24 September 2009
Merzbau: The Art Of Noise - Is There A Noise Continuum? Part 8
The all-emcompassing, all-engulfing, back-to-the-womb, all-senses-open and at the end of the day, glorious and transcendent blasts of noise from the man who is responsible for "popularising" noise in the 1990s and the noughties: is he a man or a myth? To understand Merzbow, a.k.a. Masami Akita,one need to comprehend the art of total art of the senses. From Bataille to the Surrealists, from free jazz to abstract expressionism, Merzbow is an elemental force of sheer relentless singular vision and focus to craft the ultimate kunstwerk of sonic overload, total tonal suspension in space-time and of course plenty of tinnitus thrown in as well.
Taking his name from dada-ist/Surrealist Kurt Schwitters' on-going art piece of junkyard heap art and material fetishism, Merzbow understands the source of sensual sublime to be posited just above our normal human senses. Obliteration of the senses meant the obliteration of the materialist realm. His noise goes for volume, power but as well as plenty of sensuality. Crafted and nuanced, most of his releases do not pander to the simple turn the volume knob beyond 11 and sustaining it till the attention of the creator fizzle out. His is sonic immersion tinted with intention and eroticism, an element in Noise which many do not see. Similar to the eros, noise is the annihilation of both human emotional and rational reception of one's surroundings and his Noise aims to achieve that. After all, he is an established writer on the art of Japanese bondage in Japan.
His first musical foray into music started in the late 1970s when he was disappointed by most rock musicians stopping at the noisy guitar solos and push the boundary of music and sound in his early output. His first works sounded like European Improv gone wrong, Prog Rock slithering sideway into uncharted territory. Then in the 1980s his sound consolidated to something closer to what most of his later fans are more familiar with: analog-based kling klang. The 1990s was a decade of expansion and refinement of his 1980s sound till the late 1990s when he embraced the digital interface of the laptop computer and to celebrate and say good-bye to his analog years the behemoth 50 CD box set, Merzbox was released on Australian label, Extreme to acclaim and attention.
Today, his output remains prolific, of more than 250 releases to date. Talk about the art of excess, few can equal let alone beat him at the game. Noise of the most glorious kind. Merzbow defines what Noise is all about in its relation to what being a human is than most so-called music out there. Truly art.
To find out more, go to Merz.