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November 2018

Noise maker Masami Akita aka Merzbow releases an hour long live recording

MONOAkuma is a live recording of Japanese straight edge noise artist Merzbow at Brisbane's Institute Of Modern Art in 2012. Its 2019 release marks 40 years since Akita started the project in Tokyo back in 1979. Room40 label founder Lawrence English describes the 2012 concert below:

“This past June, I invited Merzbow to take part in a programme I curate at Dark Mofo in Hobart, Borderlands. It’d been almost five years since I last heard him perform and his concert was quite literally an experience of physical sound in the absolute; an unrelenting exhibition of acoustic force.

“As he finished his set, people exploded; there was this overwhelming desire to scream out, a kind of euphoria that extreme experiences can sometimes produce. As he walked back behind an amplifier and took a drink of water, the audience continued this howling and calling, then a person in front of me who had been completely entranced during the performance was overcome and yelled out, ‘Just fucking kills us.’ At that moment, Merzbow walked back out on stage and did just that. He mowed us down in a wave of sonic power that was like being caught up in a tornado of detritus from a world that for those moments no longer existed.

“That concert this past June reminded me very strongly of a previous experience I had with Merzbow, the one captured on MONOAkuma. That particular night in Brisbane, Merzbow performed in front of a capacity audience as part of the Institute Of Modern Art’s MONO series, which I have been curating since 2006. On recollection, the scene was quite something. Most impressive was the pit of bodies dancing and writhing at the front of the stage. Other bodies remained still, like flesh in shock, waiting to be released from the inescapable grip of vibration. That performance remains one of the most memorable and euphoric I have ever had the pleasure to be part of. As people walked out of the room, many described a sense of disorientation, like they had been overcome by some psychedelic experience.

“MONOAkuma captures a very special spirit that for me is one of the truly unique aspects of Merzbow’s work, his ability to utterly absorb every fibre of your being; physical or psychological.”

Merzbow featured on the cover of The Wire 198. Subscribers can read this issue via the online archive. MONOAkuma is released on 30 November by Room40.


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