By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Japanese collective Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. is probably the trippiest band on the planet. The group—an ever-revolving lineup led by ridiculously prolific guitar guru Makoto Kawabata—has all the heroically indulgent gusto that most Western bands took off the table after This Is Spinal Tap. AMT's mind-bleeding take on acid rock, krautrock, prog, folk, free-jazz and Eastern drone comes with Lord of the Rings-style wizard wear, Fraggle Rock man manes and far-out LP titles (see The Penultimate Galactic Bordello... and Just Another Band From the Cosmic Inferno).
And the act's artistic audacity really knows no gravity: Since forming in 1996, the band has recorded more than 40 albums, played the music of minimalist composer Terry Riley and filled several LPs with just one or two marathon songs. But more to the point: The band rocks. Kawabata's pulverizing shred freak-outs outdo any suspicion that these mysterious neo-hippies are just zonking out on their way back to the garden.
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