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Merzbow - 13 Japanese Birds Volume Two - Fukuro [Important Records - 2009]

After the enjoyable if slightly lacklustre first volume of the Japanese Bird project, Fukuro finds Merzbow back on inspired, caustic and very rewarding form. Offering up four barnstorming live drum based tracks that are full of sonic invention & caustic atmospherics.

Through out all of the four tracks here Merzbow mixers his creative noise making with ambient and harmonic, and in places almost spacey like sonic texturing over the often bone juddering and complex improvised live drum work-outs. There’s a real feeling of depth and composition with in the pieces; so instead of Merzbow attacking the drums like a man possessed he often slows the pace slightly or dips down the drums attack in the mix to heighten or highlight a noise texture or a caustic yet atmospheric drift . There’s  are also some quite interesting recording and effects utilized with the drums, like the close muffled yet effective  miking -up of bass drum; so they thunder and ghost off to great effect. Or the cymbals been made into a coarse crashing seas of percussive sound. You can hear elements of Merzbow’s more ambient and textured collaborations over the last few years like his &  Richard Pinhas Keio Line & his split project with  Keiji Haino Kikuri. But this is still very much noise based, dramatic, shifting, grainy and creative; with always a real feel of onward movement with-in the tracks- at no time is any sonic water treaded here. In all the albums four tracks racking-up just over an hour of dramatic and inventive rhythmic based noise matter. Really this is some of the best live drum based work Merzbow has put out thus far balancing shifting textured rollercoaster noise making with complex drum work-outs.

There’s a real feeling of Merzbow carving new sonic territory through-out Fukuro meaning this feels like the first true chapter to the huge Japanese Bird 13 volume disc set; if every disk is up this standard we’re in for one hell of a ride. Truly a great, creative and consistent Merzbow album

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Roger Batty
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