Eine Stunde Merzbauten - 7305 [Napalmed - 2014]
So here’s a blast from the (recent) past: Eine Stunde Merzbauten’s 7305 arrives in a very black digipak that gives very little away, featuring just track titles, and high contrast, black on black photos of band members. I say blast from the past because the Czech project features Radek Kopel of Napalmed (project and label) who old heads will recognise as an active and prolific musician and tape/CDR trader back in the day (and still active!); I say ‘recent’ because this album was actually released in 2014. Eine Stunde Merzbauten is an ‘industrial noise revival’ band which plays noisy improv/improv noise in tribute to noise acts, and on 7305 they pay homage to Napalmed, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Merzbow across three tracks and about 78 minutes. The three tracks are mashed into one long piece on the CD, but for the curious they are: ‘ádná Hudba Znamená Hluk,’ ‘Deutsch Rum Im Wasserturm,’ and ‘Japahnis.’
7305 begins with junk noise, punctuated by blasts of thicker noise and coated with synth squiggles, before buried, distorted vocals enter the fray. It won’t strip the paint from your walls, but it’s abrasive enough. Following this, there’s more subdued sections with percussion and shuddering electronics, and this whole beginning passage sets out the stall for the first ‘Napalmed’ third of the album. The second section, ‘Deutsch Rum Im Wasserturm,’ saluting Einstürzende Neubauten, ploughs a similar furrow but has pronounced percussive elements. It’s perhaps the most effective part of 7305, displaying a sense of space and tension; there are waves of bass noise lurking, but the overall sound is built around metal percussion and smaller sounds - synth chirps, and stressed electronics - giving it a more focussed, articulate, dynamic presence. The final third, the ‘Merzbow’ part, is the most noisy part, with a much more aggressive, dense, and harsh sound. It’s the one section of the album that really attempts to pummel the listener, though the group perhaps suffers from being unable to perform the quick turns and shifts that a solo performer might.
This is a solid album, and I certainly enjoyed the last two-thirds of 7305, which compliment each other well. In a perfect world dictated by me, the ‘Einstürzende Neubauten’ section would have had more space, and the ‘Merzbow’ section would be more blown out, and indeed the track itself would have been split into three - but I don’t rule the world, so these are selfish grievances I mention merely so show my thinking. This was the debut Eine Stunde Merzbauten release, so I must admit I’m intrigued to hear their more recent work.Martin P