Friday, October 10, 2008

Lite

Lite are in town Sunday...They are from Japan. They play instrumental music, post-rock I suppose. They are rather good.

They've been here twice before - I caught the first time, but was off travelling the second: the first time was a really fantastic day/night. Around September 2006 I'd guess, the new Mastadon record 'Blood Mountain' came out that day, and we met with the Lite lads prior to the show up at a friend's flat on O'Curry Street. We spoke to them, drank beers, while they replied in the very limited English they had, and didn't drink beers. It turns out that the ultra-technical four-piece don't drink before shows - they are true pros. They played a packed Boatclub, a gig so good it became a CDr (seriously - Lite: Live in Limerick). Afterwards, the band did indeed indulge in a few scoops, as some shenanigans went on 'til the wee hours.

Also on the bill are 54-71 (as with Lite, they are also from Tokyo, and on the deadly Transduction Records) and Adebisi Shank, this Sunday night at Baker's. Props to the good lads over at Organised Chaos for another quality line-up.

First up, here is a Lite Video of them playing live:



And, shag it, it's Friday, so here is this week's second dip into the "archives" for another shoddy Ryan article from a few years ago. Enjoy the weekend!

LITE, Limerick Boatclub, Friday September 8th
By Ciarán Ryan

While Chicago and Louisville will probably be always considered the areas that spawned the math rock and post rock genres, music of a primarily instrumental rock nature has spread its wings a lot further. Look here in Ireland where The Redneck Manifesto continue to be one of the biggest "underground" acts in the country. Even look around this city and you'll see a number of bourgeoning acts trading in these circles.

However, when a new sound was been formed in the late eighties, it has hard to imagine that the instigators would have believed how far-reaching their influence would be. Take LITE for instance, a four -piece hailing from Tokyo consisting of Nobuyuki Takeda and Kozo Kusumoto on guitars, Jun Izawa on bass, and Akinori Yamamoto on drums.

Three of them were in the same band (Kusumoto being the odd one out), and as Takeda explains, there are a number of other bands on the same wavelength in Japan. "It is not as if instrumental music is mainstream in the Japanese
music scene but we seem to have quite a lot of those bands, a lot of
whom are really good. We don't have any particular band that influenced us but we
certainly got influenced by bands we played with at gigs".

After releasing two sold out self-released EPs in their native country, the band came in contact with fledgling UK label, Transduction Records, when they saw a LITE show in Tokyo. While a full-length debut ("Filmlets) is pencilled in for a release in the near future, the band have just released a self-titled mini album in the UK.

Sure, "LITE" contains many of the same facets of other instrumental releases, but the band seemed to have enough tricks up their sleeves than to be signalled out as mere copyists. Opener "Oct" crashes in with a Bob Weston-esque bassline and is met by an almost jazz-like nimbleness and stop-start staccato. More impressive still is the dual-guitar playfulness of "I Miss Seeing All", which later hints of elements of prog while bringing to mind the likes of Don Caballero. By the time the final of the five tracks, "Past Three Days", grows on you, the more pensive side of LITE emerges and they create a soundscape equal to that of some of Unwed Sailor's finest moments.

Takeda does not have any problem with comparisons to other bands, and knows the perceived notions of instrumental music. However, he is keen to rightly point out that LITE do offer something essentially different. "By using fewer instruments we can take a lots of different approaches to making our music. Yes, we could have a singer but we are into instrumental music and don't yet feel any kind of limitations".

While the band are only edging onto the radar on this side of the world, they have built up a significant fanbase in their home country. Their most recent single, "Human Gift" even managed to top the college radio charts there this June. College Radio has probably been most successful in the United States in breaking many bands, and it seems that it is playing an extremely important role in Japan, according to Takeda. "College radio in Japan represents the subculture at the moment. For people turning up at our gigs and buying our stuff, we are just so happy that our music is heard and seen by real people".

Now, LITE get to bring their music to more "real people" when they embark on their first UK and Irish tour.

1 comment:

Síle said...

was that the time we kidnapped them and brought them to one of our legendary broad street parties? and they were so nice that they kept asking if it was ok to sit on the couch?