Minazo, Vol. 1

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The "tender" side of Merzbow? Not exactly, but close. Minazo is not only the name of an album by Masami Akita (Merzbow), it was the name of an elephant seal who passed away in a Japanese Aquarium in 2005. Minazo, who passed away at the age of 11 when the average life expectancy for such an animal is 20, was the only elephant seal in Japan and was brought from Uruguay in 1995. Akita visited the aquarium often simply to visit the seal and received "behind the scenes" access to him. In his booklet essay, he describes the way Minazo was trained to be entertainment for the customers of the aquarium. Akita claims he "feels anger and sadness" each time he hears about animals dying in captivity far away from their natural habitat. What has any of this to do with the noise/music found on this disc? Only Akita knows. Here are the usual confrontational extreme sounds the punters either love or hate Merzbow for: the ultra-high frequencies that rip at the eardrums in headphones; the crushing middle sonics with percussive scrapes, bangs, and whirrs that are beautiful irritants; and the subsonic lows that can move your spine around at high volumes. The piece is divided into four sections and the disc plays for almost an hour. Given that this is only "volume one" of the Minazo series, listeners can expect more. This sounds like sadness that has become rage. One can only imagine what effect such a piece might have had on Minazo, had he heard it. But then, this isn't a noise symphony for the creature, but an indictment against those who Akita claims mistreated him. This is yet more brutal racket that is also compelling in its way by a master of the medium.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Minazo, Vol. 1
1 13:49
2 14:44
3 18:49
4 11:18
blue highlight denotes track pick