I got into music backwards. I started with the excesses of Merzbow and the murderous overkill of the Swans, and then reversed gears into more conventional territory. And even then I was still going backwards: I didn’t start my Coltrane collection with A Love Supreme, but rather Ascension. By the time I’d fallen back into something like normal territory, my ears had already been prepared for most anything they might encounter.
And yet I keep being surprised — especially by Merzbow himself, whose encyclopedic catalog of releases grows by at least thirty or forty discs a year. There are many releases that repeat each other — I’m not sure the lay listener will sense much difference between Noisembryo and Green Wheels (I do, but that’s another story) — but at this stage in his career he’s found ways to challenge himself and explore new territory all the time, even if only incrementally. To that end, 13 Birds is fast shaping up to be the open-ended successor to all the ideas Merzbow only touched on or hinted at with Door Open At 8AM. Read more