Merzbow stands as the most important artist in noise music. The moniker of Japanese artist Masami Akita was born in Tokyo in 1979. Inspired by dadaism and surrealism, Akita took the name for his project from German artist Kurt Schwitters‘s pre-war architectural assemblage The Cathedral of Erotic Misery or Merzbau. Working in his home, he quickly gained notoriety as a purveyor of a musical genre composed solely of pure, unadulterated noise. Embracing technology and the machine, first in an absolutely analog way and then welcoming digital innovation, Merzbow broke boundaries and pushed toward new territories of the extreme, arriving at a sonic space of uncontaminated, straight noise that, from its base in Tokyo, has continued, now for over 40 years, to set the pace for the entire genre of noise.
Exquisitely recorded and mixed between February and May 1995 at ZSF Produkt Studio, Masami Akita’s home studio from the late 80s to late 90s, Magnesia Nova is stunning immersion into the world of Merzbow during one of the project’s most engrossing and important period. Inspired by the intersections between Greece and Japan and between Western and Eastern civilization along with work of Athanasius Kircher (all of the track titles have been taken from Kircher’s works ), is a true blasts of noise, meticulously crafted into gorgeous sound collages.
For the first time that this seminal document from Merzbow’s ’90s period has ever appeared on vinyl, in double LP, featuring last side of second LP with 20 minutes of unreleased bonus track took from the same period of the recording sessions. Like all of his work since the early nineties, Magnesia Nova is an uncompromising cascade of brutal noise. In this album you find nothing of the minimalism of his early 80s, completely overwhelmed by synthesizers and handmade objects that become his unconventional weapons to create bursts of noise.
The album begins with ‘’Rituale Lucis’’ and ‘’Magnesia Nova’’, a parade of overloaded, layered and pulsating synthesizers and feedback. Two minutes are enough for the artist to take us to the territories of the most creative experimentation in the history of noise. They are sounds from a parallel universe suspended in time and straight out of an old amp that mumbles before going back to freaking out with synth razors. The sounds are unlike anything else played before or after. You find yourself in the world of dreams and the rhythm of the sound construction thickens, until the great progression of eternal noise materializes. On the second side of the first record the crashes of noise return and the gates of primordial chaos open with ‘’Oedipus Organum’’, while ‘’Specula Naturalum’’ comes to an end, as if it had never begun: perhaps it has been there since the beginning of time, an explosion of synthetic sounds, which seem like the spatial drifts for minor chords by Klaus Schulze . The second record open with ‘’Pantometrum Erotica’’ that begins with a dark modulation, where an obsessive rhythm alternates with screams of noise and the now familiar synthesizer sound and continue with ‘’Sphinx Mystagoga’’ where everything collapses into a single otherworldly synthesizer voice that explores an uninhabited planet.
Released in an edition of 299 copies only as an awesome redesigned reverse cardboard gatefold sleeve LP with original paint art by Masami Akita, Magnesia Nova is a stunning piece of work, that blur the boundaries between pure noise, performance and experimental music. Once again we are immersed in the thrilling sonorous universe of one of the most strikingly noise legend artist from Japan. Easily one of nearly all curious and engaging records we’ve heard so far this year, and not to be missed.