Merzbow ‎– Ecobondage

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Tracklist

Ecobondage
Prison Of Takaou
Blow Up
Ha Ha Ho Bari (Mari)
Balloon
Contraction

Versions (3)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
SH62-01 Merzbow Ecobondage(LP, Album, Ltd, Num) ZSF Produkt SH62-01 Japan 1987 Sell This Version
DISTEMPER 001 Merzbow Ecobondage(CD, Album) Distemper DISTEMPER 001 US 1995 Sell This Version
LH66 Merzbow Ecobondage(2xLP, Album + CD, Album + Ltd, Num, RE, RM) menstrualrecordings LH66 Italy 2015 Sell This Version

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dedali

dedali

January 23, 2016
referencing Ecobondage, 2xLP, Album + CD, Album + Ltd, Num, RE, RM, LH66
Here we have a much deserved re-issue of the one classic Merzbow noise works. Originally released on ZSF Produkt(Merzbows' own label) in 1987- this reissue appears in the form of a CD & double vinyl set on respected Italian noise/ industrial/ experimental Menstrual Recordings in a edition of just 250 copies.

The set features the two vinyl records & one CD coming in a sleeve that features: a Paste-on cover with replicas of the original cover art. As well as including a numbered card, a new insert with an unpublished 1980s design, and an updated version of one of the original inserts. All in all it’s a nice looking item that mangers to recreate late 80’s harsh noise packaging.

The release consists of two noise suites- on the vinyl each are split in half, with half a suite on either side of vinyl. On the CD we get just two tracks. And both suite/ tracks are great creative, rewarding & twisting mixes of junk metal, found elements, tape manipulations, and generally creative harsh noise craft.

For ease of review & track separation I’ll be reviewing the CD version of the release, and its two tracks. So first up on the cd we have Ecobondage Part 1- taking in: Ecobondage, Prison Of Takaou, and Blow-Up- this comes in at just over the thirty minute mark. The track opens with a dense, detailed & fairly manic mix of layers of junk metal activity, what sounds likes slowed & stretched-out/ farting horn textures, & dog barks. With in a three minutes we get speed-up easy listening tape reels, chains piling, junk band almost jazz rhythm tinged precision, and more junk manipulation added to the mix. As the minutes tick by the track moves along with interesting & slowly shifting textural detail all creating this feel of chaotic & manic-ness , yet perfectly planned & slightly dada tinged noise-making. I won’t detail every moment here, as I think that takes away from the surprise of the whole thing, but we get the following elements moving through the tracks layers- brooding & sinister church organ simmer, layers of cantering junk precision & screaming tape reels, and spinning layers of oscillating & searing bell tones blended with strange moans/ wails.

Track two comes in the form of Ecobondage Part 2- taking in: HA HA HO BARI(MARI), Balloon,Contraction, and Ending. This track is slightly longer than the first track at just of the thirty six minute mark. This suite once again starts off very dense with a mix of: deep stretching, forking noise gallops, shrieking junk noise shifts, and baying speed-up tape loops. With-in a few minutes we get layers of spiking & swirling Merz electro noise tones added to still extremely dense sonic picture, but for all it’s mass you get still fell that there is purpose & rewarding sonic development going on. As the track moves on their seems slowly expanding feel of space & atmosphere deep with-in the manic layers- as this slow droning junk forking element is added to a back drop of manically forking junk layers, weird baying & guttural horn work, screeching noise piles, and eerier tolling bell element. Just like the first track there is a heck of a lot of sonic detail moving through the tracks thick noise layers, but just also just like the first track it’s creative, well placed & rewarding through-out. I guess you’d say this track is a bit more moody, ominous & at times musical in it’s feel, as we move through more stripped back drifts of brooding yet baying synth drones & chopping/ swirling alien noise textures. And even at one point an organised elector beat texture(for a minute or so). Once again there’s lots of movement & shifting with-in the track, but I won’t detail too much here as it takes away from the whole impact & surprise of the whole thing.

So all told this is a very classy & nicely put together reissue of one of Merzbow’s classic noise works, and really any self respecting noise fan should not be with-out it!. But I would advise acting fast as this is ltd to just 250 copies, which I’m sure will disappear very quickly.

Roger Batty for www.musiquemachine.com
dedali

dedali

December 15, 2015
referencing Ecobondage, 2xLP, Album + CD, Album + Ltd, Num, RE, RM, LH66
Originally released in 1987 and first reissued in the mid 1990s on CD, Ecobondage is one of Merzbow’s seminal works, and also one of my earliest experiences with his vast discography. Presented as a double LP reissue (with included CD), the album feels like an appropriately deluxe edition that captures a high point of Masami Akita's too often overlooked, but superior junk noise era.

