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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Merzbow - Live at Henie Onstad Art Centre [Prisma Records - 2010]

This perfectly recorded and mixed live recording is taken from one of Merzbow’s  2009 live sets, and it shows the Japanese god of noise in fine ‘n’ shifting form. It also finds him offering up a purely electronic based set, so those who have not being too keen on Merzbow’s recent forays into live, brutal and improvised drum based noise, this go down very well indeed.

On offer here is a single forty one minute track which finds Merzbow summoning up one of his classic long form noise excursions that mixers together shifting and psychedelic brutal noise texturing, extreme electroinca elements and progressive, extreme and at times atmospheric noise composition. 

It all starts off with swarms of aquatic phaser like electronics which bring to mind vast shoals of electro fish circling and swooping in on you in  rapidly growing dense treads of sound. Underneath this main element is this grating 'n' sparking electro gamelan shorting texture, as the track progresser the phaser like tones become more bird like in their grating swoons of sound.

By the three minute thirty mark the first fully defined rhythmic electronic element come into play as Merzbow offers up this stuck stream train electro-industrial percussive chug textured into the mix. Over this he pulls wonderfullly seared yet atmospheric sheets of texture noise drag ’n’ shriek, and the bird like chirpings start to become buried in the rapidly thickening and complex mesh of textures.

By the fourteen minute mark the chugging rhythmic element drops out, and this aged melancholic looped, droning & hypnotic electro texture bites into the sound mix; this and comes off like a more aggressive ‘n’ stuck cousin of Boards of Canada’s electro nostalgic. Around the sixteen minute mark this weird sort of tap dancing in electronic clogs tone comes into play, and this start stopping ‘n’ starting. as the track progressers.Pretty soon things start to thicken up once again as Merzbow forces thick ‘n’ seared, yet slightly wavring harmonic mats of sound into place for lengthy boils before dropping into taut ‘n’ loud rolls of noise grain.

The next major sonic shift here happens around the twenty three minute  mark when this buzzing ‘n’ crashing electro  rhythmic element appears into the seared mix of textures, around this new tone Merzbow adds grating and blistering gatherings of: noisey atmosphics, throbbing low-end metallic drags, and sudden ‘n’ piercing whooshing highs. The remainder of the track finds the buzzing ‘n’ crashing rhythmic element become more of a lonesome and barely heard throb as Merzbow seers, shoots and billows noisy yet atmospheric noise grain at you in a very rewarding manner.


“Live at Henie Onstad Art Centre” is certainly one of the more wholly consistent and rewarding Merzbow release to appear in quite sometime. With  Merzbow offering up a wonderful shifting mixture of brutal noise, seared electroica and psychedelic yet atmospheric noise texturing. To find out more and buy direct pop along here

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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