Merzbow – Puroland (Ohm) 2001
As I searched the internet for info about Puroland I found this rather handy entry on a Merzbow database. This is what Mr Akita has to say about the record:
Puroland is the name of a Sanrio amusement park which is dedicated to Hello-Kitty, located in suburbs of Tokyo. “Pilgrimage to Puroland” is the melancholic first song. I played once this song live in Tokyo. “Celebration Day” is inspired by the song “Celebration Day” of Led Zeppelin (from their album “3”), once I played this song at Fandango, Osaka. “Pleasant Valley Monday” is inspired by the song “Pleasant Valley Sunday” of The Monkees (from their album “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones LTD”). “War Frog” was originally called “Boom Boom Bomb” because of the sound of the bass loop. I played this live many times.
That second last sentence kills me. There is so much over-analysis of Merzbow that the idea that he named a song Boom Boom Bomb because that’s what the bass loop sounded like gives me the flutteries. For your average Merzbow nerd though, Puroland is really good. It’s digital though so if you like the more analogue based stuff then this may not light up your life. I’m a bit partial to the digital records so I give this the big thumbs up. The noise Merzbow conjures up on this now out of print release on a small Norwegian label is probably some of the more accessible Merzbow out there and also some of the most un-Merzbow themes you’re likely to hear. The opener begins with a looped dark-folk guitar and voice snippet before the layers of digital noise are allowed to settle over the top of it. There are some beats and strange vocal effects added to the mix as the track progresses. The idea that Pleasant Valley Monday reference the Monkees is just mad because trying to reconcile the rather malevolent and dense fog of noise with the shiny, uselessness of the Monkees is ultimately pointless although pretty fun. A guitar loop make s a reappearance and on Celebration Day but any link to Zeppelin is kind of baffling. And you know what the final track War Frog, after beginning with some lovely field recordings of birds does have a bass loop that goes boom boom bomb. Classic stuff but for an album inspired by an amusement Park the vibe is not a happy one. In fact its is almost the record of someone who mourns for a society hell bent o the most pointless consumerism. Although this is out of print there are copies still around which oddly enough are not going for stupid money.