CD: Essence Music ESS003 [2004]
Ltd x 900

Sha mo 3000
Ghost hide your eyes
Dreaming k-dog
Hen's teeth

Japanese culture has always fascinated me. From their delicious food…(when its not moving) to their penchant for releasing OTT gore films and fantastical Manga & Anime comics & cartoons, through to the way their women are all so subservient. Not forgetting of course their technical expertise in the gaming and electronic fields and the fact that they actually seem to enjoy Extreme Music. The Grand daddy of all Japanese Extreme musicians is the one and only Masami Akita (Merzbow) whose current catalogue is so prolific that even he probably doesn’t know how many releases he’s put out so far. If I had been asked to review a Merzbow release 10 years ago I would have politely declined the offer. His non stop barrage on the senses never changed in style. Only the intensity and high frequencies employed differing from recording to recording. He was very much an acquired taste.

Time changes a person eventually and as he’s grown older he has learned to modify and explore newer sounds and avenues. The latest releases from the great man have differed in style and substance but have still managed to retain the elements that constitute the Merzbow blueprint. One only need to hear the split release "Partikel" on Cold Spring with Nordvargr [read here] to gauge how this progression has taken effect. "Sha Mo 3000" is / isn’t a typical Merzbow recording. Taking his love of obscure Psychedelic music as a theme he has carefully crafted 5 pieces of mind bending / blowing music There’s a marked incursion into the experimental field, where sound sources are dismantled then rebuilt, creating a disorientating pattern of seemingly random but actually perfectly placed pieces of noise. Everything gels with the care and attention to detail usually associated with him. What at first may appear as random pulses or blasts of icy static actually meld cohesively into the music as more varied and complex sounds are thrown continually into the mix. This heady brew surges and reverberates into a concoction that is complimented by the pieces of sheer aural pandemonium that only he can create so well. Rhythmic distortion has never sounded so good.

To uninitiated ears the sonic perfection of "Sha Mo 3000" will mean absolutely nothing as they will fail to grasp the hidden delights just laying beneath the surface. Purists who know where to dig will find a hidden treasure trove of sounds just waiting to be released and unleashed. Startling and inventive "Sha Mo 3000", although never an easy listening experience, is a truly mighty release. The old boy has come good with this one.


[Merzbow] / [Essence]

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Other Reviews:

Merzbow Vs Nordvargr [Partikel]

Our Essence Music Page