Acid Mothers Temple
Wed June 2
Berbati's Pan - 10 SW 3rd

Kawabata Makoto--guitarist and leader of Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. --looks like the guru of a mystical, musical cult: wise visage, garish robe, unkempt mass of curls, and bushy beard. But instead of sending his charges on killing sprees or ordering mass suicide, Kawabata coaxes them to play the river of sounds in his head.

His ever-shifting collective--which lives in communal bliss in rural Japan--has gathered disciples across North America and Europe (but, oddly, few in Japan) with its brain-bombing "trip music." (Kawabata rejects the term "psychedelic.").

Before launching AMT in 1996, Kawabata--who plays everything from viola to sarangi to harmonium--apprenticed in bands like Toho Sara, Mainliner, and Musica Transonic, all of which foreshadow his interstellar-overdriven methods in AMT. Since 1997, AMT has been prolifically issuing some of the planet's most expansive, soul-stirring head music. No matter where you dip into the collective's canon, you're struck by sounds as hypnotic as mandalas and as explosive as MC5 and Hawkwind.

The latest addition to AMT's back catalog and the ostensible reason for this tour, Mantra of Love (Alien8), is relatively restrained compared to others in the band's repertoire. While most AMT releases balance chaotic cosmic rock with shower-of-flower-petals ballads, Mantra revels in Kawabata's love of medieval folk songs from the French province of Occitan.

"I don't think there is anything unique about this album," Kawabata asserts. "If you listen to our third album, Troubadours from Another Heavenly World, you should spot that this is another fuzzless, quiet album. Many people have an image of chaos in relation to AMT, probably linked to our live performances. But we try not to be constrained by styles."

No matter what AMT deploys--be it soul-inflating drones a la Terry Riley; freewheeling, Ash Ra Tempel-esque space rock; or courtly love ballads--the group gives it intense, otherworldly power.