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Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011
LISTENING POST: LIVE
Special to The Japan Times
The flier for next week's Tokyo concert by recently reunited posthardcore pioneers Bitch Magnet boasts praise from Ian Williams, the guitarist for acclaimed rock act Battles: "Probably more than any other band, Bitch Magnet sent me in the direction I took with the music I have tried to make." It's a fitting quote considering it was an invitation to play this December's Battles-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival in England that led to Bitch Magnet regrouping.
Formed in the United States in 1986 by bassist and vocalist Sooyoung Park and guitarist Jon Fine, Bitch Magnet's lineup was solidified when drummer Orestes Morfin joined in 1987. Banging out tightly woven tracks that melded noisy elements of hardcore punk, math rock and postrock, the band issued their debut "Star Booty" EP in 1988 and the excellent full-lengths "Umber" (which was recorded as a quartet with guitarist Dave Galt) in 1989 and "Ben Hur" in 1990 before breaking up. Mojo magazine included "Umber" on its 2004 list of "Lost Albums You Must Own," and "Ben Hur" has been cited as a major influence by many math-rock and postrock bands that emerged in the '90s.
Along with their ATP appearance, Bitch Magnet have scheduled several other European dates in December. To coincide with the tour, American indie label Temporary Residence will issue a triple-CD/LP set of Bitch Magnet's entire remastered back catalog.
Before heading to Europe, Bitch Magnet will play in Seoul and Tokyo. These gigs will be their first live performances since December 1990. Practices so far have involved plenty of air travel as Park lives in Singapore, Fine is in New York, and Morfin calls Calgary, Alberta, home. With all three members so spread out, is this a one-off reunion, or do Bitch Magnet have bigger plans?
"It's fair to say that we haven't ruled anything in and we haven't ruled anything out," Fine tells The Japan Times. "It's also fair to say that, historically, we were never really quite sure what we were going to do next, so it seems fitting that that remains the case."
Bitch Magnet play Shibuya O-Nest in Tokyo on Nov. 7 (8 p.m.; ¥4,000 in advance;  3462-4420). For more information, visit www.dotlinecircle.com.Bitch Magnet