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枯葉 / Dead Leaves

枯葉 / Dead Leaves
To say that Merzbow’ output in 2007 and 2008 was patchy might be an understatement. Those of us looking for the next Sphere or 1930 were pretty disappointed. Dolphin Sonar for the most part was pretty ordinary (and did anyone read the review in The Wire? What fucking record was he listening to!). In fact the review in the Wire emphasised a point that I made in my post on 1930. Noise records are very personal things and we all have very different experiences with them. Maybe that’s why I struggled with posting on Dead Leaves. This was only released late last year although it was recorded By Merzbow in early 2008. It’s on a German label I’ve never heard of and I stumbled across it in my local rip-off indie store. My verdict? Well it’s pretty good actually. The thing is, I was struggling to explain why I like it or why it is better that Dolphin Sonar. If I am honest about my experience with Merzbow, I think at times, I am hung up on those Merzbow records that I can detect recognisable forms in such as the beat heavy records like Merzbeat and Merzbuddha or the digitized field records of Frog for instance. Sphere and 1930 do have some recognisable forms but they are a wild ride and without a doubt the best Merzbow records I’ve heard.
When I fist listened to Dead Leaves I thought there were recognisable forms but after listening to it six times I’m not convinced they are really there at all. So why do I like it? This afternoon I had a Eureka moment when reading a review By Nick Cain in the Wire in relation to a review of KK Null’s recent output. His criticism was so simple that I am embarrassed, but that’s not going to stop me pinching his words. Dead Leaves is better than Dolphin Sonar because Merzbow “tones down the volatility and rate of change”. Thank you Mr Cain because when I was thinking about this post the best I could come up with is that Dead Leaves is a mellower and less cruel offering than a lot of his recent releases and you’ve got to admit that using “mellow” and “Merzbow” in the same sentence was kind of stupid. A return to form for Merzbow and well worth while getting if you’re a Merzbow tragic like me. []

Dead Leaves title may suggest an organic, melancholy and doomy outlook but the three tracks inside are quite the opposite- with each been a great long, jittering and shifting electro noise attacks which are splattered here and there with melodic hints, rhythmic chugs and sonic chops.
First up we have Dead leaves part 1 which slides in with a heat hazed feedback air that is soon swirled and built upon by what sounds like screwed and bent up easy listening and muzak snippets-which have been boiled up and throw into slow phasing and drifting circles of noise. And with-in this collusion and slow simmer of noise is this great repetitive element that sounds like a demented fair ground waltz that surface every so often. At about the midway point a great classic Merz electro noise chopping tone takes centre stage as Merzbow deepens his noise storm and sends out feedback roars and laser like cuts. It’s a great start to the album and I think stands as my favourite moment here.
Up next is Dead Leaves Part 2 that starts off full pelt with a bellowing noise tone under lit by lower clunking tones & bizarrely enough just as the track enters I’m sure I can hear what sounds like a melted snippet of Moon River. And again through out the track one gets the odd hints of melted muzak as Merzbow swirls and shifts his noise storm around you; keeping the bellowing tone that started the track fairly central as noise fragments twist and turn around it.
Lastly we have Dead Leaves part 3 which starts out with a wow-wow electro noise swirl ‘n’ erratic throb tone; which is showered by static rain, tinny harmonic traces and screaming pitches of feedback. As the track goes on a deep down pounding element takes hold of the base of the track like muffled rock drum beat heard from out side a concert venue. And on top a shifting mixture of: long screeching trails of higher pitched noise buzzers, with spacey like synth whirls, bent and wonky yet harmonic string chugs, and clattering junk guitar attacks.
All in all another three great, shifting & mind melting tracks of Merzbow’s distinctive take on sound & noise- all housed in a nice glossy full colour fold out four [six!] panel Digipak.
Roger Batty (

2008年の最後半に入荷した、タイトルも意味ありげな(内ジャケットには枯葉がモチーフになっています。)MERZBOW!!! 今作では、葉が生を終えた形「枯葉」がテーマになっていると言うのか!?(後ほど秋田さんに、確かめてみなければ!)MERZBOW「Anicca」あたりから、世間から忘れられたような木造廃墟と植物をテーマにしているような新機軸ジャケット・アートワークで気になっていたのだが、遂に枯葉の意志?にまでイッちゃったつーのか!?(マジに、秋田さんに確認してみなければならない!)それで内容はどうなの!?てーと、侘び寂び&達観なイメージからは程遠い、相変わらずの喧しいダイナミックなMERZBOWサウンドです!!! あなたは、ここに何を見るのか!!!???

...Next album comes from an artist who is one of the true legends of abrasive sounds. The work titled "Dead leaves" from Merzbow consists of three lengthy pieces titled I - III. From zero the listener approximately gets twenty seconds of adjustment before the first attack of apocalyptic symphony drills its way into the brain. Overall the album offers full throttle noise during the three intersections of the album. Where the first two works are kept on an almost earaching noise-level the final work is slightly easier listening to with its low frequency sound levels and the subdued tones pumping from the ground into the work. (NM - Vital Weekly, 663)

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