Review Summary: 1930 brings the pain.
Having released over 300 CD’s and cassettes Merzbow (also known as Masami Atika) has been on the music scene since 1979. Using mostly laptops and analog synthesizers Atika is able to come up with a cluster*** of berserk beats, erratic tape effects, and loud, ear-pearcing sounds. It’s difficult for me to throw Merzbow into a certain genre because his music is so startlingly unconventional. Although some Merzbow purists rag on 1930
for being to conventional do not let that fool you, 1930
is one of the harshest and boisterous records that I have ever heard.
Upon first listen you may feel as though your walkman is broken. Atika relentlessly fuses together harsh beats with noisy, chaotic sound effects. In certain segments of “Degradation of Tapes” it sounds like an airplane is coming to a crash, sometimes Atika will take things so far that he’ll throw in a thunderous beeping effect for a couple of minutes without any other accompaniment. Featuring three tracks over twelve minutes long 1930
never lets up. It’s almost impossible to count how many times these songs shift from ambient keyboard touches, to an assault of booming beats, to full on noise attacks. The production is surprisingly clean, capturing every laptop bleep and noise explosion. These various laptop effects and odd blasts of avant-garde droning make Mr. Bungle seem like Nickelback.
While I’ll admit that I enjoy listening to 1930
every once in a blue moon it seems more like sitting in a torture chamber then it does listening to an album. I can only take so much of Atika’s excruciating beats and roaring invasions before I go insane. It’s extremely difficult to describe the actual sounds that Atika comes up with, a good portion of 1930
is just ferocious noise without any sense of rhythm or melody. That being said there are also slices of the album that contain a nice array of beats, and occasionally a colorful palette of electronic effects, but these are mostly found within a couple of minutes during the title track. I believe I would enjoy this album a lot more if Merzbow had an even balance of electronic effects and harsh noise attacks, but unfortunately 1930
is dominated by the former.
Granting a two star rating may seem a little harsh 1930
is so challenging and complex that I can hardly stand to listen to it in full. Being a casual fan of other noise-rock acts such as Wolf Eyes, Lightning Bolt, and Death Squad, Merzbow does take “noise-rock” to the extreme. If you’re looking for some loud, brutal, and relentless noise music then 1930
should be right up your ally. Just consider yourself warned....