Exposé Online banner

Merzbow / Keiji Haino / Balázs Pándi — An Untroublesome Defencelessness
(RareNoise RNR061, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-30

An Untroublesome Defencelessness Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Merzbow (Masami Akita), Keiji Haino, Balázs Pándi

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Level ∏ - Entrance – Level π is kind of an oddball release for Garden of Delights as they specialize in releasing reissues and archive recordings of little known German bands from the late 60s and 70s. In this case,...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues