Review: Astro + Jero Route 66 – Live @ Suizokukan Okubo (Pauf Recordings, Apr 20)

I first came across Jerónimo Jiménez’s project Jero Route 66 thanks to a previous release on his own imprint, Pauf Recordings Ltd. Live from Devil’s Den is a strange, reticent performance, in which Jiménez’s fragile digital synthesis is paired with the ever-elusive clatter of the beloved trio Shots. Pauf’s next JR66 release again utilizes Shots member Daniel Dimaggio’s mastering services, but this document of a live set in Tokyo’s Suizokukan Okubo bar is a very different beast than Devil’s Den, more bombastic and boisterous in every way. This is unsurprising; the CD immortalizes the meeting of Jiménez and legendary noise duo Astro, now composed of two eardrum-blasting stalwarts both with the instantly recognizable surname Hasegawa. The quite spacious recording does appropriate justice to the awesome room-filling qualities of the Hasegawas’ roaring electronics, while piercing circuit errors and whirring glitches from Jiménez keep things grounded in an appropriately abstract way; Hiroshi’s searing transmissions are halted long before they can soar to the heights achieved on transcendent releases like Love & Noise, instead ballooning within a palpably confined space, filling it with a chaos of distortion, feedback, and other electronic mayhem. This is stuff you can get completely lost in.

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