“Merzbow’s back (you knew he would be) … ” So read the first few words of the blurb for another Merzbow disc, Merzbuta, but the same sentiment could apply to just about any Merzdisc. Just when you think the guy’s exhausted every possible permutation of his approach to sound (or music, or noise, or whatever term doesn’t shock you), he dives back in as if he were a fresh young thing still pasting together his photocopied album covers in his parent’s attic.
He’s also never been one to shrink away from the kind of conceptual productions that would make most other people wince, or at least shield their wallets protectively. The concept for the 50-disc-and-then-some Merzbox was madness enough, but he and the folks at Extreme in Australia banged heads to make it happen. The result was the single most ambitious documentation of any one artist’s output in a single commercial unit; it’s right up there with the Ya Ho Wha 13: God and Hair set, the Miles Davis archive box sets being produced by Sony, the 13-CD Kan Mikami set PSF put out, and maybe even also the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs LP box set of the entire Beatles catalog. Read more
Most anything with the “dark ambient” or “illbient” labels can be traced back to Brian Williams, aka Lustmørd, even if he’s not all that thrilled with such a descriptor. He’s also managed to balance a career of providing scores and effects for Hollywood movies (hey, it’s nice work if you can get it!) with creating albums of music that summon the void in the space between your speakers. It wasn’t hard for me to become a fan of his work — it got to the point where all he had to do was wave a hand in the general direction of a record and I’d pick it up.
That explains how I ended up with some of the more truly curious records in his catalog. Exhibit A for the prosecution: his strange techno / dance / illbient (ill-beat-i-ent?) one-off project Terror Against Terror (Psychological Warfare Technology Systems) so named for a track from one of his earlier discs, and which due to record-label incompetence ended up floating around in limbo for almost four years. Exhibit B: this even more oddball disc, “an ode to the terrible cost of society’s love affair with cars”, as Soleilmoon’s press release put it. Read more