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Out of stock
Best of 2022
File under: ExtremeJapan
Best of 2022

Merzbow, Masonna

Hybrid Noisebloom / Masonna Vs. Bananamara (3LP bundle)

Label: Urashima

Format: 3LP in bundle

Genre: Noise

Out of stock

This bundle includes the newest Urashima vinyl releases:

Merzbow "Hybrid Noisebloom" (2LP)
Masonna "Masonna vs. Bananamara" (LP)

Merzbow "Hybrid Noisebloom" (2LP)

**Limited Edition of 299 copies.** When it comes to Japanese noise, few projects have pushed boundaries or risen to a more iconic status than Merzbow. The mutant child of punk and experimental music, the project’s blistering sounds - as singular and wild as they are unique - are among the movement’s most important, definitive statements, continuously laying the groundwork for countless artists who have followed in its wake. Like so many artefacts of Japanese noise, Merzbow’s output - often released on small labels in tiny editions - has largely remained difficult to access and highly sought after. Fortunately, over the last few years, the Italian imprint, Urashima, has made serious inroads to making the project’s back catalog available via a dedicated reissue effort. Hybrid Noisebloom, originally issued by Vinyl Communications on CD in 1997, is the latest in this trilling bread crumb trail. It is also the first time that this seminal document from Merzbow’s '90s period has ever appeared on vinyl.

Merzbow came roaring onto the Tokyo scene in 1979, and remains, to this day, one of the most prolific and aggressively forward-thinking projects in experimental music. Eventually simply the moniker adopted by Masami Akita, in its earliest incarnation Merzbow was a duo of Akita and Kiyoshi Mizutani, taking