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Go to the Richard Pinhas + Merzbow website  Richard Pinhas + Merzbow - Keio Line [Cuneiform Records - 2008]

Both Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Richard Pinhas (Heldon founder) have worked together with many musicians. These couplings don't always work out to be more than the sum of both, sadly it even can work out less interesting than the solo-efforts of either.

The combination found here looks good on paper, the swirling guitar tapestries from Pinhas and Merzbow's noise throbs promise something intense. The music found on these two discs luckily does keep its promise qualitatively speaking. The music is slightly different from my expectations. I heard Merzbow has a 'softer side' but so far I haven't really experienced that. Most of the records I heard were in realm of harsh noise. On these discs you'll find a slightly more mellow approach by the Japanese noise guru, while Pinhas does what you'd expect: he thoughtfully weaves his textures. Akita taps into the more ambient aspects of his own work, adding cycles of rattles, pulses, thumps and rumblings upon the guitarsounds but never crushing them under a load of really scorching white noise. Occasionally, when Pinhas takes a more traditional guitarsolo approach it even gets slightly dreamy romantic. Akita, on his turn, also sometimes takes the lead but in a more noisy fashion.

Like Pinhas, Akita may be an instrumental artist, they always have strong themes throughout their work. For quite some years Merzbow appeared to be rather monomanically concerned with animal rights, Pinhas has found inspiration in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze as well as mystical Kaballah, which seem less militant. I guess I'm just happy that Merzbow is strictly instrumental, not that I'm against animal rights as such, but if the lyrics would be what the titles and stickers on his gear suggest I can imagine it could get a bit preachy. But no worries, it's all strictly instrumental again.

Of course I have only experienced this at home, but titles like Tokyo Electric Guerilla and Merzdon/Heldow Kills Animal Killers suggest an uneasy listen, a sandblast for the ears but luckily it's more listenable so that you can enjoy in the comfort of your home. I trust that live the physical aspect will become more clear. It's a fair deal—as I do have neighbours—the joint effort of these two giants is a great success, also on a more moderate volume. Next up, among others, is Pinhas teaming up with Wolf Eyes which may be the sonic attack that this collab seemed to promise.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

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