Merzbow/Opening Performance Orchestra – “MERZOPO” Split Album Review (noise/experimental)


We venture again this week to the arena of the unsettling and uncomfortable for a mammoth split release from a legend and one in the making.

“MERZOPO is a collaborative 2-CD album of a Japan
noise legend Masami Akita alias Merzbow and a
Czech seven-member ensemble Opening Performance Orchestra based in Prague.   The first CD contains four compositions by Merzbow. ‘Futaomote’ means ‘double face’ and it was originally titled ‘Janus’. ‘Yasugibushi’ is a Japanese old folk song which was sampled. The second CD contains two live tracks from Opening Performance Orchestra which were played live in Tokyo and Prague in 2017 and studio edited at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.” (Bandcamp)

There is a reason Masami Akita is considered a noise God among men.  The guy has absolute mastery and command of the speed, intensity, harshness, delicacy, and density of his output.  His first track, “Futuamote Part 1,” begins as a slow-rolling wave of harsh static like a slow boil.  Herein he explores a lot of high-pitch static frequencies at least in the beginning of the piece.  Not his most dense work in the beginning, but none less joyfully painful to the listener’s ear.  “Part II” has some interesting and somewhat vacuous undertones with some gargling mid-frequency static manipulation.  More mid/low end, effect-laden terror for the duration of the piece.  “Yasugibushi” Parts I & II are perhaps some of his more frightening, uncomfortable recent tracks.  A LOT of effect-driven manipulation here and exploration of low-end noise on top of some really twisted manipulated sampled, sped-up sounds.  Plenty of dynamics and harsh noise at the command of the master, Mr. Akita.

The first of two tracks from Opening Performance Orchestra is one of the more ascendingly disturbing experimental/noise pieces I have heard in a while.  Forcefeeding broken shards of glass to a meat grinder, death industrial/organic soundscapes bathed in discomfort and ambient/dissonant nuances.  Cyber-harsh noise that would make KK Null jealous enters in at some point.  The second of 2 tracks by OPO is predominantly a mesh of harsh noise and death industrial dynamics; very oppressive and overwhelming to the senses rendering the listener’s brain to mush.  This is an artist or ensemble with command of dynamics – organic/manufactured, degree of intensity and discomfort and every other reason why we listen to this form of art.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what these guys come up with next.

Great digital-only, full-length release guaranteed to please the most discriminating of noise fans.

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