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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Eban & Charley (OST) (Merge) cd 14.98
The first 2002 peep from the prolific pen of Stephin Merritt (following the epic "69 Love Songs 3-cd box set) comes not as a new Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes nor Sixths album, but as an indie film soundtrack. Sounding just as you'd expect film music composed by Mr. Magnetic Fields would... lovely, lonely, spartan and droll. Lingering piano and harpsichord notes, brief solemnly sung moments that I wouldn't quite classify as songs (which include despairing renderings of O Tannenbaum and Greensleeves), clinky-clunky, off-kilter antique toy instrument sounds and experimental soundscapes. Word has it he's been deep in recordingland working on new Magnetic Fields and Future Bible Heroes albums, but until those surface...
RealAudio clip: "Maria Maria Maria"
RealAudio clip: "Some Summer Day"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Obscurities (Merge) cd 14.98
Oh the glory days. Remember when all our favorite bands were still sort of our own little secret that the larger mainstream world both didn't know about and could care less about. That's how it was almost two decades ago when The Magnetic Fields first hit the scene. Before getting the attention of NPR and culture vultures far and wide with the release of 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt was one of the most unsung songwriters of our generation. Whether it was with The Magnetic Fields or when he recorded under the monikers of The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, or the Gothic Archies, he carved out a space as one of the most unique and versatile songwriters we had heard in ages.
Obscurities draws from this magical era. Taking rare and unreleased tracks dating back to his days on Merge in the mid-late '90s. And we have to admit, this record is really reminding us why we fell so hard in love with his songs in the first place. The poignant and wicked smart lyrics, the deadpan delivery, the range of song forms from lo-fi C86 inspired blasts to more delicate and introspective twee. And we must mention that this contains one of our favorite songs of all time. "I Don't Believe You" by The Magnetic Fields, and it's not the version that came out on their Nonesuch debut, I, but instead the version from the long out of print Merge 7", that a few of us here have probably played over and over more then any other song in the world. well worth the price of admission for that practically perfect chunk of lo-fi pop bliss!
While we still dig what Merritt has been doing in recent years, in fact we made the 2008 Magnetic Fields album Distortion a Record Of The Week, we have to admit this is the era that will always be most near and dear to our hearts and ears. Absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Believe You (The Magnetic Fields)"
MPEG Stream: "Yet Another Girl (The 6ths)"
MPEG Stream: "Rats In The Garbage Of The Western World (The Magnetic Fields)"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Obscurities (Merge) lp 17.98
Oh the glory days. Remember when all our favorite bands were still sort of our own little secret that the larger mainstream world both didn't know about and could care less about. That's how it was almost two decades ago when The Magnetic Fields first hit the scene. Before getting the attention of NPR and culture vultures far and wide with the release of 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt was one of the most unsung songwriters of our generation. Whether it was with The Magnetic Fields or when he recorded under the monikers of The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, or the Gothic Archies, he carved out a space as one of the most unique and versatile songwriters we had heard in ages.
Obscurities draws from this magical era. Taking rare and unreleased tracks dating back to his days on Merge in the mid-late '90s. And we have to admit, this record is really reminding us why we fell so hard in love with his songs in the first place. The poignant and wicked smart lyrics, the deadpan delivery, the range of song forms from lo-fi C86 inspired blasts to more delicate and introspective twee. And we must mention that this contains one of our favorite songs of all time. "I Don't Believe You" by The Magnetic Fields, and it's not the version that came out on their Nonesuch debut, I, but instead the version from the long out of print Merge 7", that a few of us here have probably played over and over more then any other song in the world. well worth the price of admission for that practically perfect chunk of lo-fi pop bliss!
While we still dig what Merritt has been doing in recent years, in fact we made the 2008 Magnetic Fields album Distortion a Record Of The Week, we have to admit this is the era that will always be most near and dear to our hearts and ears. Absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Believe You (The Magnetic Fields)"
MPEG Stream: "Yet Another Girl (The 6ths)"
MPEG Stream: "Rats In The Garbage Of The Western World (The Magnetic Fields)"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Pieces Of April Soundtrack (Nonesuch) cd 11.98
If you're at all familiar with the AQ gang, you already know very well that Cup gives the heartiest of thumth-upths to lisp-friendly Stephin Merritt and his various projects (Magnetic Fields, Sixths, Future Bible Heroes, etc). If you're at all unfamiliar with the man and his music, consider this your prime opportunity to get acquainted. We haven't seen the movie yet, so we can't comment on the music's relation to the film. However, we can say that in comparison to his previous soundtrack album for the film Eban & Charley which included a varied selection of songs and instrumental soundscapes, this is solely a collection of songs. It's a great sampling of previously released Magnetic Fields and Sixths songs (from 69 Love Songs and Hyacinths And Thistles respectively) as well as previously unreleased MF and solo Merritt works. Actually one of the two Sixths songs that's included -- "You You You You You" sung by Squirrel Nut Zippers' Katharine Whalen -- is indeed one of Cup's absolute faves. Aaah, such consistently top notch, achingly pretty, sweetheart songs. No one pinpoints the many matters of the heart from first blush to cold shoulder to brutal heartache in such wonderfully droll fashion as Mr. Merritt.
Note: Please be forewarned this cd tips the scales at just over 26 minutes, but oh what a splendid 26 minutes it is! Very recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Dreams Anymore"
MPEG Stream: "You You You You You"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Showtunes (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
Hoooo boy, what can we say about the latest Stephin Merritt release? This is a tough one. On the first day that we had this album in stock, it provoked some of the most immediate and strongest reactions. To put it mildly, we've got some pretty damn diehard Merritt supporters around here (we might add, some of them are card-carrying showtune lovers too!), but even they had to swiftly flee the scene of this album by the third song. Did we mention it's comprised of a whopping 26 opera-heavy compositions that he collaborated on with China's opera star Chen Shi-Zheng for three stage presentations (Orphan Of Zhao, Peach Blossom Fan and My Life As A Fairy Tale)? Yup, this modern day pop Pied Piper left his usual gang of merry pop pranksters at the rock club and trotted himself right down into high art theater row. We suspect those blinding Broadway lights might've shorted out a few of his good-sense-o-meters. Unquestionably, this is one of Merritt's most bizarre, ambitious and ballsy releases to date. As far from his Magnetic Fields, The Sixths, Future Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies et al as he (and you) can get! Be forewarned, 'tis an acquired taste.
MPEG Stream: "At Madam Plum's"
MPEG Stream: "What A F*cking Lovely Day"

