Xiu Xiu, the art-rock project of Jamie Stuart, joins forces with… Merzbow! Yes, literal Merzbow! Unusual to see Masami Akita venturing outside of the noise world for a collaboration, but very welcome. Merzxiu is strictly limited: 200 copies in Europe, on splatter vinyl, courtesy of Bad Paintings.
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- Merzxiu by Merzbow & Xiu Xiu
6/10 Jim Staff review, 04 May 2015
Two of the most creative misanthropists working in music today, Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stuart and Merzbow's Masami Akita, have channeled and combined their hatred for humanity via a file-sharing exchange- letting it multiply and committing the results to this limited LP, especially for record store day. For Xiu Xiu fans, I can describe this as sounding like Xiu Xiu but without any melody, no cold-wave rhythms or vocals with discernible lyrics or any coherent sense of structure, but with all the harsh, atonal and nasty noise pushed to the front and extended for the entire duration. For Merzbow fans, I'd describe it as being pretty much like any other Merzbow record: a relentless barrage of loud and abrasive sound textures and dissonant droning, all piling out of the speakers with neither rhyme nor reason.
Now I've got a soft spot for Merzbow (who hasn't?), but I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get more of what Jamie Stuart is better known for (i.e. melodramatic narratives about the various horrors of modern living delivered in a gothic Scott Walker quiver), combined with some choice edits of Merzbow's horrendous racket. But I suppose you just have to appreciate it for what it does have: the staggeringly tortured frequencies being ragged around the stereo field at the beginning of side B for instance, or the disturbingly enjoyable grunting that sounds both bestial and mechanical towards the end of the record. And then there's the shocking finale: everything fading out on a harmonious note.
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