How much Merzbow can you take? If you're into his harsher, psychedelic electro-blasts, then you'll probably want to devour all of the devastating noise that's collected on this extensive four disc set. Released in a limited edition of nine hundred copies and packaged inside of a multi-disc case in a black and white slipcase with metallic silver embossing, Tumeric is almost entirely within the harsh noise parameters of Merzbow's oeuvre, and it's got this malevolent vibe thanks to the titles of each multi-part track ("Black Flesh", "Black Bone", "Deaf Composition", "Black Blood"). All of the discs feature lengthy blasts of noise generated by sludgy low-end distortion, violent feedback, throbbing bass, and samples of chickens that have been processed into hellish screams and squawks, something that's appeared on several of his recent releases. The brooding howling electronics are often anchored to a percussive element; you won't find the full-on techno like throb that I've heard on some of his recent stuff, but I'm hearing looped krautrock-ish percussive grooves, pounding low-end rhythmic throb, and grinding industrial rhythms that give this some serious propulsion. Noise-wise, it's total chaos as those warped and distorted recordings of chickens are chopped up and layered with harsh junk noise action, pulsing electronics and crazed swooping oscillators, the sound sometimes shifting in controlled super-distorted drones and grinding synth buzz, but mostly its surges with blast furnace power, squealing squonking clanking metallic skree and 8-bit laser blasts and massive solar storms of roaring electronic rumble sweeping out of your speakers at full force.
It's all punishing enough for the hardcore Merzbow-fanatic, but some parts stand out: the Black Flesh disc for instance has some of the most rhythmic material in the set, mashing together brutal metal scrape, junk noise, and static drones that evolve into a brutal throb that turns into something like a stripped down gabber track layered with distorted sine waves, oscillators and feedback, and elsewhere, we're assaulted by bruising industrial loops and trance-inducing mechanical pound that grind away insistently beneath the dense layers of electronic noise.
If there's any respite, it's on the Deaf Compositions disc, which features two half-hour tracks that are both muffled masses of murky metal texture, fluttering bass, and chirping insectile oscillations that are sort of like a calmer, spacier Bastard Noise.
A seriously skull-melting collection from the Japanese noise god; if you've been hungering for the blazing power of his ultra-violent, ultra-extreme early 90's work, this boxset will definitely deliver.