Chabo is the 13th and final recording in Masami Akita's (aka Merzbow) powerful monthly series 13 Japanese Birds, which began in January of 2009 and ended in January of 2010. It is a collection of recordings that underscores his militant commitment to the natural world, and just as importantly pays tribute to the inspiration of French composer Olivier Messiaen, whose own tribute to fowl accounts for a valued piece of 20th century classical music known as Catalogue d'Oiseaux. On Chabo (named for the bantam rooster), Merzbow envelopes his listeners in a single 51-plus-minute track, entitled “Resurrection.” One of the hallmarks of this series of recordings was the fact that Merzbow returned to playing his drum kit on all 13 volumes. He commands respect among Japanese musicians and the world over for his formidable skills on the instrument. That said, here, as on the previous volume, Tsubame, Merzbow masks the sounds of his drumming beneath a monolithic, ever-changing analog electronic and pneumatic noise attack. Feedback, scree, and squall are the hallmarks of its beginning, middle, and end, with numerous dynamic shifts within the work. While Merzbow's works are never “easy” to listen to, they are always exhilarating, full of pathos, rage, humor, and -- on this particular recording -- a sense of humor. Its array of sounds is richer than on many of the other volumes in the series, encompassing not only machine sounds but those of water, wind, and other natural elements woven deeply into the noise. Chabo is a fitting end to one of Akita’s most fascinating, utterly encompassing works.
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