Merzbient

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Merzbient
Cover of the CD version
Box set by Merzbow
Released October 26, 2010 (2010-10-26) (original)
September 10, 2012 (2012-09-10) (reissue)
Recorded 1987–1990 at ZSF Produkt Studio, Tokyo
Genre Noise, ambient
Length 610:20 (original)
Label Soleilmoon
Producer Masami Akita
Merzbow chronology
9888A
(2010)
Merzbient
(2010)
ZaRa
(2011)
Alternative Cover
Cover of the LP version
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Foxy Digitalis 8/10 stars[2]
Musique Machine 5/5 stars[3]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[4]
The Quietus favorable[5]

Merzbient is a boxed set album by the Japanese noise musician Merzbow, it is composed of previously unreleased raw material recorded 1987–90.

The original edition sold out within weeks of its release.[6] Merzbow and Soleilmoon later announced that Merzbient would be reissued in an expanded LP edition.[7][8]

Two sets of unreleased raw recordings, Merzphysics and Merzmorphosis, were released in 2012 by Youth Inc. This time featuring harsh noise from the mid-1990s.

Background[edit]

The tracks were originally made as raw material for other releases and were not intended for release themselves. While working on cassette reissues for Blossoming Noise in 2009, Masami Akita rediscovered the original four track master tapes, and found that they could be considered "completed works of improvisation music" of their own.[7]

When Merzbow started playing live internationally in the late 1980s, it required the use of simple and portable gear, which then influenced Akita's studio sound, leading to the harsh noise style he became known for in the 1990s. But he also continued to use junk and acoustic instruments in the studio for a couple more years, including a "big handmade junk instrument made from a metal box with piano wires" played with a violin bow.[9][10]

"RBA" is an acronym of Right Brain Audile, a name used by Akita for his soundtracks to bondage films produced by Right Brain, the term appears on the Music for Bondage Performance albums. Many of the track titles were taken from the identification written on the tapes or their brand names.[7] HD by Denon; AXIA by Fujifilm (some of which are label "For CD"); Capsule Cologne and UD II-S by Maxell. "Matehnas" was made as raw material for the collaboration with H.N.A.S. member Christoph Heemann.[7]

Track listing[edit]

CD version

All music composed by Masami Akita.

CD 1
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 1A" (1989) 45:45
CD 2
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 1B" (1989) 44:36
2. Untitled (not listed on sleeve) 12:41
Total length:
57:17
CD 3
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 2B" (1989) 45:59
CD 4
No. Title Length
1. "RBA/Capsule Cologne Maxell" (1990) 46:07
CD 5
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 8B" (1990) 46:32
CD 6
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 8A" (1990) 46:41
CD 7
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 7+2" (1990) 31:29
2. "RBA 7+1" (1990) 23:04
Total length:
54:33
CD 8
No. Title Length
1. "RBA/Maxell UD II-S 90" (1990) 30:07
2. "Mixer/Scratch AXIA for CD" (1990) 29:58
Total length:
60:05
CD 9
No. Title Length
1. "Metal4ch" (1987) 43:10
CD 10
No. Title Length
1. "Matehnas" (1987) 30:41
2. "1988DECsolo" (1988) 23:48
Total length:
54:29
CD 11
No. Title Length
1. "9011" (1990) 31:17
2. "Violinsolo89" (1989) 15:39
Total length:
46:56
CD 12
No. Title Length
1. "Gasstove4-90" (1990) 22:55
2. "92288" (1988) 39:51
Total length:
62:46
LP version

All music composed by Masami Akita.

