Boris/Merzbow CD review [Hydra Head]

Music Reviews
Boris/Merzbow CD review [Hydra Head]
Oct 11, 2005, 18:03

BORIS/MERZBOW Sun Baked Snow Cave CD

This Boris/Merzbow collaboration seems to be an exploration of tension manifested in three acoustic properties: nature, stringed instruments and electronics. Acting as a counterbalance to the simple strumming and light picking of guitar that characterizes the first half of this record, strains of wind howl as if passing through a cave, sounding like currents of unmediated electricity as it crackles and hums. As the light melodic plucking of guitar (which could be confused for a piano) slowly blends with strains of rising, grinding and oscillating electronic currents, the juxtaposition lends itself to an interesting tension that results in a sort of nervous presence. The bass-heavy tectonic-plate-shifting sounds typical of Boris come in twenty minutes into the CD, and the gentle landscape of guitar sounds disappear entirely and transform into an unsettling, sinister barrage of electronic jolts.

Overall the piece is meditative, if not a little too deliberate at times—the narrative arc the music takes may seem a little cliché as it moves from light sounds to a torrent of noise and back into a gentle coda.  It is, nonetheless, an interesting exploration of the clashing sounds of these varied acoustic forms. With a running time of just over an hour, Boris and Merzbow seem to be aware that any longer would be to overstay its welcome in this bleak and hollow landscape. [Hydra Head]

-Paul Matthew

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