Merzbow - Dead Zone [Quasi Pop Records - 2011]“Dead Zone” was mixed on the day the first explosion at the Japanese Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, and the album finds Merzbow creating a seared yet often atmospheric tribute to both the Chernobyl & Fukushima disasters.
The Cd comes in an effective yet grim card sleeve which features pictures taken from inside the Chernobyl dead zone, and around the city of Pripyat- which was the city that had to be abounded when the Chernobyl power plants reactor blew up. The pictures used taking in long abounded buildings & overgrown city scapes. The album conists of four tracks in all which last between just under the thirty minute mark to just under the nine & a half minute mark.
Sound wise this album does an interesting balancing act between quite manic & speed-up noise texturing & electronics , scuttling improv Mezgitar texturing, and more atmospheric and mournful electronic & noise textures drifts, drones & bays. The manic & often speed up elements take in: sped-up noise loops, what sounds like run away gone wrong drum machine textures, and almost slapstick whizzed-up machine like textures. These element I guess are meant to put into sonic form the devastation from atom level up a nuclear disaster causes-at the start of the album these elements are very prevalent, manic, dense & overloaded, but as the album goes on they become lesser & lesser, and the more searing, speared out & often atmospheric elements start to take over- though that’s not to say the manic elements disappear all together the albums final track “China Glass” mixers cluttering & manic Merzgitar & sped elements with mournful noise drone & electro psychedelic noise scaping, but instead of the manic elements been the main focus the more mournful & atmospheric elements are the central focus.
“Dead Zone” sees Merzbow move away from the improv live drum based sound of much of his recent work for a more atmospheric yet still seared noise trip. I must say I very much enjoyed this album, as it seemed to nicely recapture Merzbow’s more manic, psychedelic yet sometimes mournful & emotional take on noise making, and the albums tracks follow an effective & rewarding sonic narrative path connected to the whole nuclear disaster theme.Roger Batty