Review: Grim – Lunatic House (Steinklang Industries, Aug 25)

Jun Konagaya’s music—both the material released under his own name as well as his long-running output as Grim—has been an important part of my life for a long time, from my initial discovery of his debut Folk Music to falling in love with 2015’s Maha to the release of Memento Mori a few years ago. Throughout his eclectic, multitude work, there are recurring motifs that appear again and again, and Konagaya cements his singular style with a distinctive way of integrating melody into crushing abrasiveness; these elements are so recognizable that it’s always immediately clear it’s him (there’s even a consistent organ melody that repeatedly crops up and links different releases together). The opening moments of Lunatic House are so distinctly Konagaya that it brought a smile to my face. I haven’t been able to get ahold of the tape that preceded this release, Body, but Lunatic House is a fascinatingly diverse and unique progression from the artist’s recent output, melding Grim’s dual faith to beauty and aggression into a more cohesive style than ever before. Sublime, soothing guitar strumming is overcome by cycling waves of distortion assaults on “Luna,” music-box like reversed notes evolve into a seething rumble on “Tarantula,” and on “Voodoo Drive” a meditative field recording of a humanity-filled public place gives way to one of the most consuming and terrifying amalgams of sound I’ve ever heard, a restless mass of tortured, throat-tearing yells and crushing noise. Lunatic House is a new favorite from Jun Konagaya’s excellent discography, and with a classic, tear-jerking closing track that makes me recall every bittersweet lonely night I’ve spent with Travel or Love Song, definitely made my day.

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