Merzbow vs Nordvargr - Partikel III
Experimental, Noise At long last, we have the next and final installment of a collaboration trilogy that has lasted nine years between Merzbow (Japan's master of experimental noise) and Nordvargr (one of Sweden's best martial industrial and noise artists). The Partikel series has been released on the label Cold Spring since it's beginnings in 2004. The first two releases can be described as experimental, noise, dark ambient... noisy soundscape type stuff. However, I find that with this third release, it leaves behind the ambient and instead full-on assaults the listener with power electronics.

This album was recorded in both Japan and Sweden, as were the first two albums in the series. There are only four tracks, but the album totals around 50 minutes, so you're still getting a complete album. The first two tracks were originally written by Nordvargr and are shorter in length (and by short I mean 8 minutes) and sent off to Japan for Merzbow to add his noisy flare, while the last two tracks were written by Merzbow and sent to Nordvargr (these two tracks are double in length than what the first two are). The result is a creepy and clangorous mixture of post-industrial electronics and power electronics.

I could write a long dissertation of the countless achievements of Merzbow (meant to be pronounced as "Merzbau") and talk for a while about just how important this man is to the experimental, power electronics and noise scene (whether you like him or not), but I will spare you the diatribe and just say that this amazing man has been releasing music since 1979, and his work within the influential Japanoise scene and Japanese literary scene is what makes him considered to be one of the most influential artists in noise music. As with the popular trend in Japanoise artists (a term applied to the diverse noise music scene of Japan), Merzbow a.k.a Masami Akita goes by a variety of aliases, has worked in a number of other musical groups, and has collaborated with many artists to create industrial/noise/ambient hybrids. Merzbow is mostly experimental power electronics, but he will use rhythm from time to time. His music is very very VERY harsh and is mastered at higher volume levels than normal, so if you've never listened to his music before, be prepared with ear plugs.

Nordvargr is something completely different. Henrik Nordvargr Björkk was a member of a very influential black industrial music project called Maschinenzimmer 412 (also known as MZ.412). This group basically created the genre of Black Industrial; a mixture of industrial noise, ritual ambient and black metal atmospheres. He is also the founder of Swedish EBM band Pouppée Fabrikk and industrial artist Nexus Kenosis. As with Merzbow, he has released countless post-industrial music works of art and is widely considered one of the most influential and productive post-industrial artists ever.

As a finisher to the series, I'd say this album goes out with quite a bang, literally. It appears to be build-up of ideas over the past nine years and all their thoughts were just thrown into the mix. This album is very experimental compared to the other two in the series. I did notice that at some points, there was a rhythm though. If power electronics is not your thing, this may not be the album for you. I wouldn't call it a good introduction to power electronics if you're looking to get into it because this album barely, if ever, lets up on your ears. However, if you're into the genre, I'd say this album is essential to own, as well as the other two albums. I love when amazing, renowned musicians collaborate to make pieces of art, and this album does not disappoint me.

There are no lyrics set to this album. It's mainly distortion, piercing sounds, rolling drones (which aren't prominent, but more subdued than the louder noises). You can really hear Nordvargr's Death Industrial influences in the album. Henrik said on his site when he finished recording for the album that "the sounds on this one will be all based around tone generators, strange sounding devices and modular synthesis for an extra organic experience." So pile a bunch of experimental musique concrète generated sounds on top of that and you get this album. It sounds like it would be a mish-mash of music that makes no sense, but it comes together nicely. The last two tracks on this album really could be considered one giant piece. They flow into each other, although the last piece is significantly louder than the other.

I will say that I like the music on the first two releases better, but I feel that the third release represents who the artists really are, and they aren't trying to just make an album that every noise and dark ambient fan will like. This album contains pieces of what these artists are really made of. Obviously, nothing on this album is danceable and I believe that it will take me a while to listen to it again. Just because it doesn't have a high re-playability rate for me doesn't mean I'm going to mark my score lower.This really is a great power electronics album.

For some, this album is going to be hit or miss. I've read reviews where people didn't really like it, or they felt it was one of the best noise collaborations they've heard. It really is all a matter of what you like and don't like. I can deal with harsh, loud noises for an extended period of time, and I do feel that, at times, this album is just super loud for no reason, and doesn't sound like "music." And yes, certain sounds/synths that were used began to grate on my nerves after a while. But that's kind of the point of noise. It should be loud for no reason. It's supposed to invoke feelings within you. Whether that's anger, annoyance or exuberance.
4
Brutal Resonance

Merzbow vs Nordvargr - Partikel III

7.5
"Good"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2013 by Cold Spring
At long last, we have the next and final installment of a collaboration trilogy that has lasted nine years between Merzbow (Japan's master of experimental noise) and Nordvargr (one of Sweden's best martial industrial and noise artists). The Partikel series has been released on the label Cold Spring since it's beginnings in 2004. The first two releases can be described as experimental, noise, dark ambient... noisy soundscape type stuff. However, I find that with this third release, it leaves behind the ambient and instead full-on assaults the listener with power electronics.

