Masonna, the moniker of the Osaka based artist Maso Yamazaki, belongs to the second wave of Japanese noise. The name alone, a pun on Madonna’s name by combining the Japanese words Maso (Masochist) and Onna (Woman), illuminates the wry humor and intensity that rubbles below his work.
Masonna claims that his interest in making noise is rooted in childhood encounters with the sounds of destruction on tv. Initially playing in psychedelic rock bands, following encounters with the work of artists like Hanatarash and Nord, he disappeared from view for a number of years, quietly developing his own singular vision of the idiom, before bursting onto the scene in 1987 with a performance style, marked by frenetic energy, damaged equipment, wild body movement, and often personal injury, that quickly set him apart. The following year, he released debut album, Like a Vagina (reissued on vinyl by Urashima lat year), an overdriven blast of psychedelia and harsh noise, that would rattle everything in its wake.
Masonna Vs. Bananamara, Masonna’s second release, was originally issued on Vanilla Records in 1989 in a tiny vinyl edition of 290 copies. Given its iconic status and rarity, it’s little wonder that it currently commands heavy figures on the secondary market. In classic DIY form, it was recorded at home by Masonna on a variety of instruments, with hallucinatory vocals, and used no mixing and overdubbing, rendering a startlingly visceral and dense effect.
Across the album’s two sides – containing a mind boggling 29 tracks – Masonna transforms his voice into noise, feeding the microphone back through a process of extreme distortion. His shouts become clipped bursts of overloaded sound, doubled and extended by a delay that displace the sounds into stuttered blasts of static, heavily underscored by explosive blistering guitars, and cascades of electronic noise, culminating as one of the most striking and emotive gestures in the entire genre of noise.
Urashima’s beautiful pressing – issued as a deluxe vinyl edition of 299 copies – is the first ever reissue of this masterstroke of noise, faithfully reproducing every aspect of the original 1989 release on Vanilla Record. Truly stunning and historically monumental within the genre, it can’t be missed by any fan of Japanese experimental music and noise.