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

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kurt Rongey - With Form It Threatens Silence – Quite a few years ago — I think it was after I first heard Echolyn — I devised a new sub-genre of progressive rock, part of my own eccentric system of categorizing music. I called this sub-genre...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues