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Feb. 11th, 2007 | 01:29 am
music: legowelt- Disco Rout

Legitimate reviews with rapidshare.com dowloads of the out-of-print releases should be coming next weekend.

sound projector 3 excerts

Feb. 11th, 2007 | 01:27 am

Pulled from: http://www.thesoundprojector.com/exc_sp3_merzbow.html


The Phenomenon of Ecstasy

Original position in magazine: pages 24-25, 27

Merzbow by Ed PinsentMerzbow




Music for Bondage Performance


Masami Akita

The Prosperity of Vice, The Misfortune of Virtue : Electro-Music for Romantica


A mere three examples of the powerful and disturbing force that is Merzbow. Masami Akita is Merzbow, a mad Japanese surrealist terrorist of noise and producer of an insanely extensive number of CDs, cassettes, and slabs of vinyl in all possible formats released on an untraceable series of international record labels. Besides his solo projects, there are any number of split records, collaborations and otherwise shared works. Scumtron is a recent-ish domestic issue which is recommended for those wishing to find some entry point to the man's work; it isn't strictly speaking a Merzbow solo trip, but mostly 'remixes' of his records executed by world-wide luminaries in the turntabling or production fields. The huge and complex sound of Merzbow (a hideous noise to some listeners) is open enough to enable this remixing to be a very worthwhile exercise; most remixing to me is like a futile reshuffling of elements into a slightly different configuration. Here, those Finnish digital noiseters Panasonic assert their minimal electronic presence on 'Elephant's memory remix' with a steady pulse of mechanical throbs; occasionally these are wiped away by the tidal waves of Merzbow noise, only to resurface with more potency. They filter his noise (raw, dirty, ugly) through their machines (precise, clean, austere). A true battle of the titans. Bernhard Günter's effort is remarkable for its quietness, positioned at the end of an intense and violent stream of noise CD, taking only fragments of amplifier hum samples to build up an obsessive chamber of doom at the bottom of the sea.

Russell Haswell compiled Scumtron, and for his 'Micromedley' contribution edits together five separate Merzbow horrors (including 'Fireploof Enema 1'); the effect of this quintuple excess we shall leave to your imagination. Autechre add a boring drum beat and wonky phat synth of their own to produce a weedy, dribbly, non-event. If you want the real thing, here's two exclusive tracks by Merzbow, 'Eat beat eat' #s 1 and 2, recorded in an Italian studio using 'noise manipulation, various filters, and metal'. These tracks alone should satisfy even the most ear-numbed Metallica freak; they could also be used to put out forest fires.

Active since 1980, Merzbow has built up a gargantuan back catalogue to match Sun Ra, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa or even James Brown; it's enough to give anyone a headache. The very selective discography with Scumtron lists 24 releases for 1996 alone. Most of them are probably quickly deleted or sold out, although it's often possible to find second-hand copies of recent CDs as nobody in their right mind keeps these anti-social monsters in the house for very long. I found Music for Bondage Performance in this way; probably an 'oldie' by Merzbow's 100mph release standards, it was issued on the Australian label Extreme. The Extreme guys are also in the throes of assembling a 50-CD set of Merzbow's early, cassette-only releases; sounds like another Farouk-sized issue along the lines of the John Zorn/Eye 100 CD set. Music for Bondage Performance was made specifically to accompany performances and videos by Kinbiken, a small circle of Japanese bondage enthusiasts; and Right Brain, a similar pack of gonks who preferred to take that specialist pursuit further with gas masks, rubber and hara-kiri. Bondage is one area of taboo activity that Masami is quite knowledgeable about, but sometimes refuses to discuss it with non-initiates. The music here is quite unearthly, shot through with the bittersweet tastes of alienation, very beautiful and droney in places, although I feel sure it would take on a quite different tincture if accompanied with the strange images it was designed for. If your imagination fails you, simply turn to the video stills and drawings in the CD booklet.

