Somewhere back in September, Sky Lantern Records posted a piece on the Japanese ‘Spacy Drone Neo Psychedelic duo’ Tolchock, and on first listen I was immediately hooked.
The 3 track digital album, ‘After Fog Open’ by Taku Idemoto and Shoko Yoshida became a constant companion.
‘After Fog Open’ kicks off with the 19 minute sprawling epic that is ‘Behind The Ground’, a slow burning fuse of an exercise in sonic experimental drone layering. An aural kaleidoscopic feast, restlessly folding and unfolding, merging, colliding, rippling and tumbling. This is a masterclass in building and sustaining chilled-out tension, it is a testament to the excellence of the track that after 19 minutes you are still left longing for more.
‘Circle Leaf’ clocking in at a mere 7 minutes continues the ethereal groove and is no less hypnotically soothing. At the core, beating heart of what is termed psychedelic music, is the ability to transport the listener – ‘Circle Leaf’ will carry you off, and you won’t even realise it until it has brought you back again.
Closing track, ‘Black Modern Session Live’ is yet another diverse, cacophonous uncharted drone expedition through the psyche. It reaches it’s crescendo with the feeling that a great crushing force may descend upon you at any moment, as if the taiko yaku had summoned a great mythical army.
A conversation with fellow devotee Bob Darlington resulted in Bob’s suggestion that perhaps Tolchock could be my first interview. Brett Savage at Optical Sounds Fanzine had offered me the opportunity to do some writing for Optical Sounds when my Chromaticism blog took off.
Contact was established, and with special thanks to my good friend Darren in Tokyo, whose Wife kindly translated my text, below is a small insight on the world that is Tolchock, courtesy of Taku;
Chr – What does Tolchock mean? Tolchock とはどんないみですか？
T – I got the word from “A Clockwork Orange” by Stanley Kubrick. In the film, the word is almost equivalent to violence, but our band’s name Tolchock does not have any meaning.
Chr – How did the band evolve? どんないきさつでバンドをくみましたか？
T– Shoko and I went to the same art school, and when we first played music together in a studio, she shook my brain.
Chr – Which bands were you listening to when you were growing up? 幼いとき、どんなバンドをきいていましたか？
T – I was listening to punk rock and new wave all the time.
Chr – How did you get involved with Sky Lantern record label? スカイランタンレコードラベルとどのようにかかわりましたか。
T – Nik from The Myrrors found and liked our demo track on Youtube and he offered us for releasing it on cassette from his label.
Chr – I see you recently played with Kikagaku Moyo, how supportive is the local scene? 最近 Kikagaku Moyoと一緒に演奏されていますが、どんなふうに支持されていますか？
T – We are good friends. We sometimes jam and spend time together. Psychedelic music and culture in Japan is nothing like a ‘scene’ compared to western countries, but I assume it is gradually going to be bigger.
Chr – I love your ‘After Fog Open’ release, what else can we expect from Tolchock? 私は After Fog Open が大好きですが、このさきTolchockからどんなものを期待していいですか？
T – Thank you. I would say our music in future is not predictable, but we are just recording our first album and it is planned to be released by the end of the year. I feel like it is going to be super. Wait till it blows your mind:)
Chr – Describe the improvisational and experimental element in your music? どんなふうにして自身の音楽を作り出しているか説明してください。
T – Deep meditation.
Chr – Tokyo Psych Fest, how did that come about and what is the local reaction like? Tokyo Psych Festivalはどのようないきさつで開催され、また反応はいかがでしたか？
T – I appreciate it’s main concept, that is to introduce Asian psych band to the world. There are an increasing number of people who support their idea in Japan. I look forward to future development.
Chr – What are you currently listening to? 今はどんな音楽やバンドをきいていますか？
T – When i first got into music I always listened to punk rock and garage but recently I`ve become really into krautrock and drone music. I like anything thats chilled, trippy and full of reverb, stuff that you can just sit and trip to for hours. Like “In to it” by Future Shuttle, I can just put on and listen to for hours getting deeper and deeper into each track. I love it!!
Chr – What equipment do you use? (ギターとドラムだけだよ)
T – Just guitar and drums.
“Just guitar and drums” is perhaps the understatement of the year!
In the hands of Taku and Shoko, just guitar and drums become a pervasive vital force, tools for simultaneously intense introspection and exuberant, vibrant extroversive celebration…
(As this piece was initially commissioned for Optical Sounds Fanzine, it will hopefully find it’s way into the forthcoming issue).