“Merzbient” is a twelve CD collection of Merzbow’s previously unreleased ambient recordings. The music was recorded in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, at a time when Masamik Akita (Merzbow) was becoming famous for his live performances, which featured some of the harshest sounds ever heard. The records he released mirrored these peformances, and helped establish his reputation as the prime mover in the Japanese noise scene. The electronics he used for his recordings were the same ones he used for live shows. Out of necessity he toured with gear that was small, simple and portable. But all the while he was secretly recording quieter, more atmospheric music, and using a wide variety of acoustic instruments including an impractical monstrosity he describes as a “big handmade junk instrument made from a metal box with piano wires”, which he played with a violin bow. He made hours and hours of recordings, but kept them private and never released them, until they were eventually set aside and forgotten. He recently rediscovered the multi-track mastertapes in a box and remastered them for release on CD. And what a discovery they are! These twelve discs represent a side of Merzbow never before heard. The music bears many of the signature styles expected from Merzbow – think of the theme of long-form drones pierced by random bursts of sound, for example – but it’s enticingly different from what we’ve heard before, with spacious sounds evoking prehistoric misty landscapes, desolate abandoned industrial sites, and sci-fi/horror film soundtracks. If the familiar and traditional Merzbow is like a jet plane taking off at full-throttle then “Merzbient” is the hanger where the plane was built. Not a violent assault on the ears, but something more interior, more personal, and more gentle. The twelve CDs in this collection are presented in a custom-made hard-cover box with red foil block printing. Each disc is packed in its own slipcase. When the slipcases are arranged togther in a rectangle a large image is revealed. A largeand heavy (5 x 11cm, 84 gm) die-cast metal medallion with the Kanji characters representing “Animal Liberation” completes the set, which is limited to 555 numbered copies. “Merzbient” is Merzbow’s third release for Soleilmoon, following “Ouroboros” (May 2010) and “Eucalypse” (July 2008).
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