album cover MERRY-GO-ROUND, THE Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection (Rev-Ola) cd 15.98
Anthology from Emitt Rhodes and The Merry-Go-Round containing the seminal first album as well as American Dream, which although sometimes billed as the Second Merry-Go-Round album is actually the first Emitt Rhodes solo album.
Contains all their Beatles-by-way-of-Hawthorne, CA hits, including "Live", "Time Shall Show The Wiser", (famously covered by Fairport Convention on their debut) and "You're A Very Lovely Woman".

album cover MERRY-GO-ROUND, THE You're A Very Lovely Woman / Live (Sundazed) lp 21.00

album cover MERRY-GO-ROUND, THE You're A Very Lovely Woman / Live (Sundazed) lp 21.00

album cover MERRYL Towel Crown (Hooker Vision) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another fine offering from the Hooker Vision imprint which has been championing some weird and wonderful experimental outfits from the Southeastern US. Merryl is the work of North Carolinian Will Isenogle who spins a couple of mighty fine corrosive dronescapes on this tape contextualized by film snippets from stoned UFOlogists gazing into the night sky and postulating about the alien civilizations that may be orbiting the earth. Out of the opening found text, Isenogle builds a hazily levitating drone laced with kosmische allusions; but he slowly envelops this with a crusty transmission of tape mulched noise and amplifier destruction that would make Campbelle Kneale proud. The second side reprises the shimmering, delicate dronescaping found at the beginning of the first with undulating tones and soft-focus ambient melodies of dreamtime melancholy and a gravelly texture of shortwave radio static sliding up to the foreground. Druggy, lo-fi hypnosis at its best; but be warned, Towel Crowl is limited to 100 copies and it's already sold out at the label!
MPEG Stream: "Towel Crown"

album cover MERZBOW 24 Hours - A Day Of Seals (Dirter Promotions) 4cd 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Let's settle this bullshit once and for all. The best Merzbow record of all is of course the Merzcedes -- the legendary (perhaps to the point of being mythical) conceptual artpiece of raw Merzbow noise permanently fixed into the cassette deck of a Mercedes sedan. No, we haven't actually had the pleasure of experiencing the Merzcedes; but the Merzcedes is the best Merzbow album regardless of all comers!!. It's not "Amlux" (which was claimed to be the 'definitive' Merzbow album), it's not the "Merzbox" (the massive, ridiculous 50 cd retrospective), and it's not "24 Hours - A Day Of Seals" (hyped as the 'most satisfying' Merzbow album). It's the Merzcedes. End of argument.
This illogical rant is not to say that any of those aforementioned albums are bad; but, it should illustrate the point that any quantification of the Merzbow's massive catalogue into generic superlatives is not only stupid but also useless to any critiques about Merzbow. "Most satisfying"? How could you ever know? But, this new mini Merzbox is indeed a fine addition to his canon.
As has been the case for many of the contemporary Merzbow albums, the four-CD set "24 Hours - A Day Of Seals" centers on mechanical loops of volatile grindings, ugly digitalized flanges, and cascading white noise. Is it manipulated field recordings of harbor seals? It could be. It could also be a guitar, or a vibrator, or just some analogue synth twaddle, or a seal playing a guitar! Whatever it is, it should "satisfy" your Merzbow/noise jones for at least as long as it takes to listen to all four cds. Those partial to heavy guitar-based drone noise rock a la old Skullflower or Ramleh might find portions of this particularily enjoyable.
RealAudio clip: "Mincle No Uta"
RealAudio clip: "Rising King Penguin"

album cover MERZBOW A Taste Of... (Mego) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A very eclectic and adventurous offering from the Ryori No Tetsujin of noise. "A Taste Of Merzbow" serves up a smorgasbord of sonic catastrophe, texturally shifting from Akita's current digital synthesis practices to the jagged cut'n'paste aesthetic that harkens back to the days of "Ecobondage" and "Batztoutai With Material Gadgets". Conceptually, Akita has assembled a collection of recipes that correspond to each track, though the relevance and/or significance of the relationship between composition and cuisine is unknown to us. Most unusual is the use of distinctly digitally rendered randomizations and algorithmic structures, not of common practice in the past. While not as powerful as the recent "Hard Lovin' Man" or "Amlux", this is still an extremely potent mˇlange of furious vehemence and elegance. Very Mego, very Merzbow. Seconds, anyone?
RealAudio clip: "Turban Shell Blues"

