From genre-defying to genre-defining, over the last 30 years, SKiN GRAFT Records has curated a collection of music that would seem at home nowhere else. SKiN GRAFT initially sprang to life in 1986 as a punk-infused comix zine, but with a move to Chicago in 1991, it reinvented itself as a quirky, aesthetically driven record label specializing in noisy, no wave music. SKiN GRAFT Records first made its mark with a collection of seven-inch singles packed inside comic book sleeves that defined its irreverent, multi-disciplinary approach. Last year the label began reissuing these formerly “analog only”, out-of-print singles and comics in revamped and expanded digital editions over at Bandcamp.
SKiN GRAFT built a reputation for its work with Japanese underground acts such as Koenjihyakkei, Zeni Geva, UFO or Die and Ruins, but in its early days, the label made waves with a pair of bands from Tokyo that sweat out wholly individual, super-adrenalized collisions of noise, pop, and rock. It’s a testament to their pioneering spirit that with a quarter-century laid down behind them, Tokyo’s Melt-Banana and Space Streakings still don’t sound like much of anything else.
In 1991, Yasuko Onuki started the band Mizu and enlisted guitarist Ichiro Agata to join the band. By November of 1992, Bassist Rika Mm’, and drummer Sudoh Toshiaki had joined and the newly energized, Mizu changed their name to Melt-Banana. K.K. Null (of the legendary metal-core band Zeni Geva) sent SKiN GRAFT Records a copy of Mizu’s demo tape and the band recorded their single shortly after laying down their debut album. On “It’s In The Pillcase”, frontwoman Yasuko O.’s aggravated pep squad proclamations and Agata’s cerebral gnashing slide guitar vie for supremacy across a neck-snapping rhythmic frenzy that is so brief, ridiculous, and precise, that cracking a smile is pretty much irresistible.
An entirely different, though no less confounding kind of racket was made by fellow statesmen Space Streakings, who melded grindcore, jazz-funk-turntablist industrial music and japanoise glitch-hop into something no one had ever heard before.
Long rumored to be a quartet of moonlighting Nintendo programmers, Space Streakings actually took a decidedly analog approach to their music – often building their own instruments – including the gasoline-powered “Engine Guitar” which came complete with a chainsaw style pull cord; and the “Bazooka-Horn” which saw an 18-wheeler semi-truck horn attached to an air compressor. Although Screaming Stomach still came in to provide backing vocals, by the time of 1995’s “Taco Beya” single, he had left and Space Streakings began experimenting with new techniques as a three-piece. The artwork came under the purview of the band’s Nobtack Koike (aka Kame Bazooka) who’s surreal, sci-fi-infused aesthetic perfectly complimented the band’s otherworldly, cacophonous sound.
For more details, visit the links below.
The SPACE STREAKINGS “Taco Beya” and MELT-BANANA “It’s In The Pillcase” Digital Single & Comic Sets are now available exclusively at the SKiN GRAFT Records Bandcamp page: https://skingraftrecords.