There are new Merzbow releases all the time… new albums, reissues, collaborations and so on. Any many of these are actually pretty great, but due to the high volume, obviously only the most die hard fans try to keep up with all of them. But then, once in a while there is one that stands out for one reason or another and this one is definitely one of those. Masami Akita has done countless collabs in the past, mostly with other noise or experimental musicians, but still, this new collaboration with UK electronic music pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto came as quite a surprise. In the late ’80s, early ’90s MBM played an important role in the developement of underground electronic dance music (with classic tracks like Mindstream), including genres like drum’n’bass, breakbeat, big beat and even the more dance oriented side of industrial. Remaing active ever since the project’s been basically working as founding member Jack Dangers‘ solo outfit for quite some time, playing live and occasionally releasing new material.

This first ever collaboration between Masami Akita and Dangers consist of two longer tracks and offers a very interesting mixture of the two artist’s trademark elements. In the first track, the focus is on MBM’s broken beats, that, for over 20 minutes, go on and on, with an ever changing rhythmic structure and Merzbow mostly provides a backdrop of rumbling noise, sometimes coming more to the front and sometimes almost fading into the background. The second tune, Burner sounds more like a typical Merzbow track, here Masami completely deconstructed the beat patterns and incorporated them into his layers of slowly pulsing noise, that range from low rumblings to higher frequency sounds. While Merzbow originally rose to fame with his releases featuring an impenetrable wall of noise, like Pulse Demon, I always preferred when he took a step back, going for a more subtle approach and that’s exactly what’s happening here, with near-hypnotic results. The swirling sounds go on for about ten minutes, then the track starts to change, but still remains more on the low-key side. Overall it is a great collaboration and it is especially interesting to see how the two tracks take the sound into two completely different directions.

The “Radio Edit”  of ¡FLAKKA! wraps up the album, which is basically just a shorter edit of the first track, so it does not add much to the material, but it is a nice little bonus nonetheless. The album will be out late April in all the popular formats on UK label Cold Sping. Both tracks got their own music video and while the one for ¡FLAKKA! is age-restricted due to some mildly violent content and can only be watched on Youtube, you can find the one for Burner below along with the album teaser.

Cold Sping / digital, cd, vinyl
03.¡FLAKKA! (Radio Edit)