Tenshi No Gijinka album cover
Tenshi No Gijinka

Keiji Haino


This album, on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, is one of Keiji Haino’s most fascinating releases. It consists of nine untitled pieces for percussion and voice — Haino bashes cymbals, strikes frame drums, and rings bells of various sizes, while grunting and chanting. But what makes it great, and unique in his catalog, is that it’s not a set of one-take improvisations. Zorn, serving as producer, gets him to overdub a second layer of vocals on several tracks, moaning in an upper-register cry as he expels his poetry. The effect is haunting, disorienting, and astonishingly beautiful. Don’t skip this album because you think it’ll be quiet and boring. It’s riveting.

Phil Freeman

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