Fresh Stream

Merzxiu — Merzxiu


Just in time for this year’s Record Store Day comes Merzxiu, a two-song collaborative noise album by Masami Akita, better known as Merzbow, and Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. The two have collaborated live once before in 2010 for a show at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, but this recording was made remotely, passing files between Japan and Los Angeles, with an intermediary translating emails. Stewart describes the pieces as “death drone/extinction meditations . . . very slow, sonically violent, and loud.”

The LP will be released by Vancouver label Kingfisher Bluez, who describe it as “two sides of brooding, pulsing noise to take you to a dark place.” It will be limited to 1000 copies on splattered vinyl, and 50 copies are available for preorder through the label’s Bandcamp page for those who can’t or don’t want to visit a physical store on the day itself.

The two 20-minute tracks are heavily distorted, dark, and damaged sounding. Harsh tones, clicks, feedback squalls, and blankets of static are the weapons of choice. The abrasive, sometimes unpleasant sonic assault plays to both collaborators’ strengths but also highlights elements of each’s style which have been heretofore unexplored. It’s a disturbing but fascinating meeting of the minds.

Merzxiu is available for pre-order from Kingfisher Bluez, and will be available in stores on April 18 for Record Store Day. Those of us in the Northeast have the option of catching Merzbow live in NYC next month, when he performs alongside Genesis P-Orridge, Prurient, Aaron Dilloway, Pharmakon, Ron Morelli, Uniform and more at Raw Sound Transgression, presented by Nothing Changes and Red Bull Music Academy.

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