Richard Pinhas and Merzbow – Keio Line (Cuneiform) 2008


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Had I actually heard this last year, it may well have displaced the unbelievably good Burning Star Core’s Challenger from the top spot on my Best of 2008 list. I’ve only heard a couple of Merzbow’s collaborations with other artists. The stuff he did with Boris on Rock Dream was tremendous stuff. So too were the collaborations with Carlos Giffoni and Sonic Youth. His split record with Bastard Noise I could do without but in general, his collaborative work has been just dandy. But this record blows everything else I’ve heard him do, in a collaborative sense, away. This is now in my ten favourite albums of all time. I’m not sure which record got dislodged but something has to move to make room. For the regular Merzbow fan, Keio Line has Merzbow complimenting the sublime experimental guitar of the great French composer, Richard Pinhas, to awesome effect. In some ways it reminded me of the KTL records where Peter Rehberg adds electronic nastiness to the  doom laden guitars of O’Malley.  But Keio Line is better than that. Pinhas and Merzbow have created a masterful , noisy ambient, experimentally  subtle record that adds a new perspective to  my understanding of Merzbow as an artist. This is an absolute must have if you are a Merzbow tragic such as myself. This puts a ends the idea that I perpetuated on this blog that his 2008 output was for the most part pretty ordinary because the man had the good sense to release this and this makes up for oh so many sins.

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