Can and Neu, the genre has been referenced by key artists from PiL to Sonic Youth. But none has done so with as much commitment and distinction (and humor) as Japan's Acid Mothers Temple has since the mid-'90s.

Spaceland's space was definitely the place for these Rising Sun Ras on Sunday, as devoted members of the band's cult gathered for the first of the group's two L.A. area displays of the art of post-psychedelic freakout.

If there was any twinge of disappointment when the first piece lasted just five minutes, reassurance came as the following excursions hit double-digit time spans, mixing synth ululations by Higashi Hiroshi and the signature six-string mania of leader Kawabata Makoto. It peaked with "Pink Lady Lemonade," which that took a genteel riff and then ran it through interstellar overdrive for a full 45 minutes.

Actually, AMT's music was a little more planted Sunday than it sometimes can be, in part perhaps due to the recent departure of founding member Cotton Casino, whose airy vocals and swooping synthesizer once took the band into the deepest (and sometimes most delicate) reaches of space. The remaining quartet focused largely on the tougher (and extremely loud) side of its moon.

Put these guys on the jam-heavy Bonnaroo festival and they would blow the audience away.

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