Come, Come to the Sabbath
Banner photo by Pato Thornycroft
In 2000 I was a 15 years old freshman in highschool and the only metalhead at an all Lutheran Christian school. I had a few friends, but not many. I was also living in a house in one of the worst areas of Chicago, where I was surrounded by murder, drugs, corruption and a vicious gang war. While I could have fallen into the trap of my surroundings, instead I found solace in other hobbies. So, at the age of 15 I started a cassette label - My Lai Productions. All of my free time after school and on weekends was spent packaging up trades and orders. Those days were spent returning stamps to senders by request and promoting my cassette distro on AOL and Yahoo chatrooms. During this time I was fortunate to discover the Tokyo based Japanese cassette noise label HMW Distribution, through which I would discover many amazing bands such as grindcore staples Maggut, Mortalized, Damage Digital, as well as what would become my all time favorite noise act: Guilty Connector.
Guilty Connector (now going under the name GUILTY C) hails from Osaka, and I have had the honor of having my band Disrotted perform live with him. In 2000, HMW traded Guilty Connector's Sabbath Connector Sabbath across the world. 17 years later it still has the same impact on me now as it did then - >Sabbath Connector Sabbath has the classic cut up, visceral, aggressive noise style commonly associated with Japanese noise thanks to other notorious acts like Merzbow and The Incapacitants, and under the aggressive tones and feedback one can find hidden loops and subliminal passages that reek of decay and pus. I believe that the noise world and the metal world should not be separate. I would play this tape constantly, and it gave me the same fist pumping desires at times as I would have listening to Unholy Grave or 324.
One look at GUILTY C's impressive discogs page will make you realize that there is a lot to offer. Not only are there solo albums, there are also a wide range of collaboration albums with a who's who of legendary experimental artists such as Bastard Noise, MSBR, Tabata (of The Boredoms), John Wiese and Facialmess. These outputs have all solidified GUILTY C's place in Japanese noise history as one of the most prolific and consistently impressive artists in the noise field. Now as a new generation of noise fans are purchasing their first pedals, contact mics and mixers, they are looking to the legends of yesteryear for inspiration. GUILTY C can be mentioned in the same breath as other long standing and world renowned Japanese artists such as MSBR, Masonna, Merzbow, and Hijokaidan. The music on these myriad releases range from full on ultra violent harsh noise attacks to mulling, ambient drone textures. Each release and sound provides the listener with a new experience and chance to let the music guide their mind to a new place away from this god forsaken planet.
I have since become friends with GUILTY C, and I always wonder what happened to the man who headed the HMW label. It was because of this label's releases that I decided to make my own noise under the name Winters in Osaka, and it was this same label that released my first ever album. Tape trading during this time was an amazing experience. That feeling of meeting someone new from either the Relapse or Razorback Records message board, or discovering a new artist thanks to a shitty geocities page, is something for which I still yearn.
For fans or metal, grind, noisecore and noise - check out Guilty Connector's Sabbath Connector Sabbath for a vicious lesson in Japanese noise. It is without a doubt one of the most important noise albums to come from Japan in the last two decades.