LP 1, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 1A (1989) part 1"    
LP 1, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 1A (1989) part 2"    
LP 2, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 1B (1989) part 1"    
LP 2, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 1B (1989) part 2"    
LP 3, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 2B (1989) part 1"    
LP 3, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 2B (1989) part 2"    
LP 4, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA/Capsule Cologne Maxell (1990) part 1"    
LP 4, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA/Capsule Cologne Maxell (1990) part 2"    
LP 5, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 8B (1990) part 1"    
LP 5, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 8B (1990) part 2"    
LP 6, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 8A (1990) part 1"    
LP 6, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 8A (1990) part 2"    
LP 7, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Metal4ch (1987) part 1"    
LP 7, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Metal4ch (1987) part 2"    
LP 8, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "92288 (1988) part 1"    
LP 8, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "92288 (1988) part 2"    
LP 9, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Gasstove4-90 (1990)"    
LP 9, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Violinsolo89 (1989)"    
LP 10, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "1988DECsolo (1988)"    
LP 10, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 7+1 (1990)"    
LP 11, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "MatHNAS (1987) part 1"    
LP 11, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "MatHNAS (1987) part 2"    
2. "RBA Max2 (1990)"    
LP 12, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 7+2 (1990) part 1"    
LP 12, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA 7+2 (1990) part 2"    
LP 13, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "RBA/Maxell US II-S 90 (1990) part 1"    
LP 13, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "RBA/Maxell US II-S 90 (1990) part 2"    
LP 14, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "9011 (1990) part 1"    
LP 14, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "9011 (1990) part 2"    
LP 15, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Mixer/Scratch AXIA for CD (1990) part 1"    
LP 15, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Mixer/Scratch AXIA for CD (1990) part 2"    
LP 16, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Nov 89 (1989) part 1"    
LP 16, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Nov 89 (1989) part 2"    
LP 17, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Variation for Electric Fan Part 1 (1988)"    
LP 17, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Variation for Electric Fan Part 2 (1988)"    
LP 18, Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Rubber Strings (1990) part 1"    
LP 18, Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Rubber Strings (1990) part 2"    
2. "Denon HD 54 B (1990)"    

Notes[edit]

CD version
  • Digitally remastered from original cassette tapes March 2010
LP version
  • LPs 1–15 digitally remastered from original cassette tapes in 2010, re-edited for release on LP in 2011
  • LPs 16–18 digitally remastered from original cassette tapes in 2012

Personnel[edit]

  • Masami Akita – various scrap metals, various metals/tin box with piano wires, various percussion by small objects, paper, stone, woods, kitchen objects etc., contact mics, audio mixer, motor, electric fan, gas stove, guitar, violin, thermin, various effects. etc. but no synthesizer[7]
  • Jenny Akita – photography on CD edition
  • Charles Powne – photography on LP reissue

Release history[edit]

  • The CD version comes in a hardcover box. Each disc comes in a full-color sleeve with photos on both sides, when arranged together they form completed pictures. Also included is a die-cast metal medallion with the words "動物解放" (dōbutsukaihō) meaning animal liberation and a double-sided insert.[9] The outside of the box depicts a forested mountain landscape with clouds, while the inside shows Japanese wisteria hanging on a trellis. The sleeves show the pond at Kawasaki Daishi on one side, and a close-up of hanging wisteria on the other.
  • The LP reissue comes in a pair of custom-made boxes, each holding nine LPs. Each disc comes in a full-color sleeve and has full-color center labels. Also included are three inserts printed on textured paper. It is limited to 222 signed and numbered copies, the first 44 copies are pressed on translucent dark-red vinyl and are only available from Soleilmoon mailorder, the rest are pressed on black vinyl. Three test pressings were also made available.[6] The reissue has different photography, depicting mountainous desert landscapes and plants taken at Cederberg.[11]

On the reissue, the original set is presented on LPs one to fifteen—with some of the tracks edited due to the limitations of the format—while previously unreleased material is presented on the remaining three LPs.

Region Date Label Format Quantity Catalog Sold Out
United States October 26, 2010 Soleilmoon CD 555 SOL 171 CD Yes
September 10, 2012 LP (dark red) 44 SOL 171 Yes
LP (black) 178 SOL 171 No
LP (test pressing) 3 SOL 171 No

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Rick. Merzbow: Merzbient > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  2. ^ Bird, Travis. "Review: Merzbient". Foxy Digitalis. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ Batty, Roger. "Review: Merzbient". Musique Machine. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ Schiller, Mike. "Review: Merzbient". PopMatters. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ Stubbs, David. "Review: Merzbient". The Quietus. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Press Release Detail [LP]". Soleilmoon Recordings. Retrieved May 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Batty, Roger. "Calm Before the Storm". Musique Machine. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ Announcement of the reissue on Soleilmoon's Facebook page
  9. ^ a b "Press Release Detail [CD]". Soleilmoon Recordings. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Woodward, Brett (1999). Merzbook: The Pleasuredome of Noise. Extreme. ISBN 0-646-38326-4. 
  11. ^ "Merzbient LP Photo Collection". Soleilmoon Recordings. Retrieved July 11, 2012.