I think Masami wants to align himself with the Dadaists and Surrealists; the name Merzbow is a variant of Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau collages. The bondage thing above is one area of sexual liberation that Andre Breton would likely have approved; other hints are embedded in Merzbow titles like 'Steel Cum', 'Neo Orgasm', and 'History of Child Porno in 70s Rock'. As Roger Cardinal puts it: 'The erotic content of Surrealism...is also the expression of something positive, of the Surrealist faith that through erotic experience, which is so vital a factor in men's lives, one may attain a clear vision of a free and more meaningful world. Eroticism thus becomes a medium of higher understanding, synonymous with desire as that which guarantees liberty.' A Pierre Molinier collage or Hans Bellmer drawing wouldn't go amiss as visual aids, although it's my guess Merzbow has by and large forsworn such imagery on his sleeves. A website quote: 'Where for the groups who may have influenced his first ventures into noise, like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Whitehouse, the association with taboo or shocking imagery was almost compulsory, with Merzbow the reliance on nothing other than intensity of sound allows the listener the freedom to explore the sonic extremes he presents, without the pseudo-intellectual baggage of his forebears.'

Prosperity of Vice... likewise has an erotic component, being created for a theatre play based on stories by the Marquis de Sade. Judging by the photos of this performance reproduced inside the box here, I'm glad I stayed in that night. The intense white-noise tape loops adequately suggest all the ritual pain being enacted by the performers (the Romantica Theatre group). Recorded in 1996, this features a few more 'musical' elements such as an EMS synth and a Theremin; there are even major chords, and recognisable sound sources like voices played backwards or otherwise distorted into some queasy emetic. On this record at least, these devices tend to leaven Merzbow's noise filterings, and Prosperity is thus likely to appeal to lovers of atmospheric and ambient music everywhere.

I am often surprised that a gentle and unassuming soul like myself finds any interest in Merzbow's music. All the warning signs tell me it should be a brutalising experience for the listener, potentially damaging to mental health. I can imagine there are some listeners who welcome being brutalised, but not I. Masami's declared aim is to focus in on the most extreme parts of rock music; feedback, destruction of equipment, and noise, but dispensing with those dumb elements which gave it some apparent meaning to the mob (like silly song lyrics, melodies, rhythm) and proceed to work only with the 'violent, noisy, brutal, sick part of rock'. In fact there's a great deal more to it. He deserves to be taken as seriously as any modern composer. That stuff about rock music is probably a bluff; he does not play like a strutting, conceited rock musician, for live performances he uses a lump of metal with lots of wires, clunky-looking homemade effects devices, and extreme amplification. I have no idea how it is possible to 'play' a piece of metal, but he does it (probably just inducing feedback). He stands there calm and meditative in the midst of the raging storm. Despite all the apparent technical limitations of his palette, the records don't all sound the same; close attention is always paid to dynamics and structure. It is not unlistenable; it draws you in with a bizarre and compelling fascination. A live performance is something else again; you have no control over what happens. The Disobey 22nd June 1997 event in London (which I missed) was a classic by all accounts; one sniggering informant told me of strangers snogging and paralysed onlookers; old Velvet Underground anecdotes, in fact, but it is clear people can be affected physically and psychologically by the dangerous power of pure noise. Let's be careful out there...


Merzcar unveiled

Feb. 11th, 2007 | 01:21 am

The True Story of the

Merzbow Car

The Story of the Merzbow CD packaged in a car has spread itself across the globe. Alot of rumors have circulated and the truth has been hard to come by. To coincide with the "Resist the Factory" I decided to talk directly to Anders at Releasing Eskimo, the Swedish label that put out the Merzbow car.

Here's what he said:

"A while ago I had a Mercedes 230 that I didn't drive much. The police told me that I had to move it or they'd tow it away. Well, I didn't want to keep it and I didn't have anywahere to store it so I decided to use it for something else. I rigged the car's CD player with our latest release of Merzbow's "Noise Embryo" CD so that the music started when the car was turned on and it was impossible to turn it off. I put it up for sale as an extremely limited edition of the "Noise Embryo" CD but no one ever bought it, and in the end the car broke down. So we took out the CD and got rid of the car. Now I'm thinking about if it's possible to release a record in a Boeing 747..."

pulled from: http://www2.sbbs.se/hp/eerie/rcar.html

Merzbow Special part. 1: a special from Germany about Merzbow.

Feb. 10th, 2007 | 11:45 pm

Merzbow live @MAMAC Nice, France

Feb. 10th, 2007 | 11:44 pm

Merzbow live in Kung-Tu, Korea and Kobe '91

Feb. 10th, 2007 | 11:43 pm

soon soon soon.....

Dec. 12th, 2006 | 10:42 pm

Once classes are done I'm gonna spend like 3 days scanning and photgraphing covers and get this shit rolling....