This evening I was in Tower Records, of all places, going through their used CD racks. I wasn't terribly hopeful--and in the end I was proven right, given there was one Emperor live CD, one Aeternus CD, and a smattering of hair metal among tons of pop drivel. But luckily for me, I started at the other end of the racks, and one of the first things I found was Zeni Geva's Total Castration LP. YAY!!!
OK, I know I've mentioned Zeni Geva here before. I've even pointed you at mp3s hosted by Alternate Tentacles, Jello Biafra's label, which has the good taste to have released the Zeni Geva albums Desire For Agony and Freedom Bondage. (For that matter, Skin Graft Records had released their earlier album Nai-Ha, and an mp3 for the track "Autobody" is hosted on their audio page, fourth from the bottom.) But I don't think I ever attempted to describe why exactly I like Zeni Geva so damned much.
And it is hard to describe Zeni Geva's appeal, except to say that if you're tired and disgusted with the state of metal, punk, noise, or any other genre you may name, Zeni Geva may well be the tonic you need. Even Steve Albini of Big Black, whose personal motto may well be "I hate EVERYTHING," is not only a fan but their co-producer and occasional collaborator. It may help that Zeni Geva is simutaneously very Japanese in sound, both in their lyrics which are mostly in Japanese and in their sense of harmony, and yet so atypical of Japanese music, too raw, too heavy, too experimental for comparisons with other Japanese bands.
Zeni Geva founder K.K. Null was a Japanese electronic noise pioneer before "Japanoise" became trendy--and yet Zeni Geva isn't Japanoise. Zeni Geva is often championed by the punk scene both in Japan and abroad, and prefer looser arrangements and fuzzed-out guitars over more technical music--and yet they aren't punk either. The band is often compared to Godflesh in terms of how their multi-layered minimalism creates an oppressive atmosphere without relying on doom metal formulas--and yet they aren't industrial metal. The lyrics cover topics that would be familiar to any death metal fan and the music is appropriately brutal--and yet they aren't death metal, either. The songs often lock onto an odd groove that is irresistable and, dare I say it, FUN--and yet they aren't GROOVY.
In short, part of Zeni Geva's appeal is that they cannot be so easily pigeon-holed into any category. They are a very, VERY unique musical entity, and very addictive if you give them an honest listen. I know I'm hooked--I'm excited enough about them to have made this write-up after finding just one CD.
Then again, that's one more CD towards having a complete Zeni Geva collection. The only other major CDs I miss are Maximum Money Monster and All Right, You Little Bastards--and then I'm collecting extremely rare LPs, EPs, and cassettes, as well as Null's side projects and solo efforts. I already own a few of those, as is.
Being a collector is in some ways a nastier habit than writing for a blog. While spewing out one's inner thoughts on a needlessly public forum designed just for one's inner thoughts shows excessive self-importance, it won't bankrupt you the way that collecting will. That doesn't mean I'll stop doing either--especially if I can write about collecting. And if that means writing about collecting Zeni Geva CDs, I guess it can't be THAT bad of a habit. And I can quit smoking anytime. No, really.