Merzbow – Venereology (Release) 1994


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Here is a picture of my kid. He turned three the other day and the increase in his age has also seen his taste in music increase somewhat. He is addicted to The Bug’s London Zoo and requests it every time we get in the car. Villalobos is a firm favourite as is early 1990’s hardcore band Mule and early 1980’s Boston group The Lyres. 

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Tonight he asked to listen to what was in my headphones which incidentally was Venereology. I adjusted the volume and he put the headphones on his ears for about  twenty seconds and grinned. Holy shit! I thought to myself this is a bit disturbing but I remembered that bloke from Astral Social Club saying in an interview that his 3 year old  was a fan of Wolf Eyes. The fact that my kid did not throw the headphones off immediately was kind of surprising because the kid just cannot abide bands like Sonic Youth. After those twenty seconds the kid hands me back the headphones and tells me that it’s “bit noisy Daddy.”  I told him that was kind of the point but he just smiled and headed off to his room. Had I known that he wasn’t adverse to a bit of Merzbow I would have started him off with Merzbeat or one of the  Japanese Birds records but you know, the  moment has passed and I’ll try again next weekend. 

Venereology itself is one of those earlier harsh analogue recordings that are just so full on that it’s taken me a while to post on it. But yet like Tombo I quite like it. The noise is unrelenting. In fact it starts with what sounds like a jackhammer on crystal meth and doesn’t stop for breath over its four tracks. Yet in saying that there is texture, variations in rate of change, clever little nuances and other such bits and pieces which people who can get into Pulse Demon, Bariken or Tauromachine will be familiar with. Certainly this is towards the more extreme end of the 30 or so Merzbow albums I own but at the same time it rewards patience. If you are looking for the instantaneous pleasure of Merzzow or Merzbuddha, Venereology is probably not your record.

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