Merzbow: Flare Blues LP

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In a thorough dismantling and recontextualisation of his own work, Merzbow sets fire to his mid 90’s ‘Flare Gun’ & ‘White Blues’ EP’s with utterly compelling, visceral, and surprisingly diverse results. Essentially going toe-to-toe with his mid 90’s self, Masami Akita eviscerates the originals in a bath of tear-out textural tornadoes that only just betray their origins in raw samples of blues rock bands. Tapping into that long-standing double refraction of influence between Afro-American blues (and subsequently jazz, disco, house and techno) and its acolytes from blighty, Merzbow pushes everything into the red with nuclear levels of ferocity, unleashing torrents of detuned theremin and electronics around the blistered samples in a face-melting style that so many have imitated but have rarely imbued with such spirit and imagination. The first half of ‘Flare Gun Extra’ parts returns to his headspace and tekkers in the period following his formative classic ‘Venereology’, adapting extreme forms of compression, distortion and dynamic mixing with a manacled grip and expressive sensitivity that’s there if you cares to give it some attention, with particularly powerful results in the freewheeling bombast of ‘Flare Gun II’. We hear decimated traces of rock riffs shredded up with staggering futurist alacrity in ‘White Blues Part I’, saving a rather unexpected swerve into mind-spanking bluesy guitar psychedelia on the 2nd part that sounds like Hendrix taking an acid bath after his London stint, before ’Deathmetal’ joins the dots far north to perhaps express how the quintessence of blues shored up, petrified in the black country and was dashed on granite Scandinavian cliffs and Japanese islands from the most obtuse angles. Pure energy and chaos this one.

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