MERZBOW  Microkosmos Volume I  LP   (Blossoming Noise)   16.98

Like the title promises, Microkosmos Volume I is the first in a planned series of limited-edition Lps on Blossoming Noise that are centered around a set of dada-style collage-art pieces that Merzbow's Masami Akita created in the early 80's. This initial offering, pressed on green vinyl and housed in an eye-popping full color jacket that features one of the aforementioned pieces of artwork, is another blast of rhythmic noise and improvised electronic freak-out in the vein of much of his recent output, and it's heavy stuff. Using only his most violent bag of electronic frequencies and some surprisingly funky drumming, Masami scorches both sides of this LP with some massive industrial breakbeat noise overload that ends up being one of my favorite releases of his in recent years...

The a-side gets things going with an eighteen minute untitled track that starts off with some slamming boom-bap overlaid with ear shredding feedback and high end carnage, swirling electronic grit raging over a looped breakbeat with some heavy cowbell (!) dropped in, sounding a whole heluva lot like some of the noisier Techno Animal stuff. The drum beats and patterns continuously change shape, the breakbeat expanding and turning into a wall of thunderous tribal fills; all while being encased in brutal feedback and distortion. Then, suddenly, the track explodes into a speedy, thrashing drumbeat as the electronic noise turns into whooshing laser-blasts and swirling corrosive distortion, ending in a massive free-noise maelstrom that's a little like hearing Lightning Bolt being totally consumed in a hurricane of harsh noise. On the other side, Masami gets even more frantic and chaotic with his brutal free-jazz percussion wipeouts, taking off into sudden explosions of blast beat drumming, emitting thick swathes of distorted hiss and amplifier rumble and bone-rattling blasts of bass-heavy rumble. Propulsive, pulverizing breakbeat-driven chaos...this is some of the most ferocious Merzbow I've heard in the past few years. Limited to five hundred copies.