Merzbow - Higanbana [Vivo Records - 2008]Higanbana sees Merzbow building in more ambient, atmospheric touches & a greater feeling of space into his noise craft- but fear not this still smarts and singers when needed
Opening up proceedings we have an Merzbow epic in the shape of Cluster Amarvllis clocking in just shy of the half an hour mark. It all starts very subdued and well ambient feel to it with this smeared ominous filled drone, that soon has feedback trails and whining pictures coming off it, but still it’s surprisingly subdued. Then at about the two minute mark he starts up a stuck, muffled and tight kraut rock like drum attack. The noise and guitar like feedback elements starts to get more searing but theres still seems so much room and space with–in the sound that builds this great edgy feel. As the track progresses the rhythmic elements drop in & out changing feel and texture along the way. He also lets the noise fade off to near silence as if echoing off down vast tunnels- certainly the whole piece has quite an atmospheric subterranean feel about .It’s really great to hear another long form Merzbow piece especially when he keeps it so edgy, fresh and inventive through-out.
Next is Black silky feather which starts with a low down pulsing loop that rather brought to my mind one of the first tracks Masami made as Merzbow OM Electrique Part 1 from 1979. But soon the nostalgic edge is lost as crashing metallic sounds take control and roaring sound storms bite, it really kicks in with steering glory with this superb storm type tone. Again theres a really feeling of space with-in the sound & you can often make out the whirling original electro pulse through the storming and crashing of noise matter. This track is shorter than the first at just off 19 minutes.
Lastly we have Path with no end which again rather brought back memories of early Merzbow again with its opening clunking factory like rhythmic loop very much in the vein of material on 1984 the Agni Hotra album. But as it progresses it starts to get a lot more crowded with him slapping on all manner of guitar feedback tones and electro folds- Hell the track almost becomes groovy at one point!. A rather nice end to another successful Merzbow release- that’s mangers to add new elements to his distinctive sound to make this a highly replayable piece of noise matter.Roger Batty