Tomokawas twelfth leader album on PSF (the title translates as The Eyes of Elise), and hence his nineteenth in a career that dates back to the mid-seventies. Tomokawa stands, together with Kan Mikami, as one of the most unique singer-poets thrown up by Japans folk boom of the late sixties and early seventies. Each new album from him represents not simpleminded progression but a privileged glimpse into a sound continuum as forcefully individual and special as any other name you might want to drop in this field (duh -- Buckley, Drake, Hurley, Jandek even). In Tomokawas universe, melodies of limpid and mellifluous grace rub shoulders with rhythmically violently and convulsive purges of soul bile. Tomokawas voice is one of the most special in the Japanese underground: ragged, strained and deeply accented, far removed from conventional standards of singerly intonation, but undoubtedly a sound of deeply human beauty. The group provide the ideal un-square settings for Tomokawas complex symbolist songs, at all times attaining a perfect marriage of acoustic density and forward lope. As an added bonus, long time admirer Keiji Haino adds some trademark abyssal guitar on two tracks. - Alan Cummings.