Review Summary: The first CD of Merzbow's legendary 'Merzbox' is anything but.MERZBOX
Sometimes, artists will release boxsets of three, four, maybe even five CDs. For any band to release fifty
CDs would be a huge accomplishment, even if it took them their whole careers to do so. Merzbow, on the other hand, didn't make a three, four, or five CD boxset; he made a fifty CD boxset. Yes, fifty CDs. Of noise music.
Before you dismiss this collection as a bunch of random noise (which, I'll admit, it sounds like at times), you have to realize that whether or not you want to accept it or not, this is a genre of music. Merzbow, often referred to as the King of Noise, has done something completely remarkable here with this mammoth set. The first thirty CDs are reissues of old, rare Merzbow albums; the final twenty are all of new material. Releasing twenty CDs at once, for almost any other artist, would be basically impossible; but not Merzbow.
The first CD of the 'Merzbox
', which I am reviewing right now, requires some back-story. It was the first Merzbow release ever recorded, in 1979. However, it was never released until this collection. And what is it like, you ask" Well, I'm going to tell you right now.
As you first start the CD up, you may think your speakers are broken. It sounds like a low hum, and nothing else. Eventually, a beat comes in in the background, but it's very quiet, and sounds more like something being hit than an actual drum beat. After about eight and a half minutes, I think this song must nearly be done, I look at how much time is left to go- a little over twenty-three minutes is still left. This first track, entitled 'Om Electrique Part 1
', is very long, and also very repetitive. This is just not a very good track. But will part two be any better" As 'OM Electrique Part 2
' starts up, I am hopeful that this track will have something more to it than it's predecessor. Alas, it starts with that same low hum; albeit, with something else in the background. Unfortunately, this song sounds exactly like the previous song
. Besides some minor changes to the background beat, that low hum is still there, and the differences between the two tracks are few and far between.
Track three, 'Untitled Taped Drum Solo
' is good track. It starts out with something that sounds like a broken amp or TV aerial, and then turns into the sounds of birds. A background beat comes in with a muffled sound to it. It actually sounds like a drum set, although it has an odd tone to it. This song is basically a drum solo with birds sounds over top, and while definitely a much better track than the last two, it's still very long at almost nine and a half minutes. 'Untitled Guitar Solo
', the final track, starts out with some cool effects. For some reason, it reminds me of a broken vacuum cleaner. Then it becomes more atmospheric and starts sounding like space. Then it almost sounds like someone talking. After this, it sounds like someone fiddling around with a broken guitar or a broken banjo.
And that's the first CD of the 'Merzbox
'. The first two tracks, 'OM Electrique Part 1
' and 'OM Electrique Part 2
', are almost painfully repetitive and dull, but the final two tracks, 'Untitled Taped Drum Solo
and 'Untitled Guitar Solo
', are significantly better, although still fairly repetitive. If there were more variety here, then this album would get a much higher score. As it is though, the repetitiveness bogs this CD's final mark down. If you are a Merzbow fanatic, then you might
enjoy this. However, everyone one else will probably be bored out of their skull for a good portion of this CD.