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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 - Surabhi [Hypnagogia - 2011]

“Surabhi” is the second in the trilogy of Merzcow albums that are been released by UK based noise label Hypnagogia. This new release sees Merzbow deepening the spacey, and dense noise ambience of “Kamadhenu” - the first Merzcow, for three lengthy tracks of swirling, noisy & psychedelic noise composition.

The three Merzcow albums are themed around the worship of cows with in the Hindu religion, and this second part takes its title from one of the names for Kamadhenu- the Hindu goddess who is the mother to all cows. Instead of the colourful & spacey vibe of the first Merzcow release, this ones digit-pak features disturbing pictures of malnourished cows- clearly this is Merzbow pointing out the mistreatment & neglected of cattle bred for meat & farming.

Up first we have “Vanamali And Shravan”, which comes in at just shy of the sixteen minute mark. The track starts out in with a manic & overloaded mixture of searing ‘n’ face melting Merz-guitar textures, grating & fluttering almost percussive electronic textures, sudden attacks of banks of looped sped up percussive matter & melted melodic piano structures, along with spacey ‘n’ throbbing electronics which slowly but surely seem to soak the chaos of the track more & more as it progresses- these elements weave out eerier feeling sc-fi dread & tripped out 70’s synth sound tracking. The whole track mangers to create a great juxtaposition  between the manic & overloaded elements,  and the more spacey & psychedelic licked electronics & synth throbs ‘n’ melts.

Track number two is entitled “Balaram”, and this comes in just over the sixteen minute mark. The track starts out fairly stripped & stark with Merzbow  just circling this slightly wonky sounding buzzing electro or electric razor  like tonality, then at just around the minute mark he adds in a thin layer of floating & swimming electronics, & another distant layer of this great descending mass of jittering & clinking electronic tones which sounds like something darting slowly through a forest made a pure glass. For the tracks first five or so minutes he just floats & fires up single synth throbs or melts, but after this point things start to get a bit more noise bound with a mixture of searing merz-gitar bays & roasting electronics, yet there is still ebbs & swirls of more spacey synth & electronic textures too. Around the seven & half minute mark this throbbing ‘n’ brooding synth repetition appears in the track, & this gives a nice semi groove to the proceedings. In it’s last few minutes the groove departs & the track returns to more noise ‘n’ space bound ambient feel.

Last of all we have “Yamuna Snan”, which is the longest of the three track here- it comes in at just over the twenty minute mark. This track starts with a sonic vista of three or four noise drones that bay & searing against each other- one drone is all about longer sustained pitchers, and the other two have more fork & active feel to them. As the track progresses you get added into the mix: a noisy sc-fi like churn,a UFO landing like juddering, more cluttering ‘n’ searing improv electronics attacks, & all manner of ripping ‘n’ throbbing noisy sc-fied textures. Around the seven or so minute point a layer of looped  brightly buzzing ‘n’ wiring electronics become the central focus of the track, and these sound like something like a spaceship control panel going towards overload- this extra layer adds more of a playful urgency to the track. As the track weaves towards it’s last five or so minutes the more sustained noise drone pitches return once again as it sourly ebbs towards a more slowly seared yet still spacey crescendo.

 

So all told “Surabhi” is worthy slice of psychedelic & spacey electronic based noise matter, with each track here having it’s own charm & detail- yet  all three tracks work well together as a consistent and shifting spaced & seared out whole. Not as good as the first part of the Merzcow trilogy “Kamadhenu”, but never the less a rewarding & consistent Merzbow release.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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