MERZBOW + JAZZKAMMER  Live At Molde International Jazz Festival  CD   (Smalltown Supersound)   15.98

A live collaboration between Japan's Masami Akita and the guys in Jazzkammer recorded at a 2001 festival in Norway, Live... captures their full set of improvised noise sculpture, jazz-stained rhythmic chaos and hardcore distortion demolition and divides the performance into three long chapters; fans of the recent Merzbow material that has been focusing on rhythmic/percussive elements are going to want to get this, as it features plenty of looped drumming and chopped up percussion woven into the sprawling noise-blast that these artists construct, as well as some extreme metal sounds that are deconstructed and shot into the set that really set this disc on fire over the last fifteen minutes.

The first track begins with several minutes of a simple looped drumbeat that becomes surrounded with scraping noises and granular fuzz, the sound getting more acerbic as it progresses, the drumbeat building into a heartbeat-like pulse. After a few minutes, some sampled piano is scattered chaotically across the rhythmic throb, becoming tumbling clusters of atonal notes flowing over the free-jazz style percussion, the sound becoming more frenetic and messy while the original simple drum pattern continues to loop throughout the entire length of the piece, a cardiac pulse that anchors the musicians even as they blast off into some seriously violent bouts of random noise and clatter, and by the eight minute mark, it sounds like a propulsive free jazz drummer navigating through battlefields of processed samples, junk noise, and the sounds of multiple bass drums being tossed down a flight of stairs then looped over and over.

The noisescape on track two is more abstract, at least at the beginning; gusts of granular wind blow below distant high-pitched squealing tones that start to form into strange synth melodies, all warped and distressed, with lots of extreme oscillating sine waves and bleeping computer chaos and fractal noise appearing and coalescing into clouds of glitch and grind, backed by roaring synthesizers, a buzzing, screeching field of electronic noise possessed with looping off-kilter melodies.

Both of these tracks are impressive slabs of noise, but it's the last one that blew me away. The group continues to layer blown-out synth drones and waves of metallic distortion over oceanic surges of granular white noise, getting into seriously harsh territory. But then these blown-out chunks of processed death metal begin to appear, snarling beneath the electronic noise, along with warped, smears of decelerating blast beats and crushing riffage that are barely recognizable, chopped up into extreme abstract collages of shapeless blast. It almost sounds like a much more abstract and deconstructed Noism track, dissected death/grind samples strewn amongst warbling bass throb, looped rhythms, raging jets of muffled noise, backwards electronic squelch, and more of those looped drums.

Track Samples:
Sample : MERZBOW + JAZZKAMMER-Live At Molde International Jazz Festival
Sample : MERZBOW + JAZZKAMMER-Live At Molde International Jazz Festival