Merzbow/Raven/Dao De Noize – “Animal Liberation” split CD Album Review


Animal Liberation – Merzbow, Raven & Dao De Noize

Ok, time to go back into the noise arena for a bit.  We’re going to go back a couple of years on this one and turn our sights to the Merzbow/Raven/Dao de Noize split CD, Animal Liberation; one track per artist and courtesy of 4ib Records out of Singapore.

When it comes to the art of harsh noise/power electronics etc., we see countless releases arrive with a supposed particular theme.  That translated means the artist’s subjective mindset while creating this noise.  However, every so often in the noise arena or in some particular albums (as it is in this case) we often hear the artists themes come through in certain parts of the work.

This album is the sonic exhibit of the chaos and despair in the mind of the animal preparing for slaughter if not in the midst of it.  It’s the decapitated chicken running around, the disabled cow being mercilessly bludgeoned while bees swarm around it or the flood of chickens in a forced exodus through the mud and excrement.  Yes, it’s that harsh.

Track 1: “Granulation 221” (Merzbow) dives right into a combination of high-pitched string pics and shrieks, unstructured percussion and an increasingly growing barrage of trademark Merzbow noise that often mimics wind.  Sporadically the strings and percussion appear while the noise element is inter-woven.  At the piece’s most volatile moments, all of these converge into sonic chaos.  It’s almost as if in this piece that Mr. Akita has made an attempt to convey the sound of the animals not through samples but through moments with noise…. the sounds of strapped down monkeys, the scurrying of paws, pigs.

Track 2: “Unjustified Murder” (Raven) a harsh and violent barrage of noise that begins with the sound of a disrupted conveyor belt (maybe carrying animal parts through the process?)  Periodically you hear a buried sound which resembles that of a warning alarm.  Maybe Raven was trying to convey the symbolism in the violence of animal slaughter.  But that’s part of the beauty of noise art, isn’t it?  It often leaves us guessing or imagining in ways unusual to normal music.

Track 3: “Slaughterhouse Diary” (Dao De Noize) quite literally sounds almost like a disturbed slaughterhouse field recording with all the nuances including machinery, hand tools, pig sounds, distant alarms…. all this with a low-key field of static noise which adds to the disturbing and ugly effect.  This is ugliness and an unsettling disturbing track… Fantastic stuff!

Great noise album by three great artists courtesy of a great label.  (Dao de Noize)

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