Merzbow Marathon: Hodosan

Merzbow: Hodosan
Vivo (2008)

This is about drums. More than that, it’s about Merzbow getting all sentimental about his days as drummer in Japan’s prog/psych rock scene of the 70s. Hodosan is one giant drum solo with some noise thrown over the top as an after thought.

When Merzbow gets all crazy on his drum kit, I get all “meh”. I’m sure he’s having a blast belting the crap out of his skins, putting down endless drum rolls and smashing a cymbal every other second, but for me it’s all a bit of yawn. There’s something very anti-noise about the records Mr. Akita makes of this nature. Yeah sure you could trace Hodosan’s inspiration back to free-jazz/avant-jazz, but there’s something so Rock n’ Roll Establishment about a drum solo. Listening to Hodosan (and some of those ’13 Japanese Birds’ records, among others) makes me feel like I’m watching some hair metal band. I can see Tommy Lee in his leather G-string pounding away while his drum kit rises off the stage and starts doing 360s.

Maybe I’m missing the joke here? I can’t begrudge Merzbow for making records like this occasionally. He seems to take himself so seriously most of the time, and you know, he’s got this whole ‘king of noise’ crown to bear so you can’t blame the guy for wanting to let his hair down occasionally. Shame it’s so boring when he does.


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