Thursday, February 24, 2005

MERZBOW - the King of Noise is going digital (article)

You probably know about MERZBOW. Yes, until these days, Masami Akita, the "King of Noise" under the MERZBOW name is still making a lot of recorded noise: albums, collaborations, split's, ep's, 7"s, film scores, etc. As one of the most productive artists ever exist, his ambition is to have 1000 titles released before he dies.

Most extreme metalheads, like me, got to know him from his works on the CDs released by Relapse Records ("Venereology" or "Pulse Demon"). But gone are the glory days of extremely loud harsh feedback droning noise that made him famous in the early 90's. His current works are into loop-based, dub, ambient soundscapes, sometimes incorporate sampled melody-lines and rhythms.

During the 80's and 90's, he never used any computer to create his noise. He sounded like he was against computers.

I quote from his older interviews:

"Most Japanese noise artists never use computers or very high-tech equipment. We tend to be very low-tech and analogue, so our actions show the effects of expanded noisehands, muscles...the body's movement." - Masami Akita (Interview with Arthur Potter)

"My first motivation for creating sound was anti-use of electric equipment; Broken tape recorder, broken guitar, amp etc. I thought I could get a secret voice from equipment itself when I lost control. That sound is unconsciousness, libido of equipment. Then I tried to control them with more powerful process." - Masami Akita (Interview with Dixon Christie)

Now something bugged me, from the early 2000 he started to use computers to sample and process all the sounds, and now if you see his live shows, he only used 2 Mac laptop computers and nothing else! All sound sources are pre-sampled (he sampled his own pet-birds so often!). Gone are the days where he used A LOT of organic instruments to create noise in the analogue way.

MERZBOW PLAYED (in 80's to 90's):
Porta Two 4 Track cassette recorder
DAT Recorders
Cassette Recorders
Filter Bank FB3 Mk 2
Maxon DM 1000
Korg DRV 1000 Reverb Unit
Roland SDE 1000 Delay Unit
EMS Synthi 'A' Synthesiser
Moog Rogue Synthesiser
Therematic Theremin
Ishimashi Theremin
Novation Bass Station Synthesiser
Various contact mic units
Ring Modulator
Various Junk Metallic Tools
Various Effects Pedals
Leader High & Low Frequency Generator
Relaxation Alpha Wave Generator
Stargazer Mind Expansion Sound Visualiser
Novation Synthe Rack

2 Apple MacIntosh Powerbook laptop
A mixer
everything else is in software.

Yes, sure as hell, today is the digital world. Every studios I know got rid of their analog reels and started to install pro-tools. Everything is simplified and minimalized. Even MERZBOW traded his old pile of his noise generators and sound manipulators for a couple of Mac laptop computers.

OK, computer!


Merzbow is mainly Masami Akita, with his wife Reiko A. helping out on occasion, and other people, such as Bara the butoh dancer who helps out as needed live or on record.

Born 1956 in Tokyo, Japan
Graduated Tamagawa University, Art Department; majoring in Painting & Art Theory
Worked as an editor of several magazines
Became a freelance writer for several books, magazines
Favourite area of writing is: Art; Avant-garde Music; and Post-Modern Culture
Formed Japanese premier noise group MERZBOW in 1981
Released over 50 records and CDs, to date
Continues to perform and record as MERZBOW
Has worked with many different media: Butoh Dance; Performance; Art
Installation; Video; Film; CD ROM etc


Blogger Javo said...

that's interesting , makes me want to try composing noise in Fl studio

6:02 PM  

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