Merzbow - Ecobondage(Vinyl & CD reissue) [menstrualrecordings - 2015]Here we have a much deserved re-issue of the one classic Merzbow noise works. Originally released on ZSF Produkt(Merzbows' own label) in 1987- this reissue appears in the form of a CD & double vinyl set on respected Italian noise/ industrial/ experimental Menstrual Recordings in a edition of just 250 copies.
The set features the two vinyl records & one CD coming in a sleeve that features: a Paste-on cover with replicas of the original cover art. As well as including a numbered card, a new insert with an unpublished 1980s design, and an updated version of one of the original inserts. All in all it’s a nice looking item that mangers to recreate late 80’s harsh noise packaging.
The release consists of two noise suites- on the vinyl each are split in half, with half a suite on either side of vinyl. On the CD we get just two tracks. And both suite/ tracks are great creative, rewarding & twisting mixes of junk metal, found elements, tape manipulations, and generally creative harsh noise craft.
For ease of review & track separation I’ll be reviewing the CD version of the release, and its two tracks. So first up on the cd we have Ecobondage Part 1- taking in: Ecobondage, Prison Of Takaou, and Blow-Up- this comes in at just over the thirty minute mark. The track opens with a dense, detailed & fairly manic mix of layers of junk metal activity, what sounds likes slowed & stretched-out/ farting horn textures, & dog barks. With in a three minutes we get speed-up easy listening tape reels, chains piling, junk band almost jazz rhythm tinged precision, and more junk manipulation added to the mix. As the minutes tick by the track moves along with interesting & slowly shifting textural detail all creating this feel of chaotic & manic-ness , yet perfectly planned & slightly dada tinged noise-making. I won’t detail every moment here, as I think that takes away from the surprise of the whole thing, but we get the following elements moving through the tracks layers- brooding & sinister church organ simmer, layers of cantering junk precision & screaming tape reels, and spinning layers of oscillating & searing bell tones blended with strange moans/ wails.
Track two comes in the form of Ecobondage Part 2- taking in: HA HA HO BARI(MARI), Balloon, Contraction, and Ending. This track is slightly longer than the first track at just of the thirty six minute mark. This suite once again starts off very dense with a mix of: deep stretching, forking noise gallops, shrieking junk noise shifts, and baying speed-up tape loops. With-in a few minutes we get layers of spiking & swirling Merz electro noise tones added to still extremely dense sonic picture, but for all it’s mass you get still fell that there is purpose & rewarding sonic development going on. As the track moves on their seems slowly expanding feel of space & atmosphere deep with-in the manic layers- as this slow droning junk forking element is added to a back drop of manically forking junk layers, weird baying & guttural horn work, screeching noise piles, and eerier tolling bell element. Just like the first track there is a heck of a lot of sonic detail moving through the tracks thick noise layers, but just also just like the first track it’s creative, well placed & rewarding through-out. I guess you’d say this track is a bit more moody, ominous & at times musical in it’s feel, as we move through more stripped back drifts of brooding yet baying synth drones & chopping/ swirling alien noise textures. And even at one point an organised elector beat texture(for a minute or so). Once again there’s lots of movement & shifting with-in the track, but I won’t detail too much here as it takes away from the whole impact & surprise of the whole thing.
So all told this is a very classy & nicely put together reissue of one of Merzbow’s classic noise works, and really any self respecting noise fan should not be with-out it!. But I would advise acting fast as this is ltd to just 250 copies, which I’m sure will disappear very quickly.Roger Batty