As I have surely mentioned in previous reviews of his albums, my first exposure to Akita's work was Venereology. Like many a suburban teenager, my curiosity was piqued by the claim of it being "the most extreme album you’ll ever own" that Relapse used for marketing purposes. I was underwhelmed once I heard it, however, and while I have developed more of an appreciation for the album now, it still pales compared to others. But not long after that first exposure, I found a copy of Ecobondage on the shelves of a record store and gave Merzbow a second chance. Revisiting the album nearly 20 years after first hearing it (and a more sizable chunk of his catalog), it still makes for a high water mark of his work.

The two 30 minute-plus pieces are split in half for the vinyl portion of the release, and presented as unbroken compositions on the CD. The points in which they are split are rather insignificant, as both parts are dynamic, ever shifting collages. A mix of found sounds, junk rhythms, and tape manipulations jump around rapidly from minute to minute, making any discernible divisions a moot point. Even now, I am not exactly sure where Part 1's "Ecobondage" ends and "Prison of Takaou" begins, nor do I feel that I really need to.

The first part (including "Ecobondage," "Prison of Takaou," and "Blow Up") immediately encapsulates what Masami Akita circa 1987 sounded like. Opening with scraping sheets of metal and rumbling, heavy electronics (possibly the credited contributions of then-frequent collaborator Kiyoshi Mizutani), the mix soon has Akita introducing recordings of dogs barking and clattering, junky tape loops. The piece heavily features lo-fi treated found sounds, taped and manipulated music, and other elements that are even more difficult to pin down. During its duration, it becomes a wall of cavernous metal banging and crunchy undulating patterns, transitioning from chaos to pseudo-rhythmic structures and back again.

The second portion (made up of "Ha Ha Ho Bari (Mari)," "Balloon," "Contraction," and "Ending") follows a similar blueprint: a dizzying array of what seems to be randomness but is anything but. At first it is comparably more abrasive: squeaking, shrill noises, covered in reverb and laser-gun like synthesizer passages. Even with this harshness, the variation and depth of the sounds employed by Akita keep it from becoming too dull or unpleasant. As it continues, undulating heavy bass slips into tumbling metallic chaos, like a rampant bull in a metal factory. The closing moments become more percussive and rhythmic, constructed from what resembles an improvised gamelan and random metal objects.

The presentation of Ecobondage is worth noting, too. While I am not usually one to unnecessarily extol the virtues of analog over digital presentations, the sound benefits from the vinyl presentation, which captures the warmth of the original analog source material better than the CD, which sometimes becomes a bit too sharp and harsh. Similarly, the record's visual presentation is strong as well: not only does it revert back to the original LP artwork (which was not included on the original CD reissue), the sleeve is stuffed with inserts (some reproduced from the first version of the record) and flyers that hearken back to those early noise releases that I am rather fond of. But no matter how it looks, the familiar yet unrecognizable noises captivate in their complexity and variation, culminating in a record that has an undeniable depth and breadth, and is just as great as I remember it from 20 years ago.

Creaig Dunton for www.brainwashed.com
dedali

dedali

November 3, 2015
referencing Ecobondage, 2xLP, Album + CD, Album + Ltd, Num, RE, RM, LH66
Review from Vitalweekly.net

The artist himself on his ZSF Produkt label first released Merzbow’s ‘Ecobondage’ in 1987, and it is probably a very long album, clocking in at over an hour or so. I remember getting this record, trading with Merzbow directly (LP against Dutch smut magazines, which I always thought was a great deal) but not necessarily remember this as a bad pressing.

Now it's re-issued as a double LP with no bonus material, so the new pressing has no doubt with more dynamics. Along with this comes a CD with the entire double LP as two long pieces (instead of three as was the first CD issue, released in 1995 on Distemper, it's sole release on this label actually).

This is Merzbow in one of my favourite periods, this mid to late 80s period. He's not yet the noise artist he became later, either with all his guitar effects transforming acoustic sounds, or with his laptop, effectively reaching for the same noise, nor playing around with the EMS Synthi-A. In stead he plays percussion and records himself a couple of times, banging sheets of metal, adding tape-loops of a rather obscure nature, some hand spun records and the noise is very much of a different nature than on many of his later work.

This is the great times of 'Enclosure' or 'Storage', where metal plays an important role, scraping and rubbing sheets together to create nasty patterns, or rather: non-patterns. A curious web of sounds that are not always related, even have an odd relationship but which work together actually quite well. Everything comes in what seems to be a never-ending stream of sounds, where sounds pop up for a while and then are moved to the background somewhere and something moves along. An excellent interplay of disparate sounds, conjuring flickering images of an equally unrelated kind.

If you like Merzbow, but you think he's doing his overload noise a bit too much on repeat these days, then it's certainly a wise thing to invest in this true 80s beauty which was until now hard to get: but here it is again, in full beautiful glory!

FdW