Recorded and Mixed at Bedroom in Tokyo, October 2007
The Polish label Vivo is responsible for this latest opus from Japanese noise maestro Merzbow, which (if the borderline illegible sleevenotes are anything to go by) features Masami Akita in collaboration with some chickens. Given his penchant for animal kingdom-themed releases in recent years, that actually makes some sort of sense. Another theme in recent Merzbow releases has been the reappearance of analogue electronics, and true to form, Higanbana finds Akita using EMS synth alongside his laptop. It's hard to tell exactly what's making the noise at any given time here, but the intensity is often pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, in amongst the fuzz and feedback you'll hear a few cleaner oscillations penetrating the mix, adding elements of colour, and avoiding the all-out overload that might have otherwise foiled the album. On 'Shiny Black Feather', possibly the most abrasive of the three lengthy pieces here, you'll notice hints at thunderous echo and spatial imagery suggestive of abandoned factories and vacant industrial lots, but as you'd rightly expect from a Merzbow release, there's little in the way of beating around the bush and you're soon back in the thick of it. This is an intense, largely unrelenting assault on the ears, and that's probably exactly what you expected to hear from Akita. Equally predictable, he still does this better than just about anyone else out there.