Various Artists

America Salutes Merzbow

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To pay tribute to Merzbow would appear to be an empty gesture, as Masami Akita seems to exist outside the realm of the conventional "musician/fan" relationship. Akita is machinelike in his work ethic, releasing hundreds of albums of some of the most difficult music ever made. And how do you show your admiration for a machine? Perhaps purchasing the music is enough, or sending a piece of flesh bound with wire would make a fitting tribute. Attempting to replicate the sounds of Merzbow is not something that would cross the mind of a true believer. This album can only fall flat; more flat than a tribute should for the fact is that Akita is very, very good at what he does and few people, it has been shown, have the same amount of fluid control over the frequency/resonance/pitch/pain threshold as Merzbow. No one does it better. Many tracks here draw too much attention to the artists attempting the impossible, the "shout-out" effect. By attempting to pay homage to a great texturalist, a great sonic innovator, this collection of "covers" fails to impress. However, as a collection of noise experiments and collages, the album proves to the world that Americans are learning. All that remains to do is to wait for these artists to slide closer to their machines, and shuffle off the egos that inhibit them.

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