Boomkat Product Review:
Merzbow’s extraordinary 2005 fan-fave ‘Scene’ graces vinyl for first time, offloading the 65 min original album of bullish percussion and ear-shattering atonality plus a bonus brawler for the hardcore
First issued on CD in 2005 and since becoming a staunch highlight of his ’00s laptop period, ‘Scene’ stands out from the blizzard of Merzbow’s catalogue due to its unusually spacious percussion and passages of hallucinatory dread. from hysteric carnival music to junk metal rabble and hyper chromatic shred, it’s one of the fiercest and hypnotic examples from his solo fulminations of the laptop period post-1999, when he became infamous as part of a movement, along with the likes of Peter Rehberg/Pita (RIP), Russell Haswell and Farmers Manual, who deployed laptops as the preferred attack vehicle of choice.
Like Muslimgauze, another prolific pioneer of late C.20th noise, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees in Merzbow’s unfathomable oeuvre, but ’Scene’ is a reliably great place to start. Introducing itself with a brief tattoo of bass drum and shred, it goes full sicko with a Part 2 of buzzsaw midrange and full sunken bass threat that erupts into a sustained throaty howl up there with his best, while the looser 21 mins of roiling drums and tempestuousness to its 2nd section recalls Whitehouse’s ‘Bird Seed’ of the same era, andPart 3 hacks the senses between intense electrical disturbance and barnyard noise, unusually pooling into near silence and pranging out with pitch-shifted rhythms. Part 4 is where it really comes into its own like a febrile inversion of The KLF’s Chill Out album, replete with sheep, but utterly churned up by monstrous combine harvesters that appear to methodically demolish the vista in its newly unveiled ‘Scene Extra (Bonus)’.