album cover MERZBOW Amlux (Important) cd 12.98
In the continuing onslaught of Merzbow releases (and considering the emphatic reverence displayed by the attendees at Akita's All Tomorrow's Parties performance, as well as Sonic Youth's seal of approval, there will no doubt be tons more to come), Newbury, MA's Important Records has offered what they like to refer to as "the definitive modern Merzbow record". Sure, this is prime Merzbow, replete with sonically massive sounds sure to mesmerize and amazing frequency dynamics, as expected with any high quality Merzbow document. At high volumes, it would destroy eardrums if not small buildings. But can you make such a claim as "definitive" in regards to any one particular Merzbow release? One such contender might just possibly be the Merzbox (still available, by the way), as it displays the many moods and faces of Akita-san. However, the Merzbox represents the primitive era, pre-Powerbook methods of Akita's activities. How about "Hard Lovin' Man"? Definitely one of the highlights of post-analogue Merzbow (and even post-shoegazer bliss!). "Frog"? Beautiful. I feel it is much too soon to declare a modern Merzbow product "definitive" as a statement as strong as that is generally reserved for a piece of art that holds up through the test of time. But what do I know? Maybe Important Records are on to something. One important (har har!) note about this release: it contains the source material which will be distributed to various artists to remix for a compilation titled "Merzmix" (how original). Remember that remix disc "Scumtron" that came out years ago? Anyway, contributors thus far include: Acid Mothers Temple (bling bling!$!), Bola, Chicks On Speed, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Alec Empire, Arto Lindsay, KK Null, Sonic Boom and DJ Spooky with the possible inclusion of many more artists. Anyway, to break it on down: Is it good? Yes. Essential? Maybe. Definitive? You decide.
RealAudio clip: "Takemitsu"
RealAudio clip: "Looping Jane"

album cover MERZBOW Animal Magnetism (Alien8 Recordings) cd 14.98
If you made a graph of Japanese noisician Merzbow's career, the zig zagging lines of both consumer interest and product quality would definitely be on the ascendant of late, even as his volume of releases remains steady, and large. Here's another one, to be greeted with "yay, a new Merzbow!" rather than the "oh god, another Mezbow?" response that might have been appropriate a few years back. Nope, he's happenin' right now, and Animal Magnetism further continues these positive Merzbow trends.
The obi blurb provided by label Alien8 implies that this record is either inspired by Merzbow's pet chickens (as pictured on the cover) or utilizes them as a sound source for sampling. Perhaps. But pet chickens, pet rocks, whatever, you can't tell. Wildlife meets white noise? It works as a description anyway. As does: pulsing and grinding, in large part this disc is an attack of static somewhere between and beyond the distorto spazz of Lightning Bolt and a television set on the blink. Hissing, howling, and heavy, even haunting -- as noise goes, this is both wonderfully, uh, noisy, and interestingly varied. A lot is going on. It's not without layers of rhythm as well as texture. Really, Animal Magnetism approaches "music", psychedelic music, as close as Merzbow ever does. No disappointment!
MPEG Stream: "Quiet Men"
MPEG Stream: "Pier 39"

album cover MERZBOW Bariken (Blossoming Noise) cd 14.98

album cover MERZBOW Blackbone Part.5 (Blossoming Noise) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.


album cover MERZBOW Bloody Sea (Vivo) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Batten down the hatches! From the Japanophile Polish label Vivo, here's a pair of new cds from everyone's favorite Japanese noisemonger, the mighty Merzbow. On Bloody Sea, Masami Akita (for he be Merzbow) displays his softer side. Not sonically, no not at all, but in his concerned efforts to save the whales via his "protest-noise". Yes, this is an anti-whaling album, hence the title, and we'd imagine that if Greenpeace were to find some way to blare it loudly at the Japanese whaling fleet whenever they tried to leave port, they might be forced to call off the whale hunt for the season. There's three cacophonous parts to this 50-minute disc, composed of battling blown-out chattering rumble and sizzling synths. Very abstract and assaultive, as if Merzbow is trying to channel the pain and suffering of all the whales into a song they never could sing.
Meanwhile, the more recently released Coma Berenices contains five lengthy, throbbing machine-screams of dense distortion, zapped with high-end skree... it'll wax yer ears but good. Fried and frenzied, but also carefully looped and layered with sonic detail. It is (relatively speaking) quite listenable as harsh psychedelia, the dark-drone-doom thing taken to the extremes of Merzbowian methodology!
MPEG Stream: "Anti-Whaling Song Pt.1"
MPEG Stream: "Anti-Whaling Song Pt.3"

