Nisennenmondai is the world’s best-kept secret among noise rock enthusiasts. Since the Y2K bug of the band’s Japanese-translation-namesake was still a thing, the instrumental trio has been spinning post-punk, no wave, and krautrock influences into something fresh and surprisingly danceable, though without much attention stateside. Recent Nisnenenmondai releases have consisted of a live album and some singles that are impossible to track down in the States, but thankfully, their latest EP, N, has been properly released through American digital retailers.
N consists of three tracks that are as minimalist as their names (“A”, “B-1”, and “B-2”) and the album title infer. The notion of songs, standout, or otherwise, is irrelevant here, for N is a journey meant to be taken from start to finish and without detour. Nisennenmondai’s newest trip begins with an urgent loop that is promptly joined by a tight, pounding rhythm, and soon the specter of guitar dissonance drifts in and out. Throughout the rest of N’s 40 minutes, a series of clattering guitar textures enter the fold, as bass rhythms and drum patterns rise and fall with a subtlety yet irresistible hypnotism. All the while, drummer Sayaka Himeno steadily maintains repetitions for impossible lengths of time, easing into progressively more rapid-fire rhythms.
Nisennenmondai’s arrangements spellbind the listener, the entire EP unfolding as one piece, all without ever becoming tedious. N is a fascinating mass, repetition as concept becoming an unofficial fourth band member. The EP consistently transitions into new, raw grooves, each instrument following the same pattern for several minutes before drifting seamlessly into a new one without interrupting the flow, the others drawing attention away at the appropriate time. Nisennenmondai master subtlety on N, reigning the chaos into a hypnotic drone.
Essential Tracks: N/A