Merzbow’s four-decade-plus reign of sonic terror continues with Screaming Dove | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Merzbow’s four-decade-plus reign of sonic terror continues with Screaming Dove

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Japanese sound artist Masami Akita has been revolutionizing noise with his project Merzbow since 1979—he’s put out somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 albums, singles, and live recordings under that name, but who’s counting? Akita has bounced between electronics, tape manipulations, and scrap metal and contact mikes, both in his solo work and his collaborations with artists such as Boris and Mike Patton, and he’s consistently remained at the forefront of the harsh-noise world. His 1996 album Pulse Demon, for instance, essentially set the template for punishing electronic noise to come with its overwhelming, crushing layers of ear-obliterating static scrawls. His releases this century have continued to push even further into the red. On his new LP, Screaming Dove, he lays out four tracks of pure, unrelenting, anxiety-attack-inducing, speaker-shredding electronic noise. It’s so dense with shrill tones that it affects you physically—the album is all unbearable tension with absolutely no release. My cats were very much not into it. Merzbow has been the artist to look to for the harshest of the harsh for more than four decades, and Screaming Dove strongly suggests he’ll keep that perch for years to come.   v

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