Blossoming Noise (2007)
Mr Akita’s Merzbow project generally does away with musical traditions. There are occasions though when Mr Akita does reference convention, such as the beat heavy Merzbird and Merzbeat records, or here on Zophorus where atmosphere and emotion come into play.
These five compositions are more than an exercise in noise. Layers of sound combine to create a blinding ambience, like a snowstorm that’s thick, hazy, horribly loud, disorienting, suffocating and completely intangible. Zophorus isn’t one of Merzbow’s ‘bang, crash and buzz’ records, it’s a hypnotising wall of noise akin to Merzbear. I like this side of Mr Akita, a lot.
Most of Zophorus features droning guitars buried somewhere in the mix that remind of me KTL, and this is what sets the record apart for me. There’s something very human about what he’s doing here and there are so many subtle sounds beneath the scrum. On track three there’s almost a melody, reminiscent of an old school Nintendo game, that bleats faintly somewhere in the mist. On track four, Merzbow samples the crow of his beloved Roosters, something I didn’t hear until listening to this with head phones in bed late one night. The animals’ voices start off legitimate before being warped into a zany squeal. The final track features a fantastic glitchy pulse, an industrial techno rhythm like Wolf Eyes melting down.
Listening to Merzbow in bed as I drift off to sleep might sound weird, but that’s the beauty of this facet to his sound. When he’s in the mood he’s capable of building unconventional but warm and appealing sound scapes; disorienting clouds of nothingness that render you blind but floating gently in space.