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Despite the fact that Masami Akita’s discography would take you a full lifetime to imbibe, slabs of Merzbow wax don’t actually come around that often. It’s been a wee while since his last solo outing on vinyl, so this is an occasion if you like your Merzbow fix via analogue means. If you like records, Merzbow and birds then you're quids in, cuz the dosh raised from ‘Kakapo’ goes to the Kakapo Recovery Trust - an institution doing remarkable work to help the Kakapo bird - a New Zealand native parrot whose numbers have diminished to a measly 200 left on earth. Makes you ashamed to be human.
The record is pressed in a limited edition of 500 copies on 140g Kakapo-green vinyl and comes housed in 100% sustainable card sleeves, printed with non-toxic printing colours. All green - all good. Greener than the Jolly Green Giant.
The limitations of the vinyl format do mean that this single long piece has been chopped into two parts. If you’re a hardcore noise fiend that likes living inside the speaker then you could argue that such an act is sacrilege. Or one could say that it offers a brief moment of respite while flipping it over, and will save your brain being pummeled into a liquid that will start oozing out of your ears. But that might have happened already by the time you get to the end of the first side because he’s in fine form here, spewing out relentless, powerful, immersive walls of digital sound, in signature style.
There is something of an avian feel to some of the sounds, the pulses and frequencies are like an electrified bird language. Then there’s the scorching furnace like face-melting scree that’s like sticking your face in a box of fireworks with a cigarette dangling from your lips or standing underneath a gushing digital waterfall where the water is made of zillions of fast moving multicoloured pixels.
By the time it's all over, I feel like I’ve been struck by lightning -- sandblasted by sound that has washed away all of life's detritus. Proper receptor cleansing gear. Good Olde Merzbow!
8/10 Dean Customer review, 29th October 2016
The kakapo is a New Zealand parrot brought to popular public attention by the Douglas Adams' and Mark Carwardine's book Last Chance to See. As a fat, nocturnal and flightless parrot its no surprise that they're critically endangered. What they do have going for them is that they're acoustic experts. Their mating call is pulsing, repetitive and bass heavy (Much like this record) and the only problem with it is that while it covers many square kilometers there's no way to tell what direction the sound is coming from, again contributing to the plummeting population.
There are about 160 kakapo left in the wild and this record would probably kill them all.
If you've a super complex understanding of sound than the dense layers of noise here may just prove too much and would probably drive a kakapo into another ill conceived attempt to fly away. Luckily for us as human beings we can appreciate music on different levels, and we have plenty to feast on from this extended piece split over two sides of kakapo green vinyl. The record comes with a download code, and mercifully this doesn't take the opportunity merge these two half's of what is one extended song into one piece, even our ears need a breather at some point.
If you're buying this as a fan of Merzbow and their ilk then you know what you're letting yourself in for playing this record and you won't be disappointed by the extended slab of noise on offer. If however you're buying it to be kakapo friendly and support the Kakapo Trust it's perhaps best to not come to this expecting sensitive night parrot friendly music (But as all the profits from the record go to the charity at least you've done your part to keep the conservation effort going).
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- Kakapo by Merzbow
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