Comprised of Taigen Kawabe (bass/ vocals), Yuki Tsujii (guitar), Kohhei Matsuda (guitar) and Monchan Monna (drums), Bo Ningen is a Japanese-born, London-based quartet that has gained an international following for a psychedelic sound that’s decidedly unusual as it possesses elements of prog rock and noise rock, electronica and is equally influenced by Black Sabbath and Nirvana. Interestingly, Bo Ningen can trace their origins to when its founding members Kawabe and Matsuda met while they were members of two different bands, who were coincidentally playing on the same bill. The duo discovered that they were kindred spirits, who had long desired to do something sonically that went beyond the traditional “rock” sound – and do something challenging and weird, with an art school sheen. After catching Kawabe and Matsuda play, Tsujii and Monna joined the band, as they had the exact same desire.
III, the band’s most recent release revealed a band that has gone through an intense period of artistic and creative growth as the quartet spent several months working on songwriting and production, a far longer time than they’ve previously spent. The album also included a collaboration with Savages’ Jehnny Beth – and marked the first time that the quartet had any lyrical content written and sung in English. III’s first two singles “Slider” and “CC” feat. Jehnny Beth immediately reminded me of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan as they were intense, noisy thrash fests that reveal dense, complex songwriting – while being uncompromisingly weird. In fact, check out the turning, twisting and roaring “CC” and it’s surreal video.
Last year, I caught Bo Ningen at the Tell All Your Friends PR CMJ Showcase and their set was a personal CMJ highlight, and their appearances throughout CMJ were highlighted by several major outlets for their intense, punishing sound and their stage antics. In fact, for those of you who couldn’t make it in October, fear not, as the band will be touring across North America in May. Most of the dates, they’re opening for the incredible TV on the Radio, including a May 20 stop at King’s Theatre in Brooklyn. Be on the lookout.