Merzbow - Sphere [Tzadik - 0000]Sphere was a very pleasant surprise (not sure if Pleasant is the right word). I’d always been curious about Merzbow’s work, but firstly I didn’t know where to start. He must be one of the most prolific artist’s around seemly popping out a new album every few months.
Then of course there was the fear that it would have ltd play time. I’d play it once, and then only pull out now and then. When I felt very nihilistic and wanted a hit of white hot noise.But as it turns out it’s very composed and musical in places. Sure it’s still very noisy but there are textures and atmosphere that are very tangible.
First up is Sphere part 1 which is built around drum rolls, bouncing off each other to wonderful ominous effect. The start of the track really brings to mind the music used on Dario Argento’s Suspiria. When the first murder acurrs and the student is hung and dropped though the art deco stained glass ceiling. Then the track starts to get more hectic and clastropic. With sinister bass swells, caustically cut by distorted drum like noise. It really has the feeling off some jittery video footage of some unconceivable ritual sacrifice, lit by swing red light.
Sphere Part 2 the bass is more defined, flecked by raw static sound and odd sort nearly rhythmic taping. It almost comes off like much gone wrong funk; he builds superb contours in the sound. Building up feasting fields of burning static then dropping out again, though out he uses the element of surprise and depth of sound to keep you interested.
Sphere Part 3 again is quite different- really having the vibe of endless grimy white hospitals corridors .Echoing with sounds of bones been drilled, and erratic decaying iron lungs pumping away. It has such an air of tension about it, building on it’s self with more and more layers of sound. Later on a sound like burning out hart monitors appears licked by hellish noise. But though out it stays structured and you can clearly see that it has been composed.
The last track Untitled for vasteras starts off with layered crackles and odd balloon rubbing like sound. slowly add on are more layers and layers of sound. What sounds like a dog bark looped, feasting of thousand flies. Building up to a building shredding hurricane of sound, this is more what I expected Merzbow to sound like.Eight minutes in a machine like tribal rhythm drops in under the burning static, like some bizarre wind up eastern procession toy. The track really twists and turns over its 29 minute running time, elements drop in and are added.
So if you’re looking for a way into Merzbow’s massive catalogue. Or just interested in extreme sound art performed well, Check this out.