Merzbow – Kamadhenu (Hypnagogia) 2011

Alrighty then. This is the  first Merzbow I’ve dabbled  with since Merzbient and I suppose it is his first proper album since Marmo. Merzbow’s recent output has been sketchy to say the least. I think Ouroborous was great and I still stand by the second volume of the Japanese Birds series as another example when he gets it right. Marmo was meh and I didn’t bother with the collaboration with Z’ev. If I was to be truly honest the two albums that were amazing in the last three years are Another Merbow Records and Merzbient but considering they are both compilations or old material they probably don’t count.

When I first played Kamadhenu I was disappointed. Actually I was a little pissed. It struck me as mediocre and a little samey. Now eight listens later and the damn thing has grown on me. There is something wonderfully hypnotic about the surging, down tempo scree and throb of this record especially on the first track. Weaving in an out of the layers is a high pitched squeal which at times has an almost middle eastern flavour to it. It is a sound that returns to all three tracks  and sounds almost like a call to prayer. At other times it sounded like a snake charmer coaxing a dance out of a reluctant reptile. The first track  is a slow and unambiguously deliberate. Shards of industrial clatter are sparingly used and if I was to go out on a limb, I would say that this might be more ambient than much of what I heard on Merzbient.

The second track I suspect  has hidden sounds of tabla and Merzbow also adds some of his celestial space vibe. It’s a much noisier track than the first and towards the end sounds like a tape being run backwards at speed. By the time the third track starts Merzbow has managed to coax a sub-bass effect that fucked around with the pressure in my ears. It is much more recognisably Merzbow if you know what I mean.

This is not a record for a casual listener. It is a record that the more I listened the more compelling it became. I might be the only nerd that has spent eight hours of my life trying to process it but I think it was worthwhile.  People are going to hate this but If you commit yourself to it then it might be one of the more enjoyable noise experiences you’ll have this year.

One Response to “Merzbow – Kamadhenu (Hypnagogia) 2011”

  1. I didn’t hate it. I loved it, even on the first listen. I think it is one of his best for a really long time, maybe since Minazo.

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