) is one of the most prolific, if not the
most prolific, noise artists of the last three decades. Although much of his output has been restricted to self-released cassette tapes, he has attained legendary status in the avant-garde scene, and in recent years his work has been featured on a number of respected outsider labels. Important is the latest imprint to take on a Merzbow
project, this one titled Merzbird
. The album's six tracks are all named after birds of one variety or another and the insert includes a link to the website of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but don't expect any dewy-eyed environmental sentimentality here. The music is all abrasive, beat-based electronica -- not the funky kind, but the scratchy, glitchy, relentless kind. Imagine Muslimgauze
at his densest, then imagine that sound multiplied by a factor of four and without the Middle Eastern trappings, and you'll have a good idea of what to expect. If you like (or hate) one track you'll like (or hate) all of them. "Black Swan" borders on unlistenable, while "Mandarin Duck" is a bit more accessible if not exactly pleasant. Neither "Emu" nor "Victoria Crowned Pigeon" generates much musical interest beyond the unapproachable harshness of Akita
's electronic textures, but "White Peafowl" offers a fair amount of musical depth beyond its grinding, pounding surface. You already know whether you want this album or not -- in fact, you probably knew the moment you saw the name Merzbow
-- so if you're still reading at this point you're probably just desperate for something to do.