Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Nihilist Surfin' Group - Music for the New Yorker (198?)

Now there's a tape. As much as The Gerogerigegege seems shrouded in mystery, the oddly-named Nihilist Surfin' Group (no doubt referencing the Nihilist Spasm Band) is even more of an enigma. The band released a small handful of tapes (I think; I only knew of this one but Discogs recently saw another added) and appeared on some compilations (Garbage Sandwich and Lapse from Virtue; perhaps some others too, but I haven't the faintest clue). The tape I have has no information whatsoever on it, except for a postal address - the Vis รก Vis postal address, to be precise. Ah! Bells start ringing. Could this be...?

Well, let's keep it mysterious for a little while more, shall we. The Discogs page for Juntaro Yamanouchi, firstly, doesn't really seem to make a mystery of the whole thing. He's listed as a member of both The Gerogerigegege and Nihilist Surfin' Group, and that could be the end of it. However, in the short history of Turbine (the record label that put out Senzuri Fight Back) and Juntaro Yamanouchi (read it here), NSG is said to consist of some friends of Juntaro - Juntaro's not explicitly described as a member of the group, and it even seems to be suggested that he was not part of it at all (the Anal Sadist page suggests something similar in saying that "a trip to Japan in the summer of 1991 resulted in a three hour studio session of collaboration with Anal Sadist, The Gerogerigegege and The Nihilist Surfin' Group"). Further information on the project, at least on the web, is scarce; artnotart, for instance, which is maybe not the most complete but certainly the most interesting of Gero sites around, makes no mention of NSG at all. So perhaps the matter isn't as clear-cut then.

Back to the tape. Information on it is likewise scarce - and what information does exist is vague or even contradictionary. The year of release I'm not sure about - it's not listed anywhere, and adjacent catalogue numbers from the Sound of Pig label aren't much of a clue either (SOP242: 1989; SOP246: 1987; SOP249: 1989 - SOP248 is a mystery then, but anywhere between 1987 and 1989 seems a fair bet). The title I was pretty sure about, but to be honest I'm a bit lost there as well. Discogs lists it as Music for the New Yorker, and the Sound of Pig website used to list it under that title as well, I'm quite sure, but there it has surreptiously been changed to Howling at the Sun for some reason. The tape itself, however, has Music for the New Yorker typed on the inside of the J-card, so phew - that we know then. It has some 38 minutes of music on it; originally this is supposed to've been a C46 (say both Discogs and Sound of Pig), though my reissue is a C60, with the A-side being 26 minutes long, and the B-side being 12 minutes long.

So we're pretty much in the dark then, about the whole thing. And so we stick the mysterious tape in our tape deck and press play. Fortunately, just two minutes in, we're suddenly treading familiar ground: Story of the Thalaba suddenly makes its droning appearance. And suddenly, we are confident that this is a Juntaro tape after all (in the booklet for Senzuri Power Up, Juntaro is credited for vocals and guitar tuner on this track - no other artists listed whatsoever). And we cherish it.

Juntaro is known to have been prolific. Doubtless a good part of the cassettes stacked on the shelves of his tape wall were of his own recordings, and it's been often asserted that 7"s or compilation tracks were only shorter snippets from much longer tapes filled to the brim with more material in that same vein (to think that there may be a tape with more Yasukuni Jinja material... I'd trade my entire record collection for such a tape). Should such a tape ever see the light of a day it would be a most glorious thing for Gero fans. Music for the New Yorker, in a way, is exactly such a tape. It's basically 40 minutes of Thalaba-like material; both droney and screechy, uncomfortable, harrowing, screaming mad, genius. I guess that's as big a recommendation as I could give for this treasure. Seriously, check it out.

Of course, the original tape has long been OOP - would one ever turn up on eBay or Discogs you'd surely have to pay a lot for it. However, Sound of Pig has been making their back catalog available again for something like $10 per tape. Here's your chance of getting yourself a unique entry in the Gero catalog. If you need some persuading, just give this thing a spin. It's really, really good. Enjoy!



  1. hahaha why would you post this

    anyway other information stipulates that NSG was "some friends of juntaro" but even if true that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't a member or on this tape

    I guess they played live a couple times though?

    there may have been a second NSG tape but beyond that I have no info

  2. it's way good :O

    yes that's what it says in the Turbine history & well, like I said, seeing as the credits for Thalaba on SPU say it's Juntaro doubtlessly this has Juntaro as well...

    and yeah, that seems true & they jammed with anal sadist & shit? juntaro recorded those session but according to AS they never saw the light of day

    and yeah i saw another tape added on discogs recently but have never heard anything else about it...

  3. I've heard of Juntaro using guitar tuners in noise many times. How does it work?

  4. yes the guitar tuner thing is interesting, he makes it an amazing tool in his music (see None Friendly, Story of the Thalaba, i think Yasukuni Jinja?) i don't know how it works either. thanks so much Sven!!! too cool for school