Monday, May 19
$20 in advance, $25 at the door
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Masami Akita, better known by his stage name Merzbow, is a legendary Japanese noise musician. Since 1979, he has released over 350 recordings and written 17 books about art, avant-garde, and post-modern culture.
Merzbow’s sounds employ the use of distortion, feedback, and noises from synthesizers, machinery, and home-made noisemakers. While much of Merzbow’s output is intensely harsh in character, Akita does occasionally make forays into ambient music. Vocals are employed sometimes, but never in a lyrical sense. Contrary to most harsh noise music, Akita also occasionally uses elements of melody and rhythm.
Akita’s early work consisted of industrial noise music made from tape loops and conventional instruments. Similar to his present albums, he produced lengthy, disorienting pieces. He also became famous for the sheer volume of his releases.
The avant-garde nature of Akita’s work made acceptance by mainstream audiences difficult. When he performed with Kiyoshi Mizutani at the 1988 Jazz-on-Amur festival in the USSR, his improvised, experimental electroacoustic set was praised by fellow musicians as well as the festival’s producer. The majority of the crowd, however, had been expecting a more traditional (and quieter) performance, and walked out. Prior to his second performance at the festivalÂ—which was to be made to an even more conservative audienceÂ— Akita was asked to play “more musically.” On that first stage, Merzbow used the finest example of “classical analogue live noisemaiking technologies” to display: untuned guitar, a drumset, various micro-objects, small springs centered in its shell baffles, large aluminium boxes with strings inside to be attacked with a fiddlestick, etc. along with multi- piezo-pickuping and close-miking techniques, live processing through vintage US fuzz, ring modulator etc. boxes, and quite vivid and spontaneous approach, backed by slide and light shows. This live recording was re-processed and released as Live in Khabarovsk, CCCP (I’m Proud by Rank of the Workers) LP Â– and as the (once more re-mixed comparing to the LP) CD 26 of the Merzbox later on.
During the 90s Akita’s work became much harsher and were generally mastered at a louder volume than usual. These were heavily influenced by death metal and grind core bands of the time (a prime example is the Venereology album).
The mid-90s saw Akita being heavily influenced by psychedelic bands and this was reflected in various albums.