Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow — Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow (2017, Important Records)
Listen [Mix, Important Records Soundcloud]
From the moment the opening track, “Acma,” nauseatingly begins to unfurl, the next hour of the listener’s life is sent spiraling into the deepest recesses of the human psyche. A dark and nuanced, but by no means hopeless record from Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Alessandro Cortini (SONOIO, Nine Inch Nails), is sets the listener awash in white noise soundscapes, brain twitching oscillations, and rhythmic invocations which owe as much to electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, as they do to the duo’s avant predecessors. Throughout the entire album, rhythmic structures are much more deliberate and offer a foreboding sense of structure, not immediately apparent on Merzbow releases of yore. This is not to downplay the multitude of rhythms manifestly present in Akita’s back catalogue; however, one often gets the feeling that the tail is wagging the dog. On records like Pulse Demon, the twists and turns of Merzbow’s screeching daggers of feedback take precedence or assume guidance over any ancillary percussive elements. While Merzbow’s unorthodox and deconstructed approach to sonic experimentation has no doubt been a major part of Akita’s intrigue and brilliance, this collaboration with Cortini proffers a rather salient role-reversal and deviation of form which makes for an engrossing listen. If one were exceedingly hung up on tacking a name onto this kind of sonic traversal, perhaps the listener is encountering one of the first masterworks in the post-post-industrial canon. Ironically enough, given that we’ve arrived at this latent stage of industrial music(s)/noise/sound works, the existing write ups for this LP have gone to great lengths to stress Cortini and Akita’s shared affection for the early 1970s EMS Synthi analogue synthesizer. It is fitting perhaps, that the discarded tools of yesteryear have been repurposed to dismantle the sonic structures of the past and bring a new future into sharp relief. Highly recommended for fans of free noise, industrial, or of either of the two involved in this recording.