Over the last year and a half, SKiN GRAFT Records has been meticulously bringing its long out-of-print single and comic book sets back to life in remastered archival digital editions. So far the series has reanimated long-lost cuts including Japan’s Melt-Banana and Space Streakings. The latest entry is Tokyo’s monolithic Zeni Geva.
Formed by renowned experimental multi-instrumentalist K.K. Null in 1987, Zeni Geva (which roughly translates to “money violence”) reflects his multi-disciplinary approach by creating heavy music that incorporates elements of death metal and hardcore punk, as well as stoner, math, psychedelic and progressive rock.
Zeni Geva’s 1993 SKiN GRAFT single was recorded by engineer Steve Albini in his Chicago basement studio during the same sessions that produced the band’s “Desire For Agony” LP. SKiN GRAFT Records founder Mark Fischer met the band in Madison, Wisconsin a year earlier when they performed alongside SKiN GRAFT recording artists Dazzling Killmen. “I had imported a CD of Zeni Geva’s album “Nai-Ha” from Japan and it knocked my socks off. I was so excited to see the band perform live and they really delivered… Dazzling Killmen, Zeni Geva and I all hit it off that night and we became friends.” (Null would later form the band Yona-Kit with Dazzling Killmen bassist Darin Gray and even enlisted the Killmen’s drummer Blake Fleming to fill in on one of Zeni Geva’s US tours).
Null later inquired about releasing Dazzling Killmen material on his Japanese record label Nux Organization, but since there were no unreleased songs available, arrangements were made for the band to record a single for SKiN GRAFT – to be accompanied by one of the label’s then customary wrap-around “comic book” sleeves. Fischer went on to paint the cover for the band’s “Desire For Agony” LP over at Alternative Tentacles, which, by design, tied in to the cover and comic book found in the SKiN GRAFT single.
The two songs, newly remixed and remastered by KK Null, capture Zeni Geva at the height of their powers – and with their best-known line-up, consisting of Null, drummer Eito Noro and second guitarist Mitsura Tabata of Boredoms and Acid Mothers Temple. While the A-Side “Autofuck” is not atypical of Zeni Geva, with it’s heavy, grinding, low-registered guitars; pounding drums, guttural vocals and stop on a dime dynamics; the B-Side is sure to take even the most ardent Zeni Geva fan by surprise. Null explains “When I Was On Horseback” is a traditional British song.” Before forming Zeni Geva, Null was in the indie progressive band YBO2, alongside drummer Tatsuta Yoshida of Ruins & Koenjihyakkei. “YBO2 played the song live when Tabata and I were in the band. It was released on a live CD, but no studio recording of the song existed”. Null and Tabata remedied that, rearranging it as one of the most surprising Zeni Geva songs in their entire repertoire. Tabata added, “It’s a beautiful song. I haven’t heard our version for a long time, but I believe our arrangement still holds up as a unique way to translate an old traditional song into a rock format.” In contrast, of the single’s A-Side, Tabata said “And “Autofuck” – that is one of Zeni Geva’s most intense tunes. I always looked forward to playing it live.”
Zeni Geva “Autofuck b/w “When I Was On Horseback” and the Fruitcake “Patty Lane” b/w “Story Of Life” singles are available now at SKiN GRAFT Records Bandcamp page and include their downloadable PDF comic book sleeves.