Merzbow – Sha Mo 3000 (Essence) 2003


The beauty about writing about music and noise in particular is that my readers let me know of records I need to hear. This 2003 offering from Merzbow is one of those ones that often comes up in conversation and when I have read the Merzbow forums it became apparent that Sha Mo 300 is considered with some affection by Merzbow fans. After listening to this repeatedly over the past week I can understand why.

Sha Mo 3000 is one of two records that Merzbow has released through the Brazilian Essence music label (the other being Camouflage) and to be honest you won’t find two more diverse offerings by the same artists. If Camouflage is a trip back to the harsh, uncompromising days of the mid- 1990’s then Sha Mo 3000 is a continuation of his wickedly playful side.  Sha Mo 3000 is one of those great, fun Merzbow records where harsh noise meets beats and rhythm, where guitar psychedelia meets doom laden distortion and  mutated field recording death-disco makes an appearance. To give you an idea of just how diverse this sounds on the fourth track, the 22 minute Dreaming K-Dog, a cuckoo sings, an alarm clock starts ringing, chicken noises are looped, guitars that sound like they have been recorded backwards play  and electrical menace overlays the whole thing – and that is the first two minutes.

Sha Mo 3000 is a thoroughly accessible noise record. It all sounds so completely effortless but it is one of those terrific Merzbow records that you can play again and again and hear new things. If you like you Merzbow in an ear bleeding kind of way then you’ll need to track down something like Pulse Demon – Sha Mo 3000 is not the record you’re looking for. It is a record that explores all sides of Merzbow’s sound interests – psychedelia, harsh noise, percussive beats, drumming, field recordings and animal noise.  It is one of the easiest hopping on points for anyone thinking of exploring the world of Merzbow. On a harshness scale this is  somewhere down near 2 out of 10. Don’t listen to the Merzbow tragics who dismiss everything he’s released after 2000. This is one of his best.

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One Response to “Merzbow – Sha Mo 3000 (Essence) 2003”

  1. Hi Dave,
    I agree on the fact that “Sha Mo 3000” is a sort of “easy listening” Merzbow album, but I think that it is one of the most well structured and well-reasoned album Akita has ever made, focusing less on intuitiveness and more on the “global image”.
    For a similar psychedelic Merzbow experience I also suggest “Tamago”.

    PS: I’ve just discovered a Stephen O’Malley’s collaboration in the field of noise named “Sarin”; there’s only one release out and it appears to be the great singer from “Burning Witch”, Edgy 59, involved! Check it out!
    Cheers,
    Giuseppe

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