The roots of noise can be traced back to the experimental works of composers like Luigi Russolo, who in the early 20th century introduced the concept of noise machines or “Intonarumori” and advocated for the inclusion of industrial and mechanical sounds in music. This laid the foundation for the exploration of unconventional and non-musical sounds as viable artistic expressions. In the 1980s, noise music gained significant recognition and prominence with the emergence of artists and projects like Merzbow, Whitehouse, and, of course, Incapacitants. These artists employed a wide range of techniques and sound sources, including electronics, feedback, tape manipulation, and found objects, to create intense and immersive sonic experiences.
Incapacitants has made an indelible mark on the noise genre with their relentless pursuit of sonic experimentation. Through their innovative use of electronics, amplification, and feedback, they have created a distinct and recognizable sonic signature. Their performances and recordings often encompass a vast range of frequencies and textures, immersing the listener in a dense and immersive sonic landscape. Repo, the enthralling album by the Japanese experimental project Incapacitants, is a sonic masterpiece that pushes the boundaries of noise music to exhilarating heights. Originally released on vinyl in just 300 copies by Japan’s legendary Alchemy Records label in 1989, this record showcases the immense creativity and technical prowess of the man behind Incapacitants, Toshiji Mikawa, here still alone (Repo is the last album as a one-man project, as Fumio Kosakai, about two years later after this release, became a permanent member to make Incapacitants a duo). With its relentless cacophony and innovative soundscapes, Repo is a testament to the enduring power of noise as an art form.
From the very first seconds, Repo grabs your attention with an onslaught of piercing high frequencies and distorted textures. Mikawa’s ability to manipulate sound is immediately apparent as they create a disorienting and immersive atmosphere. The side A evolves, incorporating layers of chaotic noise, visceral feedback, and unexpected sonic surprises, leaving the listener captivated and intrigued. The other side explore the concept of rhythm within noise music, defying conventions and embracing experimentation. The pulsating beats and distorted tones create a captivating sense of momentum, while unexpected disruptions and bursts of dissonance add an element of unpredictability. The juxtaposition of rhythmic elements and abrasive noise creates a dynamic listening experience that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Repo is an extraordinary album that drives the limits of noise music, showcasing Toshiji Mikawa mastery of sound manipulation and their unwavering dedication to experimentation. He demonstrates an incredible ability to create immersive and captivating sonic landscapes that challenge the listener’s perception of what music can be. With its relentless energy and daring sonic exploration, Repo is a testament to the enduring power of noise as an art form, and a must-listen for anyone seeking an audacious and boundary-pushing musical experience.
“In a historical perspective Repo is also special. There were very few noise records that sounded like it in 1989. Albums by other Japanese artists like Hanatarash, Merzbow, Gerogerigegege and Hijokaidan, who despite the more sonic approach of noise to their western contemporaries, all featured more stylistic aspects to their work – tape loops, collage techniques, the use/abuse of conventional instruments, satirical takes on popular music, references to visual art forms. Repo has none of that, it is full-on noise. In this sense this album – and Incapacitants’ overall oeuvre – has stood the test of time incredibly well. It does not feel dated.” – from Lasse Marhaug new liner notes.
Released in a beautiful limited edition of 300 copies, fully remastered for this vinyl edition by Lasse Marhaug, “Repo” is a highly sought-after milestone in noise music. Incapacitants create inexhaustible chaos verging on the sublime, and take you on a truly excruciating journey toward catharsis! This first time vinyl reissue is about as essential as they come and an absolute must for any Japanoise fan. Cover perfectly reproduce the LP album’s original artwork, along with this release is a four-page A3 folded insert with previously unpublished photos, notes from 2001 by JOJO Hiroshige (with an addendum by T.Mikawa), and new comprehensive notes made for this reissue by Lasse Marhaug.