album cover MERZBOW Coma Berenices (Vivo) cd 14.98
Batten down the hatches! From the Japanophile Polish label Vivo, here's a pair of new cds from everyone's favorite Japanese noisemonger, the mighty Merzbow. On Bloody Sea, Masami Akita (for he be Merzbow) displays his softer side. Not sonically, no not at all, but in his concerned efforts to save the whales via his "protest-noise". Yes, this is an anti-whaling album, hence the title, and we'd imagine that if Greenpeace were to find some way to blare it loudly at the Japanese whaling fleet whenever they tried to leave port, they might be forced to call off the whale hunt for the season. There's three cacophonous parts to this 50-minute disc, composed of battling blown-out chattering rumble and sizzling synths. Very abstract and assaultive, as if Merzbow is trying to channel the pain and suffering of all the whales into a song they never could sing.
Meanwhile, the more recently released Coma Berenices contains five lengthy, throbbing machine-screams of dense distortion, zapped with high-end skree... it'll wax yer ears but good. Fried and frenzied, but also carefully looped and layered with sonic detail. It is (relatively speaking) quite listenable as harsh psychedelia, the dark-drone-doom thing taken to the extremes of Merzbowian methodology!
MPEG Stream: "Earth Worms"
MPEG Stream: "Alishan"

MERZBOW Cycle (Very Friendly) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MERZBOW Dharma (Double H Noise Industries) cd 14.98
Merzbow's intense noise attacks continue with this release on the noise subsidiary of Hydrahead. Like his more recent recordings, Merzbow infuses his white-hot grinding distortion with bursts of frenetic shards and ominous low end pulses. The major departure for "Dharma" is his sporadic repitition of a very clunky, purposefully avant-garde sounding piano riff, sprinkled with generous eruptions of granulated noise.
RealAudio clip: "Piano Space For Marimo Kitty"

album cover MERZBOW Dust Of Dreams (A Thisco) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Merzbow's Dust Of Dreams is another bludgeoning record of scalding noise for all of those raw nerve endings that need to be damaged just a little bit more. Compared to the almost jubilantly rhythmic Senmaida (one of many Merzbow records alongside this one to hit the stores in the early fall of 2005), Dust Of Dreams is a far more dour recording, with the rasping haze of mechanical wasps constantly swarming above seasick marching rhythms. If you've always been confused when Merzbow is pegged as being psychedelic, Dust Of Dreams will only perpetuate that confusion as the kaleidoscopes of swirling noise are of a leaden grey, as opposed to dozens of other Merzbow records which explode with a molten synaesthesia of nauseating flourescence. Nonetheless, Dust Of Dreams is still miles above almost every other recording of the globe's massive population of Merzbow wannabes.
MPEG Stream: "1339"
MPEG Stream: "Dust Of Dreams"

album cover MERZBOW Eucalypse (Soleilmoon) cd 28.00

album cover MERZBOW Frog (Misanthropic Agenda) 2cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is the finally-on-cd version of the super cool Merzbow then-lp-only Frog we reviewed a year or so back. Here's what we said abouth the vinyl:
Yep, that's right, Masami Akita exploits the powerful and hypnotic depth of everyone's favorite musical amphibians. The record begins, simply enough, with the soothing rumbling croak of the webbed feet wonders, gradually evolving into an explosive demon that only Merzbow can conjure up. Handsomely packaged in a gatefold sleeve adorned with colorful baby frogs and layered with a gorgeous glossy transparent iconic design (designed by Akita, and included in an exhibition at Yokohama Triennale 2001 in Japan, where Merzbow also had a sound installation room). All in all, another fantastic post-analogue release from Akita-san, and top-notch excellence in its concept and execution.
Thankfully, the cd, now a double, is packaged just as exquisitely (minus the stupid top obi, that is TAPED TO THE DIGIPAK!! Be warned: remove CAREFULLY!) The bonus disc contains almost an hour of extra material, 4 extended tracks of Merzbowian white noise pummel, as well as a really beautiful screen saver for your computer.
MPEG Stream: "Kaeru No Shima"
MPEG Stream: "Black Frog"

MERZBOW Frog (Misanthropic Agenda) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yep, that's right, Masami Akita exploits the powerful and hypnotic depth of everyone's favorite musical amphibians. The record begins, simply enough, with the soothing rumbling croak of the webbed feet wonders, gradually evolving into an explosive demon that only Merzbow can conjure up. Handsomely packaged in a gatefold sleeve adorned with colorful baby frogs and layered with a gorgeous glossy transparent iconic design (designed by Akita, and included in an exhibition at Yokohama Triennale 2001 in Japan, where Merzbow also had a sound installation room). Pressed on truly amazing green and red spotted "frog" colored vinyl that makes this worth owning in itself! All in all, another fantastic post-analogue release from Akita-san, and top-notch excellence in its concept and execution.

