Merzbow - 13 Japanese Birds Volume Three - Yurikamome [Important Records - 2009]Yurikamome is the third volume in Merzbow’s truly epic 13 volume release the Japanese Bird series & it finds him offering up three tracks of live drum lead noise attacks, jams & caustic yet often groove lined work-outs.
Opening the disc & taking up a big part of the release's length is the just over half-an-hour of ‘Black Headed Gull’ which is an enjoyable, if rather predictable noise drum jam. It finds Merzbow starting out with a mid-pace mean ‘n’ moody bass drum attack that’s over burnt by feed-back smarts, caustic meditative drones and laser or phazer like slices of sound. Through-out the track he nicely works around the more thick, bass like & thumbing sounds of the drum kit, as well as stoping & starting nicely for fills etc; before starting up again with the more constant battering. Over time the track get’s quite hypnotic; it’s just feels a little too predictable & samey to other live drum lead tracks.
Up next we have ‘February 2002’ which comes in at just shy of the 14 minute mark & is much more interesting & rewarding than the first track. The track starts out with this looped & tight almost industrial cold grooved loop which brings to mind maybe something off 2002’s ‘ 24 Hours - A Day Of Seals’ or maybe even early stuff off 1984’s ‘Agni Hotra’ which appeared on the Merzbox. To this stuck element he adds at first flurries of cymbal attacks & tight drum runs, then long feed-back trails. Later as things get denser & more complex; he adds more layers of noise roar (which nicely shifts through the stereo channels), other industrialized or cold electroica looped elements & all manner of creative & enjoyable drum fills. There’s even a sort of strange almost African tribal shuffle that comes into towards the end of the track- really this is one of the great tracks of the Japanese bird releases thus far.
Lastly we have the baby of the bunch ‘The Angle of the odd’ which comes in just over the eight minute mark. And this at first is all about straight in your face simply punky type drumming hits and throbbing guitar or feed-back fuzzed snthy groove hits. It feels wonderful down, dirty & sleazy like it could have been heard leaking from under the door of some New York 80’s no wave band practise. As the track goes on Merzbow deepens & swirls the tracks sleazy beginnings making things thicker, more nasty & hypnotic as he wonderful fires off one effective noise texture or atmospheric fuzzed-up textured after another. Again a really great, great track.
So in summing up the album opens up with the ok if slightly predictable & certainly too lengthy ‘Black Headed Gull’ before going into two great & creative tracks of rhythmic work-outs & creative noise texture. Certainly another worthwhile chapter in theJapanese Birds series just don’t let the first track put you off.Roger Batty