Jan 9, 2008

Merzbow makes crap an art form (that's meant to be a compliment, by the way)


Merzbow used to construct art from rubbish before he pioneered Japanese noise music.

If you don't know, Japanese Noise Music is Japanese, it just sounds like noise, and some people think it's music. I'm not sure where the name comes from.

Anyhoo, now Merzbow makes art from the unwanted noises we often cast away: static, radio fuzz, analogue glitches and machine hums. Still art from rubbish, then.

It's a sound that has served him well: he has a discography that's as long as your arm, but only if you're some long-armed freak who's spent too much time on the rack in your Uncle Cranford's secret torture chamber.

The latest ambient addition to that discography is an album called Higanbana, which literally translated means "you told me this was like Sigur Ros, I want my money back." If you're the sort of oddbod who hears music in the urgent clatter of a train or enjoys scratched muzak CDs stuttering over the speakers in Poundland, then you need this album. If, on the other hand, that sort of thing sounds like an audio atrocity, I'll never be able to persuade you that this extreme, experimental, harsh landscape is actually quite a nice place to visit.

Onto other things. Brighton's Square Records is the new home for iTAL tEK, and thank bigbeat for that because the eponymous title track from his new Deep Pools EP is my track of the week. If I did a track of the week. Which I don't.

A slow moving, spacious take on dub techno, with wheezing synths and heroin-flattened echoes of William Orbit's Water From A Vine Leaf, this record drips with the sort of hope lacking from his darker material previously offered on parent label Planet µ.

Like spacious? Klimek's Dedications is brooding and filmic, which make sense with titles like For Stephen Speilberg And Azza El Hassan. This mile-wide ambience is more suited to the plains of America than its home in Germany, and will appeal to fans of Deaf Center. (You can download a Klimek video by clicking here.)

And finally, a bit less minimal and slightly the worse for it is Vessel's Pictureland 01. It's lovely to have a chill-out album that doesn't have a picture of bloody Ibiza on the cover, but I don't think this release will change the fact that Vessel will eventually kick the bucket and his epitaph will be "'im off the Pet Shop Boys' Back To Mine complilation".

It's a fine way to remembered, but not as fine as making art out of a binful of crap.



Anonymous said...

You may be right but I'm trying my ass off!



Fat Roland said...

Crikey, I've just googled you and you're not wrong.

Anyone with their own IMDB page (36 films and counting) is trying a lot harder than I ever will.