At 7:30 on a Monday morning, I’m grinding Ethiopian coffee and blasting Slab from Tokyo. My senses are drawn across mountains 6,000 miles apart and even further from my kitchen, just east of the Alleghenies. If my neighbors appreciate the sound, they don’t mention it.
I’m not a morning person, but this is the second time I’ve been up at sunrise to catch a live set from Drastik Adhesive Force. The first time was two months ago, at K/A/T/O MASSACRE with Kazuki Koga. This time the slow-motion toms echo all the way from DOMMUNE, where some of Japan’s most legendary bootists have gathered to celebrate ten years of Gorge and the release of a new compilation album. Hanali. Kazuki Koga. Inuds Bonze. TEACHI. Clark Naito. Moodman. Gorge is everywhere, but for the moment it’s concentrated in this small Shibuya club and streaming studio.
I get my pourover perfectly dialed in – notes of peach and rosewater swirling in thick black tea. The beans have been grown, washed, and yeast fermented at 2,000 meters above sea level to produce these flavors.
GORGE OUT “HERE” 2022 reflects a scene still open to radical possibility ten years after its initial inception. The compilation gathers bootists from five continents across 45 tracks, nearly three hours of rock solid toms jutting up like a mountain range across the landscape of “HERE.” The disparate beats fit together at jagged angles. Every track asserts its own take on Gorge, but somehow TEACHI – who arranged the compilation – manages to weave them together into a cohesive whole. It feels tectonic. Massive.
I got a bike recently, a cheap aluminum frame cruiser that I’ve been riding on the local trail. I lost a lot of strength when I got COVID in 2020, and it’s been a long slow climb back to a place where I can ride even short distances. This week, finally feeling ready to test my limits, I put GORGE OUT “HERE” 2022 on my old mp3 player and rode as far as I could. I made it out past the edge of the city, past the scrapyard and the mcmansions and the golf course, found a big outcrop of what looked like schist, metamorphic striae pushed up from the earth at odd angles, a trickle of water seeping out from the porous stone. It was beautiful. It was Gorge. It felt like prayer to stop and rest and listen there. I keep wanting to go back, but I’m still recovering from the trip.