The noisiest and at the same time the cutest thing to emerge from Tokyo's vibrant noise community is Nisennenmondai, an all-female trio with as much of a penchant for matching dresses as for Kraut-inspired noise rock. Since meeting in 1999 at a university music club, Masako Takada (guitar), Yuri Zaikawa (bass) and Sayaka Himeno (drums) have developed their unabashedly geeky love for minimalist no wave into something hypnotic and intense - sonic assaults of ominously shrieking guitar with a rhythm section throbbing with a disco cadence. They've supported bands like Battles, Prefuse 73, No Age, Joe Lally, Lightning Bolt and Hella.
After their Japan-only DIY EP Sore de Sozo Suru Neji (2004), Nisennenmondai transfixed the Tokyo underground as thoroughly as the Y2K glitch that gave them their name once transfixed the business world. The girls adopted the name in jest as a working title, but with the bookings piling up, the moniker just stuck. As an instrumental band, the girls never even named their songs until their manager suggested it when finalizing track lists on earlier recordings.
On stage the girls' apparently demure character is slowly discarded for something more frenetic. The raw and lo-fi symphony of no wave gradually transforms into more complex rhythms that remain dance-friendly as bass and drum loops pulse. Amidst those locking rhythms (and short episodes of psychedelia), audiences are easily coaxed into unlocking their elbows into indolent jolts as Takada adds layers of delay and clangy sounding distortion. If the group had a front woman, it would be Himeno tirelessly pounding at her snare and bass drum while slashing her cymbals. Throughout the set, one things remains clear- the girls approach their music viscerally.
The girls recently completed a whirlwind month-long European tour and have recently signed to Norwegian imprint Smalltown Supersound, which will release two of the band's previous EPs, "Tori" (2005, Dot Line Circle) and "Neji" (2004, also Dot Line Circle), on a single disc (featuring art work by Kim Hiorthøy) on July 29. Next for the girls is an appearance with Thurston Moore's side collective The Original Silence at Norway's Øya Festival on August 7.