Merzbow – Camouflage (Essence) 2009

Camouflage same out of the small but brilliant Brazilian label, Essence and it appeared in the midst of his drumming period, somewhere in between Annica and the 13 Japanese Birds Series. It’s an odd one for the period it was released in because this finds Akita layering squalls of noise over levels of distortion, oscillating tones etc. with no drums to be heard. On a Merzbow harshness factor we’re probably on about a seven. The first track is titled Coral Reef Color  With Red, Pink , Purple and Green and its pretty good. There is this nice, extremely slow, oscillating tone in the first couple of minutes  which sounds to me like a whale coming up for air and diving again. I thought that was pretty cool. The rest of the track has its moments but I absolutely loved the last three minutes where all of the layers seems to have opened up to merge as one big tone before new layers are added. A crescendo if you will. It is prime Merzbow and reason enough to get this. The second track Transparent Man is Color With Blue and Pink has some nice ambient, retro space doodling  over a low rumble which sounds like being in the middle of a mushroom cloud. There’s plenty going on here and if you like your noise complex you can’t go far wrong here. Cicad Played Under the Arch is the final track here and comes after the second track all but detonated in my ear. It’s a very full on constantly morphing beast and around the 14 minute mark has a sound that reminds me of a fax machine getting tortured. This was the 2009 Merzbow release that I enjoyed the most. It’s worthwhile checking out. My only word of advice is that Camouflage needs to be played loud. At lower volumes you’ll miss half of what is going on.


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