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Merzbow

From Academic Kids

Merzbow is the name used by Japanese musician Masami Akita (秋田昌美 Akita Masami) (born 1956) for most of his experimental noise records. He has released many CDs, LPs and cassettes since the early 1980s, and is regarded as one of the most important noise musicians working today.

Contents

Biography

Masami Akita was born in Tokyo in 1956. He listened to psychedelic music, progressive rock and later free jazz in his youth, and all have influenced his music; his album Aqua Necromancer, for instance, samples progressive rock drum lines, while Doors Open At 8am samples free jazz. Later he went to Tamagawa University to study art. It was there that he learned of Kurt Schwitters' Merz, or art made from rubbish, including Schwitters' Merzbau, or "Merz building". This the source of the name Merzbow.

Music

Early days

His earliest music was made with tape loops, and has been compared to Throbbing Gristle. He released his music on cassettes through his own record label, Lowest Music & Arts, which was founded in 1979. In the early 1980s, he founded a second label, ZSF Produkt. Since then, he has released records on a large number of labels, including Mego and Tzadik.

Later recordings

He later began to use more electronic instruments and electric guitars, but his music still consisted of what most people would think of as "noise". In the past few years, Merzbow has begun to use digital technology more in his music. At a live performance these days, it is normal for him to produce all his music with a single laptop computer. This has dismayed some of his fans.

In 2000, the Extreme record label released Merzbox, a 50 CD set of Merzbow records, 20 of them not previously released. The set also included badges, postcards, posters and various other Merzbow collectibles.

In 2002, he released "Merzbeat"; which was seen as a significant departure from his trademark abstract style in that it contains beat-oriented pieces. This has sparked some controversy among fans, though some older Merzbow recordings, including some discs from the Merzbox, are also rhythmically focused. Still, the album was more so than anything Merzbow released in the past 10 or 15 years, and was more widely available than the earlier recordings. 2004's "Merzbird" followed in a similar vein.

Collaborations

Occasionally Akita is joined by other musicians, such as Genesis P-Orridge, Otomo Yoshihide, Cock E.S.P. and Mike Patton, but records made under the Merzbow name are usually by him alone.

Partial Discography

  • Rainbow Electronics (1990)
  • Music for Bondage Performances (1991)
  • Batztoutai With Memorial Gadgets (1993)
  • Venereology (1994)
  • Ecobondage (1995)
  • Rainbow Electronics II (1996)
  • Music for Bondage Performances 2 (1996)
  • Oersted (1996)
  • Pulse Demon (1996)
  • Aqua Necromancer (1998)
  • 1930 (1998)
  • Tauromachine (1998)
  • Doors Open at 8am (2000)
  • Dharma (2001)
  • Frog (2001)
  • MAZK (with Zbigniew Karkowski) (2001)
  • Amlux (2002)
  • Merzbeat (2002)
  • Merzbird (2004)
  • Partikel (with Nordvargr) (2004)
  • Sha Mo 3000 (2004)
  • Bariken (2005)

One of the most complete Merzbow discographies is available at this (http://www.oppositerecords.com/artists/merzdiscog.html) website.

Sound sample

  • Media:Merzbow_Dharma.ogg - an excerpt of "I'm coming to the garden..... no sound, no memory" from Merzbow's album Dharma (2001) (ogg format, 12 seconds, 94KB)

de:Merzbow nl:Merzbow

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