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2012 split featuring pretty brutal harsh noise from Merzbow (who should require no introduction) on one side and the sneakier approach of LA noise collective Actuary on the other.
Merzbow’s sidelong piece starts with a giant squid fighting a sperm whale. A Japanese whaling fleet arrive, but conscientious extraterrestrial robots intervene with inconceivably cruel and advanced weapons. The flames burn ever higher and hotter as instrument panels shatter, klaxons blare, spaceships drone overhead and people turn to ash. Gradually the ships sink, one by one.
If Merzbow’s side is explicit in its violence, Actuary’s takes a more obtuse approach, suggesting horrors beyond the possibility of direct perception (Lovecraft?). There are three somewhat different compositions, the first two of which are similar in being too atmospheric to call harsh noise (Check out Les Joyaux De La Princesse keyboard minimalism on the first track), but too piercing and perverse to be considered any variety of ambient music. The third track, meanwhile, is the most directly grotesque by far, featuring a breathtakingly extreme vocal performance (that reminds me of Prurient a little and Demonologists a lot) and a second half that is the side’s only moment approaching Japanoise levels of panic. If the first two tracks are the stalking, the last is the murder, and maybe the guilt? Not much information is immediately available about Actuary, but based on this I think they rock. I actually preferred their side, although Merzbow’s is pretty sweet as well.
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