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Ensemble Drums

by Merzbow

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The Merzbow Archive series by Slowdown Records, which has released ten editions so far, enters its twelveth edition. This edition consists of recordings made between 2008 and 2009, when Merzbow developed a style that incorporated drumming. Although Masami Akita was originally a drummer heavily influenced by psychedelic rock, progressive rock, and other free music of the 70s, he avoided using drums in Merzbow (except in the duo with Kiyoshi Mizutani in the late 70s and in Merzbow Null in the early 80s). As a result, this period is the first time Merzbow has used drums in a full-fledged way in his solo works. Merzbow's most famous work in this style is the "13 Japanese Birds Series" (Important Records), a year-long series of 13 releases spanning 2008 and 2009. The impetus for the development of this style came in April 2008, the day after the London show, at Tin Pan Alley Studios, when Merzbow was recording for a new album to be released on Cold Spring Records in the UK. At that time, he recorded the live drums in the studio and combined them with computer noise, which became the beginning of their full-scale use of drums (this recording was included in "Anicca" (Cold Spring, 2008)). After returning to Japan, his drumming style evolved to include not only computerized sounds but also improvised noise, leading to works such as "Arijigoku" (Vivo, 2008), "Protean World" (Noiseville, 2008), and "Microkosmos" (Blossoming Noise, 2009). The encounter with a drummer who has a lot in common with him in terms of musical background (not only metal and grindcore, but also Sun Ra and free jazz) led to Merzbow's desire to pursue a style that incorporates drumming as a duo. And Merzbow's solo music has returned to a drum-less style (i.e., a style that is not improvisational even if drums are included). Therefore, the recordings of this period using Akita's own drum performance is valuable.
This album, "Ensemble Drums," contains three another mixes of two albums, "Protean World" and "Microkosmos" (one from the former and two from the latter). The drumming was recorded separately in a rented studio.The first track is a mixture of drumming and improvisational noise, with the drums rampage fast without a steady beat. The second and third tracks have different flavors of performance, as they gradually become rougher and rougher to join the noise, interweaving drum solo-like performances that show free changes while maintaining the groove and the time to firmly beat the beat.

yorosz(aka Shuta Hiraki)


released April 28, 2022

All Music by Masami Akita
Recorded & mixed at Munemihouse, April 2008 (tr.1), June 2008 (tr.2&3).
Remastered, October 2020.
Mastered at Kentaro Hayashi, Osaka, Japan.
Yasuyuki Nakamura (slowdown records) : A&R


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Merzbow Tokyo, Japan

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