Merzbow / Keiji Haino / Balázs Pándi — An Untroublesome Defencelessness
(RareNoise RNR061, 2016, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-30
With the names Merzbow and Keiji Haino on the cover, you’re probably not expecting pastoral compositions for acoustic instruments. Rather, you might even expect a continuous blast of distorted noise. In the case of An Untroublesome Defencelessness, you’d be wrong on the second expectation at least. I suppose that in comparison with some of the recordings Merzbow and Haino have been involved with, this seems practically pastoral, but compared to most music, it’s definitely on the noisy side. The album consists of two improvised suites, “Why Is the Courtesy of the Prey Always Confused with the Courtesy of the Hunters…” and “How Differ the Instructions on the Left from the Instructions on the Right?” which are divided up into numerous tracks ranging from just under two minutes to nearly 14. With his instrumentation consisting of a drum kit Balász Pándi’s contributions are most distinctive, and he’s in a fairly aggressive free-form mode for most of the duration, tempo-keeping never being on his agenda. Haino’s playing is sometimes recognizable as originating with a guitar, though he rarely plays chords or melodies, instead focussing on notes or short phrases mangled by effects and feedback. Such atonal thrashing is obviously not going to be to everyone’s liking, even among listeners who enjoy free improvisation. Merzbow’s contributions are even harder to identify, consisting of manipulations of raw noise, rarely featuring any pitches, either in the realm of pure noise or with wailing tones sweeping up and down. Needless to say, An Untroublesome Defencelessness is not likely to be hitting the pop charts anytime soon, though curious listeners who have enjoyed some of Richard Pinhas’ collaborations with Merzbow might want to see what happens when you move a little further out from safety.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more