Government Alpha is the name of the harsh noise Project of Yasutoshi Yoshida. In the past couple of months I’ve been trying to explore other Japanese noise artists besides Merzbow. The problem with this is that I keep wanting to reference Merzbow when I think about what I’m going to say about those records. On the face of it Government Alpha create a noise very much like Merzbow but I have listened to Quaint Putrid Slag a bunch of times and I hadn’t been able to put my finger on why this is different to Merzbow until today.
I’m not sure how many of you are aware of William Burroughs “cut-up” technique. He spent a good deal of his career literally cutting up his written text and then rearranging it and fixing up the punctuation. I think the theory was that great art often comes about through accident and randomness. What it often did was made everything he subjected to the technique not make any sense but hey, what the fuck would I know. With Quaint Putrid Slag what it sounds like is Yoshida getting the basic building blocks of a Merzbow harsh, noise record, deconstructing the layers and then having a chop at cutting it up and assembling it again. What it means for you as a listener is a slightly left field take on Merzbow-style noise. Still as brutal and harsh as hell but I think he adds something new to the genre. It is one of those records that gets better the more I listened. One of those great noise records that you can explore and always hear new things. I’m going to track down a few more Government Alpha records and see where they take me – should be an interesting ride.