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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 - Gomata [Hypnagogia - 2017]

Gomata is the third part of the ‘Merzcow’ trilogy released by UK-based noise label Hypnagogia.  The series started off in 2011 with Kamadhenu, then later that year we got Surabhi, and here some six years on we get Gomata. The other two parts of the ‘Merzcow’ series really saw this Japanese noise legend focus in on the more psychedelic noise scaping side of his sound, and this third part really carries on that focus- offering up four quarter-of-an-hour plus examples of searing, shifting, and spacey examples of psychedelic noise craft.

It’s fair to say that Kamadhenu stands as one of the more memorable & worthy Merz releases of the 2000’s, and while Surabhi  wasn’t quite as good, it certainly had its moments of greatness. So when I saw this had come out, I was most excited to hear the results of this third & final chapter in the ‘Merzcow’ series.

Unlike the other two volumes, this wasn’t recorded in 2011, but comes from October 2015- though there is certainly a similar sound pallet & focus present here, so it does deserver to be seen as part of the ‘Merzcow’ trilogy. On the whole, I’d say it’s not as good or wholly consistent as Gomata , but on par with Surabhi.


Opening up proceedings we have the title track, and this comes in at just shy of the eighteen-minute mark. The whole thing starts off in great pared-back manner with almost a eastern-ritual-spacy vibe. Bringing together a fairly uninformed scrubbing & rumbling textural background, with a baying mid-ranged noise tone stretch. The backdrop summons up a brooding-yet-building ceremonial atmosphere, while the tone stretches sound like baying ritual bone horns, or similar. Fairly soon more layers are added into the mix, and we dive fully into cascading, swirling, and twisting psychedelic noise scaping. We move from phaser like stretches & laser-like slices, sliding through tunnels of thick ‘n’ deep noise roar. Onto Slamming junk & percussive unevenness, flying though reverberating corridors of noise sear ‘n’ scrub. Through to  more dense-yet- spiraling lower-to-mid range space craft like hover, that’s blended with rushing roasts & screaming bays.  In the last minute or so we return to more strip-back feel- with uneven bashed percussion & more sustained horn like bays which nicely brings us back to ritual vibe of the start.  The tracks certainly a nice start to the proceedings, and one of my favorite moments here.

Next up we have “Dharma The Bull”, and this is the longest track here at just under the eighteen & a half minute mark. The track opens it quite a nightmarishly searing & mournfully sour manner- bringing together long baying screaming feedback trails over dragged out gong like rubbings. Fairly soon more layers of roasting-yet- sliding noise drones are added to the mix, as are more swirling screams of feedback & simmering drifts of psychedelic clouds boiling & baying noise. One again this tracks fairly shifting & varied in its feel, with a churning-yet-buried almost tribal sub-groove appearing at times- so there are some worthy moments along the way. Though as a whole it didn’t grab me as much as the first track.

Track number three comes in the form of the just shy of seventeen-minute track “One Leg Kaliyug Bull”. And I found this the least successful track here - as it just felt a little too shape-less in its seared psychedelic noise free falling. Sure there are some interesting moments, but too much of it just passed me by in roasting ‘n’ seared mass.

Lastly we have “Bhumidev”, and this just over fifteen & half minute tracks is another one of the stand-out moments here. It starts in a most moody-yet- seared emotional feel- bringing together a mix of stretched-out baying & screaming noise tones, and rubbing low-end synth scrubs. The baying elements have almost a sour & sad harmonic feel to them, and Merzbow just keeps stretching & sailing these out with a growing blend of more psychedelic synth pulls ‘n’ drones, & scrubbing thinner noise detail.  And in the last few minutes, we get a this buried & mournful rhythmic yet slurred churning in the guts of the track, which really ends the track off nicely. Unlike the previous track Merzbow feels completely  in control of his noise-craft, creating this very emotional-yet- space bound slice of psychedelic noise wonder.

I’m so glad with Gomata we finally got the last part of the ‘Merzcow’ Trilogy, and while it’s all not completely successful. There are moments of great-ness here, and if you enjoyed the other two parts of the trilogy, or Merzbow when he’s more searingly psychedelic -it really is worth a look. Though if you are thinking of picking it up, I’d act sooner than later as its limited to just 200 copies.

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

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