album cover MERZBOW Hard Lovin' Man (Anoema) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Possibly the first deconstruction (re: remix) effort from Akita-san (unless you count that disc supposedly based on free jazz drumming?). Yes, that fragment of guitar you'll hear looped and processed on "Hard Lovin' Man" is that of Ritchie Blackmore, from the 1970 LP "Deep Purple In Rock". But really this sounds more Kevin Shields than Blackmore, as Akita's original studio piece (recorded in his Bed Room Studio on October 5, 2000) is a twenty minute hypnotic beast rich in texture and dynamics. Brutally punishing, but so beautiful as well. The subsequent forty-two minute live track which opens the disc (recorded October 11, 2000 at the Avanto Festival in Helsinki, Finland) expands on the piece, adding real time effects and manipulation. More harsh and destructive than the original Bed Room piece. It seems Akita's move into the digital realm has opened new doors and endless possibilites for the King Of Noise. A very rare sparkling gem in the extremely vast oeuvre of Merzbow. Absolutely fucking gorgeous. Seriously.
RealAudio clip: "Hard Lovin' Man"

album cover MERZBOW Ikebana: Merzbow's Amlux Rebuilt, Reused and Recycled (Important) 2cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Although it says that this is not a remix record on the sticker, not sure what else you could call it. A bunch of folks incorporate bits of the Merzbow record Amlux into their original compositions. The sound is all over the place. From hip-hop instrumentals to crazy turntablism to glitched out big beats to all out noise to malfunctioning video game sounds to riot grrl-ish techno to droning soundscapes and beyond. Features: DJ Spooky, DJ/ Rupture, Plug, Alec Empire, Negativland, Hrvatski, Mouse On Mars, KK Null, Kim Cascone, Kim Hiorthoy, Nobukazu Takemura, E.A.R./Sonic Boom, Cornelius, Atom, Custom Drummer, Bola, Jack Dangers, Freiband and a bunch more. Two discs!

album cover MERZBOW Last of Analog Sessions (Important) 3cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We were all ready to pan this. I mean, do we really need more Merzbow? More ear splitting, speaker wrecking Japanoise? And is Merzbow's "last analog sessions" really all that newsworthy even meriting a triple cd box? And is Merzbow's 23,000-and-counting album discography in need of a 3 disc boost? Well, not sure we can answer any of those questions (um...yes we can..NO). So while this IS more of that shrieking crunchy fuzzed out white noise that is Masami Akita's trademark, that you've heard on perhaps hundreds of records, these three discs are actually pretty darn good. Textured and thick, lots of pulsing rhythms, throbbing rumble, shrieking hiss and fuzzy non-melodies. Casutic and face melting indeed, but also surprisingly listenable! Don't take that to mean that if you don't like 'noise' that you'll like this, 'cause you probably won't. But if you do dig stuff like Masonna, Merzbow, and the like, or even if you're a fan of Total, Skullflower, and other noisy drone and just want to try something a little more extreme, then this would most certainly fit the bill. Comes in a nice, silver-embossed slipcase with the cds in individually printed sleeves, with a patch (although, it's a bit of shameless promotion with Important Records embroidered right there next to Merzbow).
MPEG Stream: "Monmon"

MERZBOW Live At Radio 100 (ERS) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Meet DJ Merzbow! Yes, the famed Japanese noise-artist Masami Akita hops on the wheels of steel for this live Dutch radio broadcast. Wikky wikky woo. Which means that the turntables certainly come in for some abuse! Plus he deploys his usual noise electronics as well. Still, this is marginally more 'musical' than most Merzbow output, 'cause of the records being 'played'. Dedicated Japanese noise fans might recall the Flying Testicle project, that's what this reminds us of. Also featuring Merzbow members Bara (turntables, voice) and Reiko A. (theremin). Plus guest Radboud Mens on turntable as well. Comes in a handsome cardboard slipcover package. Limited to 500 copies.

album cover MERZBOW Merzbear (Important) cd 14.98
Cute title, harsh noise!

album cover MERZBOW Merzbeat (Important) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ah, another Merzbow disc. I'm expecting a good hour's worth of sheer audio fuckery from the king of noise Masami Akita, a.k.a. Merzbow. But what's this? MerzBEAT? And... is that really a Kid606 plug on the cover sticker? Hmm. I'm sure I can't be blamed for having been a little worried about what this was going to sound like. Fortunately it's *really* good. There's all the typical Merzbow-isms here -- cascading sheets of sonic screeches, shimmering metallic flutters, gritty distortion -- but he's gone a little percussion-happy and anchored each track with just awesomely satisfying muscular drumming that sounds like he's pounding on trash cans and sheet metal. Unpredictable and yet, strangely, one of his most accessible releases due to the grounding nature of the drums, reminding us, naturally, of Akita's countryfolk, the Boredoms who too know the power of the drum. Those of y'all diggin' the angular noise core of hipper than jesus duos like Lightning Bolt, Pink & Brown, etc. oughta give this a try. Loose yet right on target aggression.
The hidden track, a remix by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto, isn't quite so hidden since it appears right here in the track listing, but nonetheless it's the most punishing 8 minutes on the album. Oh, and it must also be mentioned that track one is a (totally unrecognizable, natch) cover of "Promotion Man," by obscure proto-metal hard rockers Highway Robbery. (Geez, that's like an Allan wet dream!)
RealAudio clip: "Promotion Man"
RealAudio clip: "Forgotten Land"
RealAudio clip: "Tadpole"

album cover MERZBOW Merzbird (Important) cd 14.98
As you may imagine, it's sometimes tough for us to keep up with all of Japanese noise master Merzbow's releases...in fact, we can't claim we do, although Jim did review the entire Merzbox once upon a time so that's something! Anyway, let's get to this one: what's billed as the follow-up to the much-liked Merzbeat, released by Important in 2002. As with that, this is about the beats...squelching, crunching, distorted beats, immersed in a howling vacuum-cleaner din! Probably only Kid606 would seriously consider this dance music, but as Merzbow albums go, I guess it is (there really are breakbeats on here). But we're pretty sure that if, say, the US Army got their hands on it, it'd be getting blasted at insurgents holed up in some mosque in Iraq. Repetitive, insistent, very dynamic stuff that fans of Wolf Eyes, Nautical Almanac and all that ilk will surely dig.
MPEG Stream: "Black Swan"
MPEG Stream: "Brown Pelican"

