NAG ROCK: Blanka

Compelled to add a new level of intangibility to their seminal punk influences, musical pioneers Jun Naito, Hiroyuki Izawa, and Taichi Arakawa, parted ways with their former bassist, and posted an ad at Club Apollo. Aussie expat Angus Rofe, with zero Japanese language skills under his belt, decided to answer the call. At first, the band thought the endless emails from the persistent Tasmanian bassist were just spam. But after an exhausting search, the guys sifted through the endless emails, and found their missing member. Thus Blanka began its evolution from a confused mix of funk, punk, and rock to a harmony of free form and groove-based electro-rock.

Blanka’s 2012 release, Ocean Pyramid, evokes images of wormholes and alien EMF waves, amalgamating strong suggestions of the animistic and primordial. Each jam melds the assiduously careful with the utterly reckless. The Blanka revolution foments on tracks like ‘Wake up’, from their self-titled 2010 debut album. On ‘Toki no Step’, just as you begin to identify the raw power of their earlier punk roots, the driving atmosphere quickly gives way to the deep hypnotic spiral of Taichi Arakawa’s dulcet shamanic incantations. This melts into the next track ‘Passion’, which emanates from the primitive and ancient prescient core of our universal soul. This track is followed by ‘Fry Fish’; which smirks with the simplicity and unconscious genius of a precocious youth, coolly synching the Earth-bound with the ethereal.

Blanka skillfully entwine passion and warmth; infusing a groove heavy pulse with a warp-speed voyage into infinity, as Jun’s solos blast off into a deeper psychedelic realm. Balnka also manage to temper their variable improvisations with a frozen passion. They blur the resolute with the fun and the free; so much so that listeners are left stunned and quivering. It’s a true musical sojourn into their souls. But, according to bassist Angus Rofe, it is as well a logical reflection on their first year together, when they first started experimenting with different structuring styles. What they ultimately found was that the danger and fun of having no boundaries was more to their liking and truer to their band’s character.
– Michael Serro

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