Tuesday, August 31, 2010

50 Days of Merzbow, Day 9: Yantra Material Action


Tortured warning sirens screech at the listener before melting into surf guitar samples. Welcome to the post-Hiroshima generation, kids. Pots and pans get banged in tune and in sepia, backing away from history. This is the breath.

I can imagine David Lynch listening to this in 1982 and thinking, "If only I'd made Eraserhead weird." This really is more cinematic than most Merzbow. I can only be impressed with how Merzbow has held off on the soundtrack offers over the years. Not that I have hard evidence that he's gotten them. It's just impossible to imagine that he hasn't.


1. Untitled // 11:25
2. Untitled // 2:52
3. Untitled // 1:48
4. Untitled // 4:37
5. Untitled // 1:06
6. Untitled // 8:40
7. Untitled // 7:26
8. Untitled // 4:35

Monday, August 30, 2010

50 Days of Merzbow, Day 8: Material Action for 2 Microphones


Thrilling to hear Merzbow's future take hold on this disc. Both the tweeked high-end that was perfected on Music For Bondage Performance 1 & 2, and the the molten thunder that will keep the low-end pinned to the ground for years to come. Forward.


1. Hoochie Coochie Scratched Man // 25:31
2. Yumin, Non Stop Disco // 21:14
3. New Acoustic Music No.7 // 23:58

Sunday, August 29, 2010

50 Days of Merzbow, Day 7: Paradoxa Paradoxa


Lon Chaney seems to be hiding behind every door on this one, grinding away at something. More primitive drumming a la CAN that would later inspire O Yuki Congugate and half the acts on Cold Meat industry. By the 2nd track the Chaney-mood organ drone gets decidedly weirder and starts to feel more like all the incidental music for the circus horror classic, BERSERK.


1. Paradoxa Paradoxa Pt.1 // 46:14
2. Paradoxa Paradoxa Pt.2 // 26:08

Saturday, August 28, 2010

50 Days Of Merzbow, Day 6 (5): Collection Era Vol. 2

6 (5)*


Here Merzbow begins to pick, in earnest, at the tectonic plates. And he sounds giddy at the prospects of the Great Falling Apart. Furious sliding of all kinds for the duration. Sometimes it's the edge of a continent falling into an ocean, and other times it's a box of sharp knives spilling across a frozen pond.


1. Untitled // 5:17
2. Untitled // 5:59
3. Untitled // 10:35
4. Untitled // 6:13
5. Untitled // 4:53
6. Untitled // 6:51
7. Untitled // 3:14
8. Untitled // 22:52

Friday, August 27, 2010

50 Days Of Merzbow, Day 5 (6): Collection Era Vol. 3

5 (6)*


Merzbow calls it Rock but it is definitely Rock of the funkiest order. The filthy beats remind me of Bloodrock, but the moves on top sound like the soundfield mined by the Bill Laswell/Otomo Yoshide project, Soup, 20 years later. Akita is so far ahead that he's ahead of the musicians and artists who are already pretty far ahead. The two "Gamlan" songs abuse the infinitely layered Javanese rhythms while Merzbow crowds the dinner table with heaping bowls of metal soto.

And I'm pretty sure Merz Scat is not referring to the Jazz singing style. Just sayin'. I'll meet you on the other side. Bring the Coil. I'll grab the staircase.


1. Merz Rock 1 // 1:58
2. Merz Rock 2 // 8:23
3. Merz Gamlan 1 // 15:54
4. Merz Gamlan 2 // 5:55
5. Merz Scat // 11:29
6. Merztronics Jazz Mix // 11:45
7. Merztronics Rhythm Mix // 11:17

Thursday, August 26, 2010

50 Days Of Merzbow, Day 4: Collection Era Vol. 1


Merzbow's interest in avant-garde Jazz drumming shows up for the first time in this sprawling set, an obsession explored and destroyed 18 years later on his Door Open at 8AM album. Merzbow gets a little funky during the second track, Untitled Material Action. Wasn't ready for that. Then he starts pulling in radio signals from Hell or thereabouts. The spirit of both the water drum and the spring (as in, like, BOING) fills the electronic pulse demons here. The tracks leap from one unseen stone to the next to get across this River Styx. This is an overflowing kitchen sink, flooding a room full of loose and live wires.