album cover MERZBOW Merzbook: The Pleasuredome of Noise (Extreme) book + cd 34.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is for all the sane people out there who didn't buy the Merzbox (a massive 50 cd anthology offering a mere sample of Japan's most prolific noise artist), but who are interested in the wealth of information found within the box. The Merzbook, which was previously published for the Merzbox, is an equally impressive document delving into the history and critical analysis of his work. Edited by Brett Woodward, the Merzbook also features specially commissioned essays by admirers, collaborators, and peers, as well as a CD-ROM with tons of text, art, video, images, soundbites, and even a Merzbow game!

MERZBOW Merzbox (Extreme) 50cd + box 650.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ohmigod. The Merzbox. It's finally here. For real. The ultimate artifact of Japanese noise music. 50 cds. Yes 50 cds! A weighty book. A metal medallion. A t-shirt (xl). A silkscreened poster. Stickers. All housed in a softpack case that's a little smaller than your average briefcase.
We've left the book intact in its hermetic (shrinkwrapped) seal, but unzipped (literally) the container which holds the cds. We'll trust that noble publication The Wire with their analysis of the book as an exceptionally researched and interesting document. [It is really cool sez Allan who later on bought one of these.] I (AQ's Jim) intend on embarking on what could be a stupid project. Each day I work, I will subject myself (and AQ's beloved customers) to one of the Merzbox's discs -- that is, until we sell the stock we have, or I decide I really need to own it, or I go insane, or some combination of all of the above.
For those of you not familiar with Merzbow (not that you're going to be too likely to purchase this if you're not!), this is the noise project led by Japan's Masami Akita working at times with Reiko A (who I believe is his wife) and a few other cohorts. If you recall your art history, Kurt Schwitters began a project in the 1930s of constructed the Merzbau -- a house which was shaped, dissolved, and built out of junk. Akita's project of a similar name take the junk of sound and transforms it into blistering noise assaults with an incredible spectrum that has warranted this 50 cd collection.
Disc One starts off with cable buzz that could explode at any moment but doesn't. With everything from Merzbow that I've heard being so abrasive, mind-erasing, and abusive, I was pleased to see that it didn't explode. Rather, Merzbow takes a direction you'd more expect from Sun City Girls or the No Neck Blues Band with what sounds like banjo pluckery and tin cup percussive rhythms.
Disc Two. Remember the guy from Police Academy who vocally emulated R2-D2, airplanes, and coffee machines? Well, Merzbow does that too, as this disc is a complex display of various squiggles that probably don't have the comedic definitions that I got from it. Buried underneath the varied knob twiddled squeals and high-end vibrations is a noxious rumble, making this one quite a bit noisier than the last.
Disc Three. This is the problem with this set (aside from the price), I dropped in, by mistake, Disc Forty-Seven, thinking it was Disc Three. 47 sounded really groovy, sorta like Alec Empire's drum machines getting some terminal abuse. But I'm on Disc Three, which is much quieter affair, with a looping sample of distorted flute (?) in the background, with Akita scraping two pieces of metal together with restraint (!). Then there's a kazoo and amplifier piece which sounded a lot like Gerogerigegege (the noise band fronted by a masturbating 50 year old accountant). They make me laugh a lot. Regardless, it scares me how much I like this piece.
And there's 47 more discs to explore! One man's world of noise/music. The Merzbox, ridiculous yes, but incredible also. Itself a work of (conceptual) art, lovely (and mind boggling) to behold. Buy now, or cry later -- needless to say, as we only have 2, and it's a limited edition, as if you doubted that!

MERZBOW Merzbuta (Important) cd 14.98

album cover MERZBOW Metamorphism (Very Friendly) cd 40.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We will admit, we've pretty much reached our Merzbow saturation point. For all the joking we do about bands who are WAY too prolific. Nobody come close to Merzbow. Not even counting the mighty Merzbox, Merzbow must average a release a month. For the last 20 years. Holy shit. You do the math. And some months there are 2 or 3 new Merzbow releases. Does anybody need every single one? We're pretty sure the answer is no. And there are probably a few people who could argue that nobody needs ANY. But c'mon, for every pointless disc of straight white noise feedback, there is a disc of weirdly chopped rhythms, or weird karaoke noise, or a record made from all jazz drums. Maybe the ratio is quite that balanced, but there are quite a few discs well worth checking out. And Metamorphism is definitely qualifies. Sure most of the disc is a head shredding barrage of brutal digital glitch and shrieking looped feedback and all sorts of caustic harshness, but even within a squall of such brutality, there are lots of cool little sonic subtleties and bizarre alien melodies, careening and getting all tangled up into impossible shapes and mixing to form even more unlikely sounds. The final track is our favorite though. Some damaged detuned Jandekian guitar buried under thick swirls of spacey FX and fuzzy white noise whir, all the while haunting ghostly stumbling melodies hover and drift within a lurching looped psychscape of tangled and garbled sonic splatter. So cool. So even after maybe thousands of records, he's still got it in him to surprise us with something super far out and surprisingly listenable.
Another way in which certain Merzbow records stand out is their packaging. The Merzbox of course, 50 cds, a shirt a book, a poster a medallion, all in a weird rubberized case, the legendary Merz-cedes, an actual Mercedes with a Merzbow cd permanently stuck in the stereo, and a dizzying assortment of strange shapes and weird cases. But Metamorphism definitely has to be one of the nicest we've seen. A thick velvety bag, holds the disc, a printed insert on thick glossy cardstock, all housed in an incredible heavy marble box, hinged on one side, with a fossilized Ammonite engraved into the top. So amazing. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!
MPEG Stream: "Metamorphism Pt. 2"
MPEG Stream: "Metamorphism Pt. 4"

