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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 & Z'ev - Spiral Right / Spiral Left [Cold Spring Records - 2010]

“Spiral Right / Spiral Left” is the long promised and dreamed of collaboration between two of the worlds most know & respected experimental/noise artists- Japans Merzbow has been creating and defining the noise genre since the late 1970’s. And American sound artist and percussionist extraordinaire Z’ev is one of the industrial scenes pioneers, and is now a highly respected soundscaper.

On offer here are just two lengthy twenty minute plus tracks “Spiral Right” & “Spiral left”. Opening up the album we have “Spiral Right” which comes in at just over the twenty eight minute mark. This first track starts off as a detailed and shifting sonic forest of: steel clattering, metallic grating, and all manner of  steel like banging’s, bashing and textural detail- through none of it ever forms into any really rhythmic or wholly consistent patterns. Over this controlled yet wonderful chaos Merzbow subtle adds in textural noise churns, simmers and dwells which nicely add to the tracks atmosphere. The first half of the track has this really mysterious and primal like feel to it, and at some points it rather neatly and atmospherically dips into more stripped down gong like clunking meets brood yet seared noise texturing.  Around the fourteenth minute this churning almost guitar riff like noise texture starts-up, and the track starts to get more of a defined in structure with z’ev creating a more fixed set of metal sheet banging's/ texturing with Merzbow more obvious noise textures. Merzbow's textured noise moves from the guitar like texture to more oscillating yet noise electronic sustains. Around the eighteenth minute things drift back into noisey yet haunting semi-ambient territory as Z’ev drifts out harmonic and haunted steel serrated and sustained gong/ bell like dwells. At the same time  Merzbow fires-out these textural noise scrubs, atmospheric textural burns and hazes of sound, and these great sort of weaving/ wavering analogue synth like whines and dips which at times sounds like a descending church organ tones.


“Spiral left” starts out with lot more caught & trapped in it’s feel as Merzbow processer and shimmers out z’ev percussive sheens ‘n’ clunkings into a much more controlled and building angered form. The sonic pictures a mixture of  buried and brooding voodoo drum rumblings and skirting/frying noise textures that sometimes form into more defined noise tones. Around the 8th minute Z’ev metallic  elements seem to become even more blunt and caught in there feeling as Merzbow spins out this retracting and warbling spring like tone which rather brings to mind the main sound on NWW’s "Angry Electric Finger" release. The rest of the twenty two minute track finds Merzbow really sanding and buffing Z’ev clunking percussiveness with a stern yet cleverly controlled noise texture and fiery yet muffled sound morphing. In the tracks last few minutes it becomes very filmatic with layers of field recordings and sombre yet harmonic organ layers been added to z’ev muffled and buried bangs- a very mysterious end to the track/album

So “Spiral Right / Spiral Left” presents the listener with two nicely contrasting tracks, which mix together both parties sonic identities into some quite new & orignally sounding. A very enjoyable, atmospheric and creative collaboration, and lets hope there’s more to come!

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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