Merzbow – Coma Berenices (Vivo) 2007


I’ve spent a fair bit of time on this blog trying to explain my reaction to Merzbow. When I read the majority of the posts there seems to be a theme based around which record encapsulates the best entry point for someone thinking of dabbling in his vast back catalogue. So as not to fuck with that theme, if I was new to this Merzbow thing I’d probably steer clear of Coma Berenices until I’d  navigated elsewhere first.

But for the initiated Merzbow listener, Coma Berenices is an absolute cracker of a record. It came out around the time of Merzbear and I’ll be honest this is a much better record. It’s dense, almost lush in it’s approach to noise. It’s certainly guitar heavy but leaves the beat heaviness of the “Merz” series behind. I’m still not clear on the whole analogue/digital divide but I read somewhere that this is one of his analogue works. I have no idea if that is right so lets just go with that. The tracks themselves are some of the most rewarding Merzbow works I’ve heard to date. This is one of the only Merzbow records where my ears don’t become “concerned with recognisable, familiar and friendly musical mechanics and motifs”. But it is still worth pointing out that there is this magic track towards the end, “Silky Feather”, which to these ears sounds like Merzbow attempting a doom track (seriously). Coma Berenices is intermediate level Merzbow. It’s now time to tackle Pulse Demon.

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