MERZBOW Minazo Vol 1 (Important) cd 14.98

MERZBOW New Takamagahara (Jazzassin) cd 14.98
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Although the fine editors of this AQlist have been slowly releasing my rants on the Merzbox even though all of the writing and all of the listening has been long completed (fuck yeah! 'punching air' as The Wire would put it), Merzbow had to put out another Goddamn record. So after 50 discs of NoiseJunkEjaculationFuckCollage, you think I'd have nothing more to say... well you're right. Read all those reviews of the Merzbox if you care what I think about the Japanese noise god.
This is late period Merzbow. It's 'limited' to 500. It's on a Swedish label. It's 39.32 times cheaper than the Merzbox. What more do you want?

album cover MERZBOW Protean World (Noiseville) lp 16.98

MERZBOW Rainbow Electronics II (Dexter's Cigar) cd 13.98
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From Jim O'Rourke and David Grubb's new Drag City imprint, the previously-unreleased companion piece to Rainbow Electronics, one of the classics that made the King of Japanese Noise worthy of his title. Fine stuff with lots going on, and "rainbow electronics" is as fitting a description as any.

MERZBOW Rainbow Electronics II (Dexter's Cigar) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From Jim O'Rourke and David Grubb's new Drag City imprint, the previously-unreleased companion piece to Rainbow Electronics, one of the classics that made the King of Japanese Noise worthy of his title. Fine stuff with lots going on, and "rainbow electronics" is as fitting a description as any.

MERZBOW Scumtron (Blast First) cd 16.98
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Not just another Merzbow noise-blast disc, this is a remix compilation that lets folks like, among others, Jim O'Rourke, Panasonic, Autechre, Bernhard Gunter, and Masami Akita himself, take the noise and create something perhaps more obviously structured with it. As such, it's pretty interesting, and if you're not going to buy all 2,000 Merzbow releases this year, this one at least should be considered. In fact, even if you weren't going to buy *any* Merzbow this year or any other year, "Scumtron" might still be for you. Certainly fans of Panasonic-style beat-cruch won't be disappointed.

album cover MERZBOW Senmaida (Blossoming Noise) cd 14.98
I really don't need to listen to any more Merzbow records in my life, as several years back I (Jim) took the task of enduring the entire Merzbox (all 50 CDs of monstrous, punishing noise.) Yet month after month, Masami Akita continues to churn out extraordinary records from his battery of noise machines. With the roll of the die cast in my direction, I strap myself in for some raw aural brutality. Senmaida stands out immediately with its galloping drum machine breakbeat that precedes the virulant boils of his signature seering noise, giving Merzbow a legitimate noise grooviness previously held by Christine 23 Onna and Aufgehoben No Process. The beat itself starts out a little stiff, which is not surprising as Akita-san is not really known to get down and boogie; but when the noise machines begin to explode with their volcanic psychedelia of molten noise, the breakbeat takes a step back and actually forms an excellent counterpoint to the noise. Out of this rhythm (which come to think of it really does sound like a Garage Band preset, ha!), our noise hero lays down several lumbering industrial loops of a percolated squiggle alternated with a menacing plod, out of which comes the shredding noise and a post-Neubauten metal bashed rhythm. And oh, yeah there's a track built out of a sample of a sheep's bleating which oozes with the danse macabre of Alec Empire. Be prepared to be impressed by Senmaida!
MPEG Stream: "Tract 1"
MPEG Stream: "Tract 3"

album cover MERZBOW Sha Mo 3000 (Essence Music) cd 14.98
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Another Merzbow. Another Circle. Another Acid Mothers Temple. It's like these bands are just daring us. Taunting us. But at least in the case of these three bands, they keep winning. We're all ready to unleash a "Who the fuck needs more of..." and they hit us with a record that kicks ass. Again. Which is fine. There will always be plenty of records deserving of a "Who the fuck needs more of...", we'd much rather hear more great music. And Sha Mo 3000 is pretty great. Admittedly, Merzbow has sort of painted himself into a corner with his straight noise records, as the noise crowd is pretty limited and noise as a genre and sound has existed pretty much unchanged for 2 or 3 decades. And there are only so many ways you can record and produce white/pink noise. But occasionally Merzbow will step out of his Japanoise persona and surprise us, and let non-noise folks in for a peek. Well, Sha Mo 3000 is NOT one of those records. Nope. This is definitely a noise record. Continuing in his exploration of the lap top, Merzbow contiues to punish and destroy. Thankfully, his sonic palette is much expanded by his shift to computer and years of noise has seemingly helped him understand the need for dynamics. Thus we have a very sonically engaging, very dynamic noise record. The sounds are amazing, grinding and throbbing, pounding and hissing, notes and melodies may be present, but they've been squeezed and stretched and tangled up into impossible shapes, which makes this record absolutely fascinating. Listening to it, I found myself not really "listening to a record", but sort of navigating a treacherous labyrinth, where around any corner could be a potentially dangerous spike of white noise or blast of barbed fuzz. Like a musical Indiana Jones. A very challenging, very satisfying listen, but only for the truly brave or those who consider noise to be their friend.
MPEG Stream: "Suzunami"
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Hide Your Eyes"

