Photo: Alex Woodward

Keiji Haino

Torrential, wrenching wordless wails, guttural screams and roars, a Haino solo vocal performance.


One of the greatest noise or rock musicians of the last 30 years collapses his performance down to what it’s maybe always really been about; not screaming guitar or ancient traditional instruments, not hurdy gurdy, not psychedelia or noise or any genre really, but Haino’s voice: a solo vocal introspection.



Torrential, wrenching wordless wails, guttural screams and roars: Haino’s solo vocal performances seem to be the most obvious example of his oft cited admiration for Antonin Artaud and his obsession with the paradoxical, maddening relation between the voice and the body – something beyond language, always uncannily extrinsic and at the same time intrinsic.


Or, much more poetically: “Art is that which utters what cannot be uttered: instinct.” 
Julia Kristeva



Have a quick look at a few selected Haino album titles:

I Said, This Is the Son of Nihilism

Reveal'd to none as yet - an experience to utterly vanish consciousness while still alive

Nijiumu  - which translates roughly as “the blurring of that which is and that which is not”


Can we take his music as being seriously concerned with consciousness, or nihilism?  What’s the best way to take music that makes these kinds of claims seriously, without dismissing or ignoring what it’s trying to do, but not just dealing with it on its own terms?


What is Haino’s interest in these half-spaces between life and non-life, existence and non-existence?  How does his music engage with such ideas: can it cause us to think about them, or does listening in any way enact them?  If “voice is the lever of thought”1, does Haino’s solo vocal performance make his concerns all the more thinkable, and his music all the more powerful?

  • 1. Obviously that’s a quote from someone else – we don't come up with these kind of polished universal claims ourselves: that’s from Mladen Dolar.
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    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0