Sometimes when an act changes direction radically it’s difficult to go with them. You feel like a stuck-in-the-mud conservative, but the new sound just doesn’t work for you. This is precisely the way I feel about Iterations. I was introduced to Gate via last year’s No Exit album on Fluttery. At that time it was a solo project of Lajos Ishibashi-Brons. While the album was pretty unforgiving, there was a lot to admire and enjoy amongst the harsh noise dished up by Lajos’s (largely) home-made instruments.
The same month that I reviewed the album, Gate became a duo with the addition of saxophonist and reed player Takahito Hayashi. And that, for me, is the underlying problem of Iterations. For most of its 72 minutes the record is subdued as Lajos’s rumblings take a back seat to Taka’s blowing. And the latter is simply uninspired, run-of-the-mill free jazz. Tempos crawl and tracks meander aimlessly past the ten minute mark without much in the way of development. Before you know it, an hour has passed and nothing of any note has happened. It’s only the final track 66x3e that provides any tension or appears to have any real direction. It wasn’t just the volume that made No Exit such a thrill, it was the way that there was always something interesting going on, even if it was buried deep down. For long periods of Iterations, though, nothing happens at all. Aimless and directionless – a real disappointment.