Merzbow & Balázs Pándi - Ducks: Live In NYC [Ohm Resistance - 2011]This live release brings together the Japanese king of noise Merzbow, and respected Hungarian drummer/ Percussionist Balázs Pándi for a mixture of imaginative, psychedelic & seared noise matter, and punishing, detailed yet never too showy percussive attacks.
It’s fair to say that the mixing of Merzbow's noise textures with rhythmic elements has had a rather chequered & often uneven history. Firstly there was Merzbeat, & related albums, that appeared in the early 00’s these mixed electronic drums & percussion with noise matter to a decidedly mixed & varied effect. Then more recently the 13 Japanese Bird series that mixed live drums and noise togeather, and once again these went from been mediocre & predictable to inspired & extremely creative. So it was with great intrepidation that I approached this new meeting of noise & rhythmic elements.
The live set on offer here was recorded in late 2009 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York city. And the set is split up here into five tracks for the cd/ vinyl release, but this seems more for easy of sequencing than any real defined tracks markers- as each section really moves in quite an active and shifting manner through-out the records near on forty five minute runtime.
The set finds the pair both playing up and against each other, but also it lets each artists have there own stand alone moments as well... when we either just have drifts of just Merz-noise or percussive attacks from Pándi. Merzbow produces a healthy & inventive mix of noise textures that takes in all manner electro choppings, noise hissings, siren wave like twirls, and psychedelic electronic noise swirls. And Pándi’s offers up a hard hitting, detailed yet never too showily or indulgent set of drum attacks.
On the whole the album seems to pass by in an enjoyable, varied and shifting manner with both parties creating a searing & battering yet listenable sonic journey. There’s nothing really new or different from Merzbow’s past live drums and noise mix going on here, but it’s the way the set seems to propel it’s self along with interesting changes and movements in both the percussive & noise matter that makes this worthy. So to sum up this is one of the more instant and rewarding of the Merzbow vs rhythmic elements releases to appear in recent years.Roger Batty