Another March, another spring, another studio record by Japans folk philosopher-king Kan Mikami. If you were wondering how he was planning to top last years monolithic 13 CD boxset, heres the simplest of answers. A duo record with long-time comrade in arms (and the Tokyoscenes most self-effacing drummer), Toshi Ishizuka. Ishizuka is best known as the ball of percussive energy that powered Vajra, but he has an underground history as long as your arm, stretching right back to Japans original seventies rock-punkers Zuno Keisatsu. As well as being Kazuki Tomokawas drummer of choice for the past 30 years, Ishizuka has led Cinorama, released a couple of solo drum disks (including last years wonderful PSF release In The Night [PSFD-107]), and held down a career as a session drummer. For as many years as anyone cares to remember hes also played in a regular monthly duo with Mikami (first Sunday of each month, Aketas Place in Tokyos Nishi-Ogikubo). That duo has seen some previous low-key documentation on a couple of compilations, including the Opprobrium benefit Waiting To Be Old, but this is their first full album release. On the six new tracks on Shinshi No Yuuutsu (which can be translated as A Gentlemans Depression), Mikami is in as fine a fettle as ever. Gruff, hoarse and strangled, choking out a multi-voiced pearled stream of wisdom, his guitar rippling and jerking through those convulsive A-minor patterns akin to little else on gods earth. Ishizuka is the perfect partner to Mikamis unique phrasing, all in the eternal now as straight forward momentum is fractured into a schizophrenic tumble in twenty dimensional directions at once. His playing has a rock heaviness, but broken through with delicate improv shadings and an occasional and unexpected processed whoosh. Its a naked and innocent record, as yielding as granite and as hard as new-born baby... -- Alan Cummings.