Murder License

by Xinlisupreme on Splinter Series

Xinlisupreme are a three-piece group from Oita in South-West Japan, who describe themselves as a 'tender, strange, spiritual, violent band'. The band’s debut release came via a FatCat 7” single (‘All You Need Is Love Was Not True’) released December 2001, which was rapidly followed with their debut album (‘Tomorrow Never Comes’) three months later. Following up the widespread acclaim of that album, Xinlisupreme returned with a seven-track EP of blistering pace and vicious, devastating power.

A vital / viral blast of corrosive, red raw, bleeding black heart guts and mess and pure fucking energy scrawl, that’s part nihilism and part holding up a cracked mirror to a fucked and collapsing insane world, the EP is titled ‘Murder License’ and its cover art features an American flag chopped up on a background of smeared blood. If anything, ‘Murder License’ is an increasingly focused and coherent release. Rhythms are weightier and more up-front. Every track is intensely driven, the whole bursting out at the listener with barely a pause between eruptions. Frantic and urgent, the four beat tracks crash in on a tidal wave of noise and rhythm, rippling, pulsing, overflowing with sonic debris. Elsewehere, they collapse in on themselves in a nightmare of buckling steel, or shimmer and hang in an irradiated fog. Strewn with recording ‘errors’, at points tracks audibly break apart, as though tripping out on its own weight / momentum.

Xinlisupreme may evoke or draw on earlier influences (MBV, J&MC, Merzbow, Suicide, Pere Ubu) yet there’s an honesty and undoubted individuality that sets the band poles apart from the vast majority of their peers – a scorched earth acceleration that exposes the current vogue of retro-fit punk for the vacuous fashion preening it is: tedious, conservative, boring old hat; fashion music for desperate-to-please / be-loved ego cripples. Xinlisupreme are the real fucking deal, from the heart and guts. There’s no question of being trapped in the weight of another’s shadow. This is desperate, intensely driven music, clawing out for something, brutally focused, engorged with fear and loathing.

Besides their geographic isolation, the band have the gift of genuinely not caring what anybody else thinks – they do not crave fame or acclaim, and are uninterested in going through the typical promotional hoops, photo shoots, remixes or touring even (they recently turned down a 1,200 capacity show with Andrew Weatherall in Tokyo) – unless it’s something that they are ready to do. The band do respond to e-mail interview requests, but carry these out according to their own quirky, caustic logic (never quite what you expect, always immensely entertaining). Xinlisupreme simply say what they think and they do what they do. Driven instead to create, they are focused on firing out tracks and expanding their arsenal, and are already pushing to pin down release dates for another album and 3 more singles, most of which have been recorded and titled.

In a mostly dreary music industry landscape that’s dominated by either escapist confections or fashion posturing, Xinlisupreme are one of too few artists attempting to stir up some kind of response, to issue a wake-up call. We could quote Jacques Attali’s theory of noise as a forerunner of social / political change, we could argue a case for this being the sound of the nightmare about to break / already broken. We can ignore it, hope that it’ll somehow disappear or just never reach the level where it needs to be dealt with. We can play at being interested or we could actually confront it and try to deal with the issues and face ourselves in the mirror, start to take some responsibility for our context. Start asking some questions and nailing your colours because the shit is about to fucking break….

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