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1 review »Shortly after ordering this 14 CD set; I read a newspaper article about the plight of the Eurasian cuckoo whose habitat is being gradually destroyed both in Britain and abroad. It is this type of threat to birdlife that inspired Japanese ‘noise music’ meister and long-time animal activi ... »

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  • IMPREC294CD
  • IMPREC294CD / Complete Japanese Bird Series in ltd Bird Bag w/ltd CD-R of unreleased material

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13 Japanese Birds In A Bag by Merzbow
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10/10 Simon Franklin Customer review, 27th August 2010

Shortly after ordering this 14 CD set; I read a newspaper article about the plight of the Eurasian cuckoo whose habitat is being gradually destroyed both in Britain and abroad.

It is this type of threat to birdlife that inspired Japanese ‘noise music’ meister and long-time animal activist Masami Akita’s (aka Merzbow) 2009 album series, “13 Japanese Birds”. Now the entire set, plus a new CDR and piece of screen print art-work have been reissued as “13 Birds In A Bag”, with a navy blue eco-friendly jute bag to keep them in. Just 500 sets have been made.

As usual with Merzbow, this is not music for the faint-hearted. The opening track on album one, “Suzume” (Sparrow) titled “Red Bird Of Summer pt. 1” sounds like a soundtrack for the end of the world with John Bonham on drums!

With Merzbow, there is no melody, no rhythm, no conventional instruments (except for the drums), no vocals, and no concept of any traditional music making. This is noise pure and simple. And yet there is structure and sense to it; take time to really listen and you can hear how Merzbow builds his pieces layer upon layer using computers, samplers and sound generators.

So far I have only come across one track, “Across The Earth” on album no. 9, “Hiyodori” (Brown-eared Bulbul) that could be described as having any melody at all; in fact it reminds me of Death In Vegas!

Merzbow is not for everybody. But for those with the courage and curiosity to explore previously untouched areas of music will be greatly rewarded.


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