Consumer Electronics/Merzbow – Horn Of The Goat (Freek) 1995


Now here is a Merzbow collaboration I was keen to hear. To be fair I had never really looked at the cover in any detail so the whole lady/goat kissing thing passed me by but this is Consumer Electronics, home of Pete Best from Whitehouse, Matthew Bower from Skullflower, Hototogisu and Sunroof! and Gary Mundy from Ramleh. In fact the aristocracy of British transgressive power electronics are all lined up here. So when you combine that line up with Merzbow at the height of his powers what would you expect to hear? The hardest, most brutal thing ever transferred to disc perhaps? Not quite. This is not a Whitehouse-style bludgeoning of the  senses but a remarkably varied noise record that Merzbow dominates. Is it still harsh in places? It is, but it also surprises with its experimentation.

This is a record that benefits from high volume. It is only then that the nuances of the noise can be plucked out. The first two track are great examples of Merzbow style industrial noise. There are some of those space age phazer sounds that appear on Space Metalizer. There is also a four second section which has Merzbeat style business going on. The third track is where all preconceptions  are buried. Think trumpets, drums, a lopping ambient oscillation with  the constant threat of an ever present industrial noise enveloping the whole thing. Track 4 sees the return of Merzbow harsh noise punctuated with a Nurse with Wound style looping female yelp. The real treat is the final 18 minutes bookend with its bastardisation of (I think) a Handel minuet which begins as the most twee track of any noise record you’d be likely to hear. Its saccharine start melts into a what essentially amount to a great noise track.

Horn of the Goat may be a different record than I was expecting but I quite like it. Not too harsh and a fair bit to discover between the layers and the blips.  It is a record that comes up cheaply on Amazon from time to time. Not bad.

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