1. Electric Environment // 24:00
2. Untitled Material Action // 23:57
3. Telecom Manipulation // 18:18

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

50 Days Of Merzbow, Day 3: Remblandt Assemblage


Akita gets his Dada 101 books out and goes to town. HaHa. "Remblant." So much anti-music starts here. But not to worry. "Scwitters" gets no respect either. I can hear Merzbow burrowing in for the long haul, aggressively plotting out his philosophy and approach to sound. Shadows of music's past appear only to be seemingly for the sole purpose of being rubbed out. It's like Django Rinehart on acid making a baby with Derek Bailey who is just plain drunk. It's all very dying cow.


1. Remblandt Assemblage // 9:44
2. Voice of Scwitters // 2:09
3. Theme of Dadaist // 9:39
4. Hans Arp // 1:47
5. Tape Dada // 5:52
6. Music Concret // 2:34
7. Prepare Guitar Solo 1 // 17:32
8. Prepare Guitar Solo 2 // 3:59

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

50 Days Of Merzbow, Day 2: Metal Acoustic Music


Caravaggio. This is the horrible treble of Thomas' finger feeling its way around Christ's wound, groping for faith. Although, here it sounds like Thomas doesn't quite trust his own hand and has opted for a scalpel. Keeps hitting bone.

Also, BB King. Merzbow keeps doing that slam chord that BB King uses at the beginning of a song to slap his band onto the One. Except, tonally, Merzbow is closer to Albert King.


1. Balance of Neurosis // 46:59

Monday, August 23, 2010

50 Days Of Merzbow, Day 1: OM Electrique


The first song is elastic and sequencer-driven. All junked up like Christ, this one. What a place to start. By track 2 the piercing begins in earnest. Remember those closely-miked albums from the 70s where you can hear the sound of the tips of the guitar player's fingers grazing the steel strings? It's like that only it's the tension in Masami Akita's ankle muscles coming through the effects pedals. It feels like Merzbow is scratching at the back of your skull from the inside.


1. OM Electrique Part 1 // 31:17
2. OM Electrique Part 2 // 7:55
3. Untitled Taped Drum Solo // 8:59
4. Untitled Guitar Solo // 10:25

Incoming: 50 Days Of Merzbow.

I found Merzbow's 50-CD Merzbox, a collection of archival and out-of-print recordings, on this excellent sharity site last week. Now I'm listening to it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All The Way.

Sharon Butler

Sharon Butler's paintings in On Display, a show curated by Hrag Vartanian at STOREFRONT Gallery, are a microcosm for the entire show. When I first looked at the paintings, I wished that Butler had pulled back a bit. The more time I spent with them though, the more they started to come together. Her instincts had been right. Mine, wrong. In the end, Butler's overdrive minimalism worked for me.

Joy Curtis

And so goes the show. The onslaught of conversation among the pieces is almost too much at first. But then, settling in, getting used to the language, it opens up. Joy Curtis' floor sculptures serve as a lynchpin for the show, adding infinite angles on top of the ones already chatting away on the walls in Butler and Cathy Nan Quinlan's paintings.

The gesture of the "project space" in the front of the gallery is a nice touch. It's a quiet space of invention, letting the viewer in on the original secrets. It's the moment before the artists and the curator all decided to go too far, but as Bryan Ferry said, sometimes "All the way is far enough."

I've posted more photos over on my tumblr site.

Sharon Butler

Cathy Nan Quinlan

Joy Curtis


From 4-6 today, there will be an artists' discussion AND a birthday party for Abstract art at the gallery.