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té “Oto no Naka no ‘Keiren Teki’ na Bi wa, Kannen wo Koe Nikutai ni Otozureru Yasei no Senritsu”

by Shawn Despres

Special To The Japan Times

Since debuting with its 2005 full-length album, “Naraba, Imi kara Kaiho Sareta Hibiki wa ‘Oto’ Sekai no Shinen wo Kataru,” Tokyo-based instrumental-rock group té has given its subsequent records (and track titles) similarly lengthy names. Former bassist Masahiro Watanabe was the man behind the gimmick, always making album titles 29 kanji characters long and song names 30 characters long. And while Watanabe parted ways with the group in 2010, té has kept his legacy alive with its latest effort, “Oto no Naka no ‘Keiren Teki’ na Bi wa, Kannen wo Koe Nikutai ni Otozureru Yasei no Senritsu” (which translates loosely as “The ‘Convulsion’-like Beauty in the Sound Transcends the Immaterial and Visits Upon the Body like a Wild Shudder.”)

Billed as an EP, the 53-minute-long offering includes three studio cuts and nine live selections. The title track starts with ambient sounds of bleeps, static and dripping water before a wave of blistering guitar chords burst from the speakers. Flirting with posthardcore early on, it builds into a beautiful, cinematic postrock landscape. Forging a more experimental path, the third song shifts between dark electronica mixed with math rock and uplifting waves of guitar-driven shimmering postrock.

While consistently strong on disc, té is much more powerful on stage. This makes the concert material a real treat for longtime fans. Captured last June at Tokyo’s Club Quattro, the fantastic set features high-energy cuts from each of the group’s four albums. Electronic noodling and cheers usher in the explosive live opener “Ningen wa Jiyuuna Mono Toshite Umare, Itaru Tokoro de ‘Kusari’ ni Tsunagarete Iku.” A mass clapalong by the audience and guitarist Hirotoshi Kuroda leading an “oi” chant make the tightly wound “Kotoba wo Mochiite Kanaderu Mono wa Sainou ni Arazu, Tada no Kioku ni ‘Su’ Ginu” even more dynamic and leaves little doubt why té is one of Japan’s top-tier instrumental acts.