Merzbow
Merzbeat


3.0
good

Review

by Lambda USER (66 Reviews)
April 19th, 2009 | 58 replies | 7,807 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Calculated madness, courtesy of Merzbow.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Merzbow is quite an odd fellow. Considered a pioneer of Japanese noise music, he has released over 500 (!) albums. In fact, this year alone he's already released five albums; three of which are part of an upcoming 13-CD set. Compare this to bands who release one album every three or four years and it makes them look lazy.

Noise music is definately not for everybody. It is basically loud and unsettling noises created using various mehods, including laptops, metal sheets, blocks of wood, etc. Noise tracks generally exceed eight minutes in length. I am by no means an expert on the subject though, as Merzbow is really the first noise artist I've ever listened too. This CD, however, mixes up the traditional formula by adding drumbeats behind the cacophony of sound. Not only does this make the music slightly more palatable for first-time listeners, but it adds more musically, something that noise music generally lacks. Another good thing about this album is the recording quality- you can hear every weird effect, and the drum beats and backing tracks sound great.

The album opens up with 'Promotion Man', which is one of my favourite 'songs' on the album. It opens up with an odd sound that I remember reading somewhere is a supposed to be a chainsaw. Drums come in quickly with a simple bass-bass-snare pattern. After about forty seconds of this, noise comes in overtop; however, it still manages to sound musical because of the backing track. The sonic soundscape on this song really works, and before long the drums change in tone and pattern and the noise becomes more abrasive, digging into your skull. Some of the sound on this song are so weird that you'll say, "What the...?" The drum beat starts to do weirder patterns towards the end of the song, such as doubling.

The longest song on the album, 'Forgotten Land', is up next. At over thirteen minutes, this song is by no means short. It starts with an actual riff, qhich is quickly bakced by a drum beat that sounds like it's swirling around your head because the volume and tone keep changing. Eventually the riff and drum bat change, and interspersed are Merzbow's noises, which disrupt the track for about a half second at a time, beofre eventually coming over top. The end of this track contains some really morphed police-siren sounding things. This song can get a bit repetitive at times, but then again, so can the whole album.

'Shadow Barbarian (Long Mix)' is next. It starts with some faint, low noises and an electronic drum beat, and at the 3-minute mark something that sound sort of like a keyboard comes in playing a riff. Then after the keyboard stos, in come some weird noises courtesy of Mr. Merzbow. The whole track around the six minute, forty-four second mark, making way for a different drum beat, a violin (yes, a violin), and some more wierd noises. Towards the end of the song come some of Merzbow's fantastic noises. This is a loud and unsettling part of the track, but if you focus hard enough on the weird noises, you can hear that it isn't just random noises that Merzbow plastered on top of one another and stuffed on to the album- this is well thought out, calculated madness.

'Tadpole', the most mellow song on the album, is the penultimate track. It starts out with a long organ note, with some background sounds getting steadily louder. A new layer is added to this track every so often. While this track does contain some loud noises towards the end of the end of the song, they aren't as intimidating as some of the other sounds on the album, making this track more laid back and user-friendly than a lot of the other songs on the record.

The last song on the album is 'Looping Jane (Beat Mix)', and this is definately the loudest and strangest song on the album. It opens up normally enough, with the drm beat and background riff that we're used to by now- then the drum beat gets louder, with some very distorted cymbal hits. Then the drums stop for a second and come back in. Then we are treated to some beeps and weird 'powering up' noises (you kinda have to hear the song to know what I mean there). Then the backing track gets fainter again, and some weird noises come in. The rest of this song sounds a lot like a rusty chainsaw rubbing against a sheet of metal, with somebody playing a backing track that can only be faintly heard in the background. If you want to freak someone out with a song from this album, then this would be the song to choose.

'Merzbeat' is definately an interesting album that really requires repeated listens. Many people will not get the seemingly random bursts of noise, and even music fanatics can find Merzbow's music to challenging and abrasive a listen. Really, there is so much detail on this album though that in order to get the full experience, you really have to listen to it more than once. I'm docking some points because a some of the tracks just go on for too long, and the last track ends rather abruptly. If you want to try something out there, then check this album out.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
April 19th 2009



14504 Comments


you beat the tracklisting good job

HailToTheThief
April 19th 2009



144 Comments


Merzbow always has sick album art. good review.

natey
April 20th 2009



4170 Comments


really nice review

Lambda
April 20th 2009



2339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the compliments guys, and (I'm assuming it was natey5280) thanks for the plus!

Bitchfork
July 18th 2010



7584 Comments


This is one of the worst Merzbow releases ever.

Lambda
August 13th 2010



2339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How so?

EDIT: OMG THIS WAS MY 1000TH POST!

Terrifyer
August 13th 2010



3403 Comments


not hipster enough

Bitchfork
August 13th 2010



7584 Comments


No, it's just really boring and repetitive. As well it's nowhere near as emotional or enthralling as his other works - but if you put comparisons aside it's still lacking in both those departments. 1930, Venereology, Green Wheels, Dharma, and Flare Gun are quintessential Merzbow. That's what you should be looking for, not this.

Bitchfork
August 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Congrats on 1000, btw.

Enotron
August 13th 2010



7695 Comments


lol at his other works being emotional

Bitchfork
August 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Dude are you retarded? His works are basically symbols of his anger towards animal, sexual, and personal abuse, reflected in his philosophy and his string of novels. It's really apparent, too.

Terrifyer
August 13th 2010



3403 Comments


shut up MichaelJordan

Enotron
August 13th 2010



7695 Comments


well if i take a shit, take a picture of it and tell everybody that this work of art expresses anger towards the plumbing system, is it emotional?

Lambda
August 13th 2010



2339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm not a big Merzbow junkie, I only have this, 1930, and the Merzbox. I'm interested in getting Venereology, though, after hearing that it's his take on death metal and grindcore.

And wow, I didn't even realize that was my 1000th post.

Enotron
August 13th 2010



7695 Comments


venereology is his worst. 1930 is alright at times.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2010



16126 Comments


Get Merzbear.

Bitchfork
August 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Venereology is shallow, I'll admit, but the music is better than much of his catlog. 1930 is amazing, as is Merzbear.

Bitchfork
August 13th 2010



7584 Comments


No, Eno, because that's obvious. Merzbow's music lies between the ambiguous and literal senses, which make it what it is.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2010



30316 Comments


I live in between

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

Bitchfork
August 13th 2010



7584 Comments


The In-Betweeners



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