Get Systematic with Wagdug Futuristic Unity

S'like a reverse Darth VaderWhen The Mad Capsule Markets moved to temporary quitsville, a town that currently houses Reuben, System of a Down and Fugazi the annoyance level was palpable. The chilling words: “we can’t decide when we can re-start again as the band, at this point” had a nail-in-the-coffin-vibe of  “MCM are dead.” There’s no denying that their heavily synthesised/techno-punk, nu-metal-gabba freakout was perhaps an acquired taste. Several acquaintances have turned their noses up at hearing ‘Tribe’ and ‘Pulse’ mistaking the heady rush of sound as Slipknot being fed backwards into a gameboy. Unfortunately, my experience and knowledge of The Mad Capsule Markets extends only as far as the last 3 albums; 1999’s ‘OSC-DIS’, 2001’s ‘010’ and 2004’s ‘CiSTm K0nFLiqt’ so I have very little knowledge of their previous 8 efforts, all of which were exclusive only to Japan. However, with the band currently residing in Hiatus Heights, this wasn’t the end”¦

Hiroshi Kyono, The Mad Capsule Markets’ gruff-sounding vocalist had been working on a solo project. Stemming from his DJ sets in Japan, to a range of clothing he’d created, called Wag Dug, as well as contributing music to the Death Note soundtrack, Kyono had been at work on his new venture”¦Wagdug Futuristic Unity. This solo experiment, which features a plethora of guest musicians (Justice, Chino Moreno, DJ Sid, Shitdisco, DJ Starscream to name a few) led to Kyono releasing a mini album named ‘Nu Riot’ in 2007. The full length, ‘Hakai’ in July 2008, then followed this.

Wagdug Futuristic Unity is a project that walks on a very thin tightrope. It totters and teeters with uncertainty, yet always manages to find its balance and escape the tortuous drop into the bottomless pit of ‘unlistenable chaos’. Kyono’s liberal use of blasting synthesised noise saturates the Wagdug sound. It’s drenched in colossal thumping drumbeats, held together by the kind of grimy bass work last heard in the breakcore work of Dev/Null, Drumcorps and other assorted Cock Rock Disco acts. Some moments appear to be the noises made by an X-Wing as their engines power down, mixed with a cacophony of ear-raping grime that is reminiscent of a factory of gameboys being set on fire. Kyono’s vocals are similar to his MCM-days in places, but tip to the scale of ‘almost incomprehensible’ ”“ it’s as if he was taught English in a wind tunnel by Danny Dyer shouting through a toilet roll. Of course, a lot of what is being screamed could very well (and most likely is) in Japanese!

It’s not all terrifying, eardrum destroying punk-rock breakcore though. ‘X-Stereo’ is a reworking on ‘Waters of Nazareth’ by French electro-oddballs Justice. Whilst it may at first just appear to be the original song with Kyono’s distorted, garbled rap placed over the top (hang on”¦it is just that!) there’s an element of a warped, feedback-drenched layer of fuzz created specially to contort the track through Wagdug’s disturbing musical psyche.

Weapons of Wag Distortion’ comes across as a Prodigy meets *insert name of popular rap-metal band from the 1990s* in some nightmarish, Soulfly-gone-techno mash up of clattering steel drums, deep synthesised rumblings and a swirling aura of reverberating dread.

and the microphone eating contest winner is...Obviously The Mad Capsule Markets influence is going to force it’s way through like the alien bursting out of Kane’s stomach. It does so to great effect on ‘Mad Saturator’, sounding similar to ‘Mob Track’ from the band’s ‘OSC-DIS’ release. The synthesised rise-and-fall swirls the track like a cement mixer constantly changing speed, whilst the clattering percussion and Kyono’s rapid fire delivery give the track a much needed metallic bite. ‘Got Life’ also takes the MCM template a royally fucks it through a chaos dimension of spiralling noise-drenched mayhem ”“ Atari Teenage Riot would have been proud; fuck, if they were still going (properly) they’d probably demand Wagdug joins them on their next tour or at least organise some kind of collaboration that would no doubt destroy the fabric of reality.

WALL’ featuring ChinoBACK TO SKOOOOOOOOOL’ Moreno of Deftones is an unrelenting attack on the senses. Moreno and Kyono’s vocals meld into a deformation of unholy terror that would leave Mike Patton to remark: “that isn’t right you guys.” Whilst this howling bloodlust takes place, the music delves into the realms of darkness, taking on an unsettling and sinister tone, encompassing droning synthesised washes that are bludgeoned to a gruesome pulp by the erratically destructive drum machine. The closest Wagdug gets to pure white noise.

Ever wondered what the sound of someone fucking a synthesiser would sound like? ‘Why?’ just about does that. The strange barking background sounds, which give the impression that this track was recorded inside a kennel, Amen-drum break splatters, alongside the abnormal and persistent pounding beat and pogo keyboard smashes are reminiscent of some sadistic rave that would cause a ‘clawing at the walls’-style mental breakdown.

Chaostic Radio’ is the closest Wagdug gets to creating a song with a trace of a ‘pop’ element. The rolling keyboard lines are soon obliterated by the wave of pulsating crashes and snarling cymbal crashes. There’s a nod towards ‘All The Time On Sunny Beach’ in the way the chorus progresses, with it’s jaunty, summer-tinged rise and fall.

This is probably the kind of music that induces seizures in lesser people. The intensity of Wagdug’s sound is that of 100 of those coma-inducing, colour saturated techno-robot shows. Heck, I’ll wager that Kyono has lent his musical talents to soundtracking these kind of shows – and why not; his sound would fit them perfectly. In fact, ‘Systematic People’ is the soundtrack to an anime show called ‘Kurozuka’, a series based on Japanese swordsman Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

A pounding, crunching, barbaric disco-destroying, techno-mash of furious breakbeats and obnoxious rap-metal posturing  – an absolute winner in my book and fills that empty Mad Capsule Markets hole in my heart perfectly. All hail Wagdug Futuristic Unity: the underground Japanese digital hardcore king!


Wagdug Myspace
Wagdug Official Site
Mad Capsule Markets

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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