Photo courtesy of Drag City
The Japanese are so busy freaking out over our shit they almost forgot to come up with any new shit of their own. From Tokyo's Gunguro girls with their fake tans, bleached hair, and California dreams to the bukkake perverts with their plates of cum and German porn proclivities, it seems any Japanese person who doesn't get crazy obsessed with something gets stuck playing the role of either an overworked and sex-hungry businessman or a useless housewife. We do, however, find occasional exceptions to this rule, and once in a while some Japanese stuff will stand up and actually call us out on our shit. Like the band Ghost. "Yeah, Japanese people are sometimes so crazy about things," says long-tressed frontman Batoh Masaki. "They're too methodical. But what about the U.S. music fans and their latest nonsense about peace, love, and happiness? All of a sudden, I'm getting emails every day from all of these people. They're talking about being hippies, and they want to come over here to stay at our ‘commune.' What's this about?" What it's all about is that Ghost are so trippy that they aren't even hippies, and their sound is some full-blown, brain-fading, ephemeral goodness. But over the past couple of years we Americans have become way too psyched for psych. We even went so far as to throw Heidi Klum up on the H&M billboards dressed up like she was old mother acid or something. And it's annoying the shit out of Batoh, who thinks that to label a style or sound restricts its growth. "You need to be able to choose freedom any time. To hitchhike and smoke pot and wear tie-dye is only a trend. To some of our listeners, our songs may be magical," he goes on. "For others, it's just gas for their latest obsession. But our music is more like a living thing without shape. We don't make it. It's born from inside." Sometimes it's a distorted and hazy breech birth, like Hawkwind at their most fucked, and sometimes Ghost's music comes out smooth, like Jefferson Airplane flutes wrapped in poppy jam band-ages. Whatever it is, it's always good enough to make trend-obsessed Americans act like a bunch of obsessive Japanese people that just don't get it. Hypnotic Underworld is out now on Drag City.