This album was recorded in both Japan and Sweden, as were the first two albums in the series. There are only four tracks, but the album totals around 50 minutes, so you're still getting a complete album. The first two tracks were originally written by Nordvargr and are shorter in length (and by short I mean 8 minutes) and sent off to Japan for Merzbow to add his noisy flare, while the last two tracks were written by Merzbow and sent to Nordvargr (these two tracks are double in length than what the first two are). The result is a creepy and clangorous mixture of post-industrial electronics and power electronics.

I could write a long dissertation of the countless achievements of Merzbow (meant to be pronounced as "Merzbau") and talk for a while about just how important this man is to the experimental, power electronics and noise scene (whether you like him or not), but I will spare you the diatribe and just say that this amazing man has been releasing music since 1979, and his work within the influential Japanoise scene and Japanese literary scene is what makes him considered to be one of the most influential artists in noise music. As with the popular trend in Japanoise artists (a term applied to the diverse noise music scene of Japan), Merzbow a.k.a Masami Akita goes by a variety of aliases, has worked in a number of other musical groups, and has collaborated with many artists to create industrial/noise/ambient hybrids. Merzbow is mostly experimental power electronics, but he will use rhythm from time to time. His music is very very VERY harsh and is mastered at higher volume levels than normal, so if you've never listened to his music before, be prepared with ear plugs.

Nordvargr is something completely different. Henrik Nordvargr Björkk was a member of a very influential black industrial music project called Maschinenzimmer 412 (also known as MZ.412). This group basically created the genre of Black Industrial; a mixture of industrial noise, ritual ambient and black metal atmospheres. He is also the founder of Swedish EBM band Pouppée Fabrikk and industrial artist Nexus Kenosis. As with Merzbow, he has released countless post-industrial music works of art and is widely considered one of the most influential and productive post-industrial artists ever.

As a finisher to the series, I'd say this album goes out with quite a bang, literally. It appears to be build-up of ideas over the past nine years and all their thoughts were just thrown into the mix. This album is very experimental compared to the other two in the series. I did notice that at some points, there was a rhythm though. If power electronics is not your thing, this may not be the album for you. I wouldn't call it a good introduction to power electronics if you're looking to get into it because this album barely, if ever, lets up on your ears. However, if you're into the genre, I'd say this album is essential to own, as well as the other two albums. I love when amazing, renowned musicians collaborate to make pieces of art, and this album does not disappoint me.

There are no lyrics set to this album. It's mainly distortion, piercing sounds, rolling drones (which aren't prominent, but more subdued than the louder noises). You can really hear Nordvargr's Death Industrial influences in the album. Henrik said on his site when he finished recording for the album that "the sounds on this one will be all based around tone generators, strange sounding devices and modular synthesis for an extra organic experience." So pile a bunch of experimental musique concrète generated sounds on top of that and you get this album. It sounds like it would be a mish-mash of music that makes no sense, but it comes together nicely. The last two tracks on this album really could be considered one giant piece. They flow into each other, although the last piece is significantly louder than the other.

I will say that I like the music on the first two releases better, but I feel that the third release represents who the artists really are, and they aren't trying to just make an album that every noise and dark ambient fan will like. This album contains pieces of what these artists are really made of. Obviously, nothing on this album is danceable and I believe that it will take me a while to listen to it again. Just because it doesn't have a high re-playability rate for me doesn't mean I'm going to mark my score lower.This really is a great power electronics album.

For some, this album is going to be hit or miss. I've read reviews where people didn't really like it, or they felt it was one of the best noise collaborations they've heard. It really is all a matter of what you like and don't like. I can deal with harsh, loud noises for an extended period of time, and I do feel that, at times, this album is just super loud for no reason, and doesn't sound like "music." And yes, certain sounds/synths that were used began to grate on my nerves after a while. But that's kind of the point of noise. It should be loud for no reason. It's supposed to invoke feelings within you. Whether that's anger, annoyance or exuberance. Aug 13 2013

Amy OConnor

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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