MERZBOW
Jazz Related Improvisation • Japan

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There is no need to argue: Merzbow stands as the most important artist in noise music. The favorite moniker of Japanese Masami Akita appears on hundreds of albums. The name comes from German artist Kurt Schwitters' famous work Merzbau, which he also called The Cathedral of Erotic Misery. Akita's choice reflects his fondness for junk art (through Schwitters' collage method) and his fascination with ritualized eroticism, namely in the form of fetishism and bondage. All these elements constitute the Merzbow persona. Akita was born in Tokyo in 1956. He grew up with psychedelic rock and began to play the guitar in progressive rock cover bands, in particular with drummer Kiyoshi Mizutani, who would remain a frequent collaborator. After high school, Akita studied literature and visual arts in college. There he discovered free jazz and studied seriously the ideas of Dada and the surrealists (Salvador Dali remained a big influence). Akita gradually read more...
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13 Japanese Birds 513 Japanese Birds 5
Limited Edition
Important Records 2009
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Audio CD$28.21
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MerzbirdMerzbird
Important Records 2004
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Blossoming Noise 2005
Audio CD$10.47
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Relapse Records UK 1996
Audio CD$223.89
$20.98 (used)
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Tzadik 1998
Audio CD$9.10
$6.64 (used)
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MERZBOW Discography

MERZBOW albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Remblandt Assemblage
Jazz Related Improvisation 1980
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Merzbow & Ladybird : Balance
Jazz Related Improvisation 1997
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Merzbow / Cris X ‎: Guya / Greed
Jazz Related Improvisation 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lop Lop
Jazz Related Improvisation 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Merzbow / Marhaug: Mer Mar
Jazz Related Improvisation 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Merzbuddha Variations
Jazz Related Improvisation 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Uzu Me Ku
Jazz Related Improvisation 2012
.. Album Cover 3.57 | 2 ratings
Merzbow Gustafsson Pandi: Cuts
Jazz Related Improvisation 2013

MERZBOW EPs & splits

MERZBOW live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Molde International Jazz Festival
Jazz Related Improvisation 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ducks: Live in NYC (with Balázs Pándi)
Jazz Related Improvisation 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Katowice (with Balázs Pándi)
Jazz Related Improvisation 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Grand Owl Habitat
Jazz Related Improvisation 2013

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MERZBOW Reviews

MERZBOW Merzbow Gustafsson Pandi: Cuts

Album · 2013 · Jazz Related Improvisation
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
If you are looking for a CD that can really ‘bring the noise’, then “Cuts” is for you. Merzbow, Gustafson and Pandi are an avant-garde super-group of sorts in that Merzbow (Masami Akita) is the leader of the modern electronic noise genre, saxophonist Mats Gustafsson is a long time star of the free jazz scene and drummer Balazs Pandi plays in several avant-garde rock and jazz acts. Together the three raise an incredible sound that is not for the feint of heart. Once the domain of the most creative composers, during the post-punk/industrial fad the use of noise in music became common place as an indulgent expression of imagined pain and privileged complaints. Merzbow’s use of noise takes us back to the more ascetic approach as his barrages of sonic distortion and feedback carry little trace of indulgent emotion and instead seem to represent unstoppable natural forces such as a hurricane or a storm of locusts. If you are not ready for really loud intense grinding noise, then I would pass on this one.

For the first two cuts on this CD Merzbow plows ahead with a steady onslaught of feedback and natural distortion while Pandi plays along with a variety of free jazz beats and modern thrash. Generally Merzbow’s sounds are mixed a bit higher than the drums so it is not always exactly clear what is happening on the trap set. I suppose Mats is contributing electronics on these as well, but everything blends so it is hard to tell for sure. At about the ten minute mark of track two the electronics finally break down and Pandi enters with a pounding rock beat, soon the electronics began to interact sounding like an alien race attempting to rock out, there is a lot of deconstructionist humor to this section and the variety is welcome.

Track three, “the fear too: invisible.” is probably the track with the strongest resemblance to something familiar to free jazz fans. After Merzbow’s opening, Gustafsson picks up the sax for some classic 60s style free blowing while Pandi’s drums respond in kind. Merzbow’s electronics move to the background on this one as he fills in the empty spaces with odd sounds. This track might remind some of Sun Ra and John Gilmore’s most outside work and its probably the top ‘cut’ on “Cuts”. Track four continues the variety as Merzbow backs off for a bit while Gustaffson makes his horn barely recognizable with distorted electronics and turns way down for some very quiet moments. Track five opens quietly, but soon enough Merzbow is back in full force, and this time topped by Gustafsson’s shrieking saxophone. The shrill intensity of this one is incredible.

I probably don’t need to point out that this CD isn’t for everyone, a lot of this is probably too intense for even die hard free jazz fans, but if you looking for uncompromising noise mixed with modern avant-garde jazz, this is the one.

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1 year ago
so noise is now considered to be Jazz?

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