Merzbow – Tauromachine (Relapse) 1998


My journey through the world of Merzbow continues. I don’t plan to rehash my thoughts from my post on 1930. Those comments still stand. Everyone experiences this sort of music differently. Some let the sound wash over them and others (me included) get excited by the detail. If you experience Merzbow like I do then Tauromachine is well worthwhile tracking down. I still struggle to describe this noise but here are five thoughts I had while listening to Tauromachine.

1. If ever an album cover summed up the music contained on the disc, Tauromachine would have to be up there. Notice how the two sides of the pink blobby object seem to be about to crash into each other like a tsunami. See the black, negative space that it’s about to destroy. Notice how the image in the blobs is all woozy like it’s oscillating and pulsing. It kind of look likes reality is being stretched and in a painful way.

2. Speaking of pain don’t play Track 4 too loud. I did. Uncomfortable.

3. When I listen to a Merzbow record I lose the ability to recognise the difference between a pulse, tone or beat.

4. There is a moment early in Track 3, Soft Water Rhinoceras where the sound is manipulated so it sounds like a babbling brook and it’s not until you listen to it again that you realise that its an oscillating digital tone of some sort. I thought that was very clever.

5. Merzbow does what he does pretty consistently. Some might question why anyone would need more than a couple of his records. My answer to that is because he does what he does so well.

One Response to “Merzbow – Tauromachine (Relapse) 1998”

  1. I think I know of a way for you to figure out what is on the cover of this CD.

    A while back I purchased a book ‘The Magic Mirror: An Antique Optical Toy’ (ISBN:0486238474) by McLaughlin Bros which is published by Dover Publications. When you place the rolled up sheet of included silver mylar into a tube and put next to an anamorphic image the ‘mirror’ shows it’s original shape.

    You can get this book used on Amazon for under $2 or can view some of the anamorphic images on Google Books. Just pop in the ISBN.

    I have a six supposedly representative Merzbow CDs (from 1986-1998) and was thinking of getting this, but didn’t. I think I read that ‘Akasha Gulva’ is supposed to be a good live concert, and probably would have purchased it, but it is now OOP. For something different, you also might want to search out his collaboration with Alex Empire: ‘Live CBGB’s NYC 1998’, for a noise-Rotterdam hardcore sound.

    I guess I find Masonna a better (i.e more disturbing) noise artist. His vocals add a lot. Though, while Merzbow still finds new ways to explore noise, Masonna seems to have reached a dead end.

    You might enjoy some of these earlier ‘noisy’ compositions – Max Neuhaus – Fontana Mix-Feed (1965-1966), John Cage/David Tudor ‘Variations II’ for phono styli and piano strings (1968), Iannis Xenakis – Persepolis (1971) or La Légende d’Eer (1978), Iancu Dumitrescu – Pierres Sacrées (1991). I’m certain that there are other noise fans who could suggest better recordings.

    When a composer/noise artist tries something without resorting to electronic means (which it sounds like Merzbow does), it sounds more impressive, but that’s just me….

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