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  Auspicious Winds  
  Yume Bitsu  
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Yume Bitsu means "dream beats" in Japanese. The band is from Oregon, not Japan, and as far as i can tell they are not ethnically Japanese. Still, it's a cool name and an adequate description of the long droning music the band makes.

This is an interesting album. All of the tracks are really nicely done. Let's take a look at the songs, and how they flow together.

Things start off most auspiciously with 5 minutes of chiming guitar in the song The Wedding Procession. A voice floats in, and then drums lightly start playing. The song lilts and floats on a sea of delayed guitars and then, suddenly, it just EXPLODES. Noise. Loud distorted guitars. Lotsa cymbals and drums. The song gets louder and louder and yet somehow, the melody persists underneath the sheer weight of instrumentation. When it ends, i am left exhausted at the sheer energy of the song, and yet oddly refreshed at the same time.

After The Wedding Procession fades out, i hear the sound of rain coming from the CD. A rushing cymbal rolls by, and then guitars chime through. This song drones on with guitars, sparse drumming, and beating on woodblocks, which gives it a vaguely Japanese feel. It is a nice ambient relaxing song.

And then suddenly the guitars become a wall of fuzz and a voice sings "Sharp, Twisted. Disguised by pain..." I am shocked out of the ambient drone-induced reverie. I look around, confused, where did this indie pop song come from? Oh well, rolling with it, it takes me on a rollercoaster ride of buzzing guitars and thunderous drums.

The fuzzy pop of Sharp, Twisted fades out as suddenly as it started, and i am back in the ambient drone world, this time drifting through a song called Mothmen Meet The Council Of Frogs, which sounds like a b-grade sci-fi film. This is a long, ponderous song of constant drone. In the background are eerie little sounds -- descending chords and wierd vocal bits. It leaves me vaguely uneasy. This is the weakest song on the album, but it is not bad by any sense. It is just not as good as its disc-mates.

This drone fades into the next drone, called Into The Hole. Guitars chime over a wall of fuzz. Vocals weave in and out. Eventually it builds to a distorted noise frenzy. Not as fast and furious as the one that ended The Wedding Procession, but respectable.

So those are the songs, and the order that they are in. It's not the order i would have chosen, given these tunes to work with. I find a few weaknesses in the track listing. And the track listing is important to me.

You see, one of my hobbies is making Mix Tapes. I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my stereo, listening and taping, compiling songs for friends, enemies, and the occasional stranger. When i do this i place a lot of emphasis on the song order -- i want a mix to flow appropriately. Track order is very important in conveying mood. I can only assume that musicians do the same when tracking their albums.

In which case, i don't really get the mood of this album. Oh, sure, each of the songs on it is brilliantly done, and they flow together okay, but i cannot determine an overall mood that is being conveyed. The album flows from explosive exhaustion to relaxation to rock to drone to loud drone. That takes me nowhere. I am left feeling as if the album ended suddenly. I want more. What i usually do is go back and listen to The Wedding Procession again. It gives me the closure i desire.

And that's my complaint about this album -- it doesn't give me catharsis. In Lit class in college i learned that catharsis comes at the end (of a play, which is the only place Lit Professors think emotional purging can occur) so that you get a sense of completion. Of ending. I think that's why such albums as Cocteau Twins' Heaven Or Las Vegas and Sonic Youth's Washing Machine end with such explosions of sound (Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fire and The Diamond Sea respectively). In all fairness i think that Yume Bitsu were trying to do the same thing here, it is just that they chose the weaker of the two songs to do it with. I would have ended with The Wedding Procession rather than Into The Hole. It does the job better.

But you know, that's a relatively minor complaint. On the whole this is a strong album. Fans of guitar mastery will enjoy it much.

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