Exposé Online banner

Richard Pinhas and Merzbow — Keio Line
(Cuneiform Rune 278/279, 2008, 2CD)

by K. Leimer, Published 2009-07-01

Keio Line Cover art

Having redefined the scale of sonic monumentalism with the 2006 two-disc set Metatron, Keio Line cleaves to the opposite – a two disc set of comparatively simple instrumentation reliant upon the real-time reconfiguration of signals. To again borrow from Kurt Schwitters, Keio Line is clearly an audio merzbau, collage-like rambles using scraps of audioforms and phrases generated by guitar with de rigueur pedals, a synth, and the now omnipresent laptop. For Schwitters, "merz" was a contraction of the German word "schmerz," meaning pain. And while the pain here is implicit, never overt, the music is often reassuringly familiar. The signal path – where so much effort now resides – results in a restless sonic amalgam, admirably uncertain, all deftness in the soundstage and still radiant with the digital metaphor of the analog ideal. But set beside other signal paths, this one seems too well-worn. By now one wonders if Pinhas is asking himself even the most rudimentary questions about his approach. While phrases subsumed by reprocessing and laptopification swirl and shudder with unflagging conviction in the pulsing spontaneium, they occasionally surface and are readily recognizable from as long ago as Allez Teia, the Heldon album featuring such loving invocations of Fripp's 70s sostenudo. Keio Line may simply demonstrate that we've lived long enough to cross the generational threshold, innovation now belonging to those born into the digital milieu, not grafted onto it, and consequently being the better suited in surveilling the new terrain.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Richard Pinhas, Merzbow (Masami Akita)

Latest news

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bill Bruford with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez - If Summer Had Its Ghosts – When Bill Bruford is on break from his drum duties with King Crimson, what would you expect him to do? Should he go on vacation or work in another less hectic, but rewarding mode? If Summer Had Its...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues