Monday, 25 November
Monday, 11 November
We're already at volume seven in Masami Akita's thirteen-part ornithological tribute, and true to form, this one will have you twitching (thanks) with excitement over Merzbow's twin assault of full-blooded electronic punishment and raging percussion. The two book-ending tracks probably rank as the most successful entries on this disc, the first, 'Wind Of Pain' sounding a like a wood-chipping machine devouring itself, while the bass contours and neck-snapping hip hop onslaught of 'Bird Droppings On Your Head' closes the album with one of Akita's most successful marriages… Read more
We're already up to the 5th release in Masami Akita's thirteen-disc ornithological series, and like the very first installment, this one owes as much to Merzbow the drummer as it does Merzbow the godfather of noise. Billed (if you'll excuse the pun) as a "requiem for the 259,000 quails culled at a farm in Toyashi", Uzura is a monumentally furious and powerful piece of music, divided into three parts and totaling just under an hour's worth of material. Once again, Merzbow's found himself in blisteringly good form, achieving the kind of finely balanced perfection most noise a… Read more
As inexhaustibly productive as Masami Akita is, I for one never fail to get at least mildly excited by the prospect of yet another album from the arch-noise-sculptor, and this latest enterprise - his 13 Japanese Birds project - finds Merzbow invigorated by the presence of drumming. Even if you're not wholeheartedly sold on the idea of jarringly 'normal' sounding percussion being cast into Akita's vicious miasma of feedback and oscillations, it undoubtedly adds a thrashy, energetic impulse, even if occasionally it struggles to be heard amongst the volcanic sound designs … Read more
Not a man known for his sugary melodies, Merzbow does appear to have a softer side than his bleached sonics would have us believe - with this new album a tribute to Minazo, a male elephant seal who lived out his life at Tokyo's aquarium. A genuine obsession of Masami Akita (aka Merzbow), the album comes with photos and an essay from Akita, as well as some lovely illustrations of Minazo at the enclosure. Displaying a polemical anger at the way in which Minazo was treated ("Many of the aquariums in Japan have become mere amusement establishments"), the music which Merzbow has summoned up in … Read more
Claiming that a Merzbow recording constitutes his most accessible release yet is very much a relative statement; a fact hammered home (quite literally) by the cochlea shredding static rhythm that opens 'Merzbuta'. Meaning pig in Japanese, the '-buta' suffix becomes more clear on the inside cover where Merzbow (aka Masami Akati) comes over all Noam Chomsky (a label mate no less) with his call for "Animal domination, kill people not piggies!". Backed up by a Chapman Brothers-esque illustration of said domination, it's clear that Merzbow hasn't mellowed penny one in the epic supremacy of his peers.… Read more
Merzbeat stands in stark contrast to all releases in Merzbow's post-analog, digital laptop-era. Containing over 50 minutes of brand new aggressive, psychedelic, organic, analog beat oriented Merzbow compositions, Merzbeat will be quite a treat for Merzbow fans who have been disappointed with modern Merzbow records. Drummed rhythms, a punk spirit and a return to analog Merzbow. KID 606 called it 'one of the greatest things Merzbow has ever done.' The first pressing also has a hidden remix of Amlux by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto.
Opening up Merzbow's new 13-disc series of monthly releases themed around Japanese birds, Suzume gets underway with even more of a bang than the usual Merzbow fare, combining those familiar, expertly wrought noise emissions with wild, flailing drums. The first track, 'Red Bird Of Summer Part 1' lasts some twenty minutes, dishing out aural punishment at every conceivable frequency. After a while it becomes apparent that for better or worse, the drumming somehow detracts from the intensity of the complex and agile distorted signals - there's something about the (possibly ele… Read more
Named after the egret, this eleventh installment in Merzbow's 13 Japanese Birds series arrives with some pretty confrontational track titles - see 'Once The Human Meat Is Done, Cut It Up And Mix With The Vegetable Curry' for details. Inaugural track 'Transormed Into Food' serves as a good catch-up piece for the kind of territory that's been covered in this series so far. Complex squalls of noise shoot out from Merzbow's electronics, while heavy rock-inspired drums drill out something approaching a concise rhythmic order. The second track is rendered rather more severe… Read more
It's the penultimate volume of Merzbow's 13 Japanese Birds series, and at least two of these three longform compositions stand amongst the most impressive and frenzied offerings to date. Despite the ferocity of its onslaught, 'Destroy The Cages' is somehow uplifting: across seventeen minutes of squealing distortion and chirruping, highly detailed distortion textures Masami Akita evokes the sound of thousands of birds all storming towards you at a terrifying rate. This track is so flooded with sound it seems to actually smooth itself out somehow, and consequently it lacks… Read more
The 8th volume in Merzbow's 13 Birds Series, Kokuchov opens with an unprecedentedly gentle spill of technicolour noise: 'Mesmerism' is more like a hypnotic My Bloody Valentine outtake than the more customary ear-grazing routine we're used to from Masami Akita - it's actually rather pretty, although the extreme stereo channel panning results in some fairly severe disorientation over headphones. 'Black Swan' is far more gruelling, and preserves that harsh mix of sprawling virtuoso noise articulations, and thrashy, metal-inspired drumming that's come to be the hallmark of re… Read more
If you were concerned that Merzbow ornithological noise cycle, 13 Japanese Birds, had skipped from volume eight straight through to volume twelve, fear not, this week's batch of Important releases fills in the blanks before the thirteenth and final instalment lands. The bulk of Hiyadori is taken up by a thirty-minute title track that finds Masami Akita in startlingly good form. Here the drumming that's been such a major signature of this series is almost unrecognisably mangled and devoured by the web of analogue noise signals. After some early spurts of percussion towar… Read more
Volume Two of Merzbow's 13 Japanese Birds series. Limited edition of 1000. Merzbow's 13 Japanese Birds is a 13 month series of releases inspired by Olivier Messaien's Catalogue D'Oiseaux. Beginning in January 2009 one volume of 13 Japanese Birds will be released each month. The 13th and final volume will be released January 2010. A hand crafted & screen printed 13 CD box is available directly from Important with art by Jenny Akita
A sixth volume of prime sonic torment from animal rights campaigner and noise harbinger Merzbow, this album arrives as a three-pronged assault on the ears, kicking off with the decidedly inflamatory 'Bird Killer Governer Ishihara Deserves To Die', a turbulent, drum-driven affair that finds Masami Akita making like a demonic Buddy Rich, energetically romping his way over the kit while familiarly punishing feedback signals and crunched-up distortion run riot. Only intensifying the record, 'Wilderness In Akasaka' adopts a similar strategy, but with an increased dominance of the… Read more
You've got to love that sleeve art - there he is, Masami Akita, the most revered of all noise artists, submerged with his laptop amongst his dolphin friends. If for some reason you'd never previously heard a Merzbow record, that sort of imagery might have you thinking Dolphin Sonar was going to be some sort of cute'n'cuddly poptronica outing, but of course it's an hour's worth of mind bending agony with an animal rights agenda. This is one angry, angry record. While it's contextualised as a protest album against the annual cull of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, this music speaks a universal lang… Read more
In 1998 Sparklehorse sang: "Oh yeah, here come the Painbirds", a line that springs to mind upon listening to this eviscerating installment in Masami Akita's musical aviary. 'Argus' gets underway with a roaming sub bass signal, taking stomach-punch plunges into extreme low frequencies while drums splatter across the mix and high-end screeches claw away at the speakers. Extreme, gnarled bass seems to be the key to this fourth volume in the ornithologically themed series, and while 'Stone The Crows' offers a varied and thoroughly dissected soundscape, the relentless intensity… Read more
Monday, 28 October
Monday, 07 October
Last Foundation follow contrasting and excellent tapes from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Gábor Lázár/Russell Haswell with an automated emission from the machines of EVOL. Stephen Sharp and Roc Jiménez de Cisneros' 'Persisting Pinkness' was written "for virtually unattended digital synthesiser", and effectively documents said synth vaulting, morphing and chewing thru intricate convolutions. It's a proper wormholer, constantly in flux and with a squiggly, discombobulated momentum prone to spin less stable minds right off their axis. Let's be fair, this stuff is an acquired taste, you'll know what to do.
Monday, 30 September
"From the whip-like crack of Yako’s signature staccato vocals and impossible-to-memorize lyrics to the relentless overdrive tempo of their one-of-a-kind prog-core, Melt-Banana have long resided in a cybertopia of their own devising where the limits of technology and human capability are old-world concerns as quaint and cumbersome as bartering with a blacksmith. The demos for Fetch, their first studio album since the severely fried pop-punk of 2007’s Bambi’s Dilemma, were completed in March 2011, but the Fukushima earthquake changed everything, including their ability to concentrate on recording… Read more
Monday, 23 September
Callum Higgins ov Sacred Tapes - a new cassette label representing the shadier echelons of Manchester's noise and experimental scene - presents a live recording of his River Slaughter duo with David McLean (Stushevatsya, Tombed Vision Records), made in the long, dark winter ov February 2013. Whilst they've previously performed noise-improv together as Dungeoned, on 'Fallible Godhead' they strive for a more focussed form, resulting two 15 minute edits: one a miasma of unheimlich, dreamlike synth atmospheres swathed in dense, pyroclastic distortion and hulked along by knotted, lu… Read more
Monday, 02 September
'Black Vase' is a triumph of pain and suffering, a noisy symphony that doesn't let up for a second in it's 72 minute duration. It is a rollercoaster ride beginning with the terror and overloaded squeal of the album's opener 'Roman Shower' and ending on the almost Sunn O))) sounding closing epic 'Myth of Love'. 'Desire is the root of all suffering' indeed.
Another overload of painful power electronics, harsh noise and industrial melodrama from the dark heart of Dominick Pernow, The Black Post Society embraces a level of aggression that's somewhere between all-out death metal and the corrosive oscillator-punk of Whitehouse. Noise records can of course be very beautiful. For example, the refined digital eloquence of Hecker or the vivacious analog improvisations of Merzbow - even Wolf Eyes' precariously balanced assaults all have tendencies towards pleasing the ear at the basest level. You'll find no such property in The Black Post … Read more
Monday, 26 August
*Rippin' hardcore punk with gothic tendencies (just don't call it black metal), fresh outta NYC on BEB. Includes 22" x 11" fold out liner notes* "Since debut LP Nature Tries Again (Hospital Productions, 2011) RB has grown from the solo project of M. del Rio (HWCT from Bone Awl) into a five-piece of extraordinary force and focus. The first studio version of Deformed Worship was scrapped, and its songs re-recorded by the band on cassette 8-track in November 2012, before being mixed and mastered by Kris Lapke. Raspberry Bulbs defies the constraints of classification but is often mistakenly labelled as a black metal band. It is not a black metal band."