Music News

Merzbow

Merzbow is like a friend who breaks something every time he comes over. It's a surprise only the first time; after that, you have to start wondering why you keep letting it happen. Each of his releases is a white-noise assault on the brain and ears, and therefore it's easy to conclude that they're all pretty much the same. On some level, they are: If you've heard one belt sander chewing through your skull, you've heard them all. But in another way, each Merzbow disc is unique, thus creating the bizarre circumstance where it's possible to have a "favorite." No doubt, Dharma will achieve this status for some.

The obvious centerpiece is the 32-minute closer, "Frozen Guitars and Sunloop/7E 802," but each of the three substantially shorter tracks that precede this epic contains at least a few nearly sublime, almost beautiful sonic moments. The opening "I'm Coming to the Garden... No Sound, No Memory" starts off nearly ambient before beginning the ritual disembowelment of the listener's stereo speakers. "Piano Space for Marimo Kitty" features disjointed notes, played on an actual piano, floating amid the hisses, roars, and screams of the tortured electronics like a hand-lettered, construction-paper Valentine in the middle of an oil slick. "Frozen Guitars," though, gets a little tedious by the time it finally screeches to a stop.

It shouldn't be a shock that Merzbow sometimes has trouble knowing how much is too much; after all, this is the guy with a 50-CD boxed set to his name. Still, it's the short, restrained tracks that make the album worthwhile. Anybody looking to investigate noise could do a lot worse than Dharma, should standing in front of a jetliner at takeoff not suffice.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Phil Freeman
Contact: Phil Freeman