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Merzbow, "Merzbuta"

The latest release in an impressive line of ‘Merz’ titled releases on Important may prove to be Merzbow’s most easily enjoyable and finest beat related work to date.  Masami Akita continues to fight the good fight on behalf of the animal kingdom though his arsenal of noise, static, fury and a trusty drum machine.
Important Records

From the cheeky digital pig eating a human hand on the cover to the carnage of the inside artwork Merzbow hints at a context and a focus of animal domination/revenge for the abstract sounds. Although the treble squealing whine on track 1 could never be heard as anything other than the sound of a fully trained up war pig on the charge. All of the songs here rely heavily on beats and these vary in violence and intricacy from the growing and ever modifying pattern of track 4 to the more straightforwardly moving but complicated beat on track 2. The addition of a set structure to the usual punishing noise elements takes some of the fire from Merzbow but it also provides a bed from which to dig deeper and get lost in the manipulated frequencies and washes of static. As these brief patterns loop they dig melodic furrows from the squalls which he then discards with the flick of a dial or the clicking of a plug in. Merzbow’s beat making abilities are improving with every release and this evolution is made explicitly obvious on track 3, where the beat moves from a cheap Casio shape to a shuffling stalling dusty locked groove.

There are slight similarities in the combination of noise and percussion to the styles of producers like El-P and Dälek and it can only be a matter of time before a Peta approved MC collaborates with Akita. Of course it would take a quite exceptional vocalist to volunteer to attempt to ride the mass of blasting sonic debris that is created here. But it’s not all drum and static heaviosity, as behind the black on the second and third tracks there’s something smaller and melodic going on. There’s a collection of sounds difficult to pin down in there that makes it look like he thought about adding a more conventional melody to the songs and then just flicked it back into the mix. These moments sound both beautiful and odd as they slip to and fro the overwhelming Merzbow abuse. Whether he takes this direction further or descends back into his experiments with noise is unknown but his insane work rate means that it won’t be long till it's found out.



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