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Old 06-14-2013, 11:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Merzbow

Merzbow is a Japanese noise artist from Tokyo (born 1956). His real name is Akita Masami. He took his stage name from the German dadaist Kurt Schwitters project Merzbau (or "junk art building") when, in 1923, Schwitters began to radically redesign the rooms of his family home in Hanover. Merzbau:



Akita grew up listening to and playing psychedelic rock in Japan and listened to a lot of free jazz. He became disillusioned with the whole pot-smoking hippy thing and longed to to do something more conducive to his sensibilities. He enrolled in Tamagawa University as an art major and encountered surrealism, dada and the works of artists as Schwitters.

Afterwards, Akita trashed all concepts of music and became a non-musician (he was a drummer). All concepts as harmony and melody he rejected. I have heard beats in some of his stuff, so he apparently did not reject the concept rhythm.

He is an incredibly prolific artist who has made over 50 CDs (I have around two dozen of them). He has also collaborated with various other artists. His influence in the noise, avant-garde and ambient music scenes is indelible. He is, without a doubt, the king of noise. His material has a harsh, loud, daunting quality to it but he also creates ambient pieces with his own characteristic stamp on it:


Merzbow - Seishi Seppuku Kei - YouTube

The above piece came the CD "Music for Bandage Performance" where he provided a soundtrack for the bondage clubs in Tokyo where this form of expression is taken to an artform.

He uses variety of things to make his music--instruments, found objects, synths, computers. Other bands that have taken a leaf from Akita include Gerogerigegege, Hanatarash, Hydra, Man is the Bastard Noise and a million others (some of whom will probably have you scratching your head because you would have never thought THEY would listen to someone like Merzbow). Probably a lot of electronic games owe something to Merzbow. One guy on Youtube tried to tell me that noise was invented by the white power movement and that without it there wouldn't be this kind of music. I told him he was obviously an idiot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGqzaPzrQG8

I find Akita's stuff strangely relaxing even though it makes the fillings in your teeth rattle at high volume (which is the only way I listen to it--cranked up). Others can't tolerate it. I like to read the comments in youtube from people who hate Akita's stuff. They are quite amusing. It's always funny to see someone's material engender such hostility and anger. If everyone liked it, it wouldn't be worth listening to.


Merzbow - I'm Coming to the Garden...No Sound, No Memory - YouTube

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Old 06-14-2013, 11:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lord Larehip View Post
I find Akita's stuff strangely relaxing even though it makes the fillings in your teeth rattle at high volume (which is the only way I listen to it--cranked up).
I can't listen to Merzbow except for once in a very, very, very long while. Usually I just find it to be unlistenable garbage with no redeeming value other than being able to tell some ear guage wearing Job for a Cowboy fan that I knew something that would make that band look like Britney Spears.

Every once in a blue moon though, I know what you mean about it being relaxing. It's like the "music" overloads your brain and stops all the white noise going on inside your head and resets it. Like reverse meditation or something.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Merzbow is definitely something that doesn't seem like a "casual" listen. Its something that is on the fringes, and I think its conception and textures are the most important part. I don't really listen to them myself though, but I can appreciate it for what it is.

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Old 11-14-2013, 07:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I can't listen to noise "music". I need a rhythm or a melody... anything, just some sort of structure or sense of familiarity to enjoy something I'm listening to. Merzbow/other harsh noise artists that I'm aware of rarely engage anything like that, the only example I can think of is Fvck Buttons but good god who has time to listen to a whole album full of 10 minute tracks? I think noise in general is an interesting concept. There are lots of really interesting textures but without a rhythm, melody, or sense of structure I'm gonna have to agree with Batlord- it has no redeeming listening value and is just noise for the sake of noise.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can't listen to noise "music". I need a rhythm or a melody... anything, just some sort of structure or sense of familiarity to enjoy something I'm listening to. Merzbow/other harsh noise artists that I'm aware of rarely engage anything like that, the only example I can think of is Fvck Buttons but good god who has time to listen to a whole album full of 10 minute tracks? I think noise in general is an interesting concept. There are lots of really interesting textures but without a rhythm, melody, or sense of structure I'm gonna have to agree with Batlord- it has no redeeming listening value and is just noise for the sake of noise.
It sounds like Merzbow is not for you then. While Merzbow is improvisational, not all noise artists are. Maybe you might like this. Or you may not, what do I know.



Note the structure of the piece.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm still strugglin with it. Definitely an improvement over Merzbow though. I think I'll just stick with guitars and drums n ****. Leave this stuff for the art students.
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