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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 - Exoking [Old Captain - 2018]

Here we have a recently uncovered work from Merzbow that dates back to the mid-1990’s. And it shows the Japanese king of noise throwing into the mix drum machine textures,  decidedly harmonic electronica, and dance beats- through the lose/ playful noise/ loop structure side of things is very much kept in place. Meaning the release works as a halfway house/ missing link between his 90’s analog work, and the later Merz-beat albums.

The release comes in the form of a CD- this appears on Ukraine based noise/ industrial label Old Captain. The four-panel digipack case takes in monochrome pictures of an industrial tower, and a line of weird circular windows. The pressing comes in a fairly small edition of 300 copies…so if you fancy this, it’s best to get it sooner than later.

The CD takes in a single just under the forty-one-minute track, and this opens up with a blend of snapping electro beats, weird wavering voices, and this dragged out & sneering horn sample- all sounding like gone wrong – sassy stage show music.  Slowly but surely the layers of screaming & baying noise start to edge in, and these are joined with wondering & disorientating sweeps of percussive matter. 

At around the fifth minute, the horn sample has dispersed, and we get a new electro beat pattern kicking-in. This is joined by speed-up easy listening /string twiddling, bass noise synth hits,  a wonderful array of wonky drum machine batters, nervy noise textures, and longer baying noise swirls & sears.  I won’t go into detail the rest of the tracks unfold here, as it would become a little tiresome & I feel it's going ruin the full effect of the release. But trust me it’s a wonderful eventful, playful, and creative track from Merzbow.

Following on from last years excellent Escape Mask( on Other Voices Records ) here’s another rediscovered gem of creative noise ‘n’ beat bound sound craft from Merzbow. Thorough-out he sounds like he’s having a hell of a time, and this makes for a really quirky, shifting, and unpredictable release- which will carry on offering up surprises & new details even after many plays.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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