album cover MERZBOW Timehunter (Ant-Zen) 4x3"cd 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Merzbow must have a thing for office supplies. The 50 cd Merzbox didn't come in some crazy custom designed box or wrapped in human flesh or anything like that. It was in a regular old Case Logic cd carrying case. The kind you keep in your car. So it came as no surprise that this new four 3" cd set comes in a day planner. Yep. Like the kind your Mom scheduled your soccer games in when you were 12. Granted, the name and title are silkscreened in silver on the front. But it's still a regular old day planner. Inside are a calendar, much like...well, like a day planner, although the design is a little more sleek and stylish. And the occasional day is filled in with stuff to do. Although the stuff to do reads: 4:34/65#//32 or something like that. But it's all part of the concept. Time. Get it? The four 3" discs are mounted nicely (and securely, thankfully) on two pages of the calendar. We were super excited to hear this because supposedly the samples are from 70's hard rock bands like Golden Earring, Spontaneous Combustion and the like. Coupled with fierce breakbeats and mutated into walls of guitar drone. Yeah, sounds great doesn't it? Well, it is pretty great, but I don't think it necessarily sounds like it was described. It's definitely more dynamic than the majority of Merzbow releases (dynamics was, to me, always Merzbow's main failing) but it's not nearly as wall of guitar sounding as the recent "24 Hours - A Day Of Seals" 4cd set which definitely channelled the spirt of Skullflower or Earth, it actually reminds us way more of the recent "Merzbeat" cd we reviewed several lists back with some almost-danceable beats, and lots of murky rhythms and pulses. But there ARE moments of heaviness although they aren't necessarily heavy the way you might envision when you hear the word heavy along side the idea of samples of 70's hard rock. It's more like thick, corrosive waves of sound, that very well could've been guitars or something else organic at some point, but have shrugged off their mortal coils and became MERZ-sounds. Good stuff. Nice to see there's still some new ideas and new directions to be explored even after 152,342 releases. This definitely ranks as some of the more interesting/appealing Merzbow and it's certainly worth a listen. Especially if you're also in the market for a kind of expensive daily planner.
MPEG Stream: "Warhorse"
MPEG Stream: "Space Trackin'"

MERZBOW Tumeric (Blossoming Noise) 4-cd 36.00

MERZBOW & OREN AMBARCHI Cat's Squirrel (Black Truffle) lp 28.00

MERZBOW / AMM split (Fat Cat) 12" 8.98
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The latest in this high profile series of split 12"s. Merzbow is at his most melodic, coming up with an almost hummable bit of white noise. The AMM side is all rhythm, primarily beautifully meandering chimes and bells.

MERZBOW / BASTARD NOISE (Release) cd 14.98
Split cd between Japan's prolific master of noise and the noiser side of California "power violence" heroes Man Is The Bastard. Very nice packaging, by the way.

album cover MERZBOW / MATSUNAGA KOUHEI split (Tigerbeat6) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Split disc between two noise giants from Japan via Kid 606's Tigerbeat6 imprint. Masami Akita furthers his explorations in the digital domain, appropriating the tranquil somniloquisms of Olivier Messiaen's "Mode De Valeurs Et D'intensite Pour Piano" and transmutating it into the unique extremity that is Merzbow. The Kouhei tracks are slightly more rhythmic, though somewhat static, DHR-style beat destruction. You might recall his work from the "Upside Down" release on Mille Plateaux to which Merzbow as well as Masonna contributed.
RealAudio clip: MERZBOW "Nakesendow"
RealAudio clip: MATSUNAGA KOUHEI "Garden Of Earthly Delights (Center)"

album cover MERZBOW / PAN SONIC V (Victo) cd 15.98
When is a Noise Record (tm) not a noise record. Well, 'V' is definitely not going to answer that question, because this is unequivocally, without a doubt, a noise record. Most of this sounds like vintage Merzbow. Shards of white noise and digital skree, sheets of feeding back effects processors, a mighty wall of head crushing sound. Good stuff, but nothing we haven't heard a thousand times before. Good thing Pan Sonic were on hand to mix things up a little. But only a little. No real rhythms or beats to be found, but Pan Sonic's rhythmic tendencies do come to the surface about 2/3 of the way through this hour long performance with pulses of white hot static and crunchy digital throbs, but ultimately they quickly dissipate and fade back into the thick wash of this Noise Record (tm).
MPEG Stream: "V"

album cover MERZBOW / THE GUILT OF... split (Chrome Peeler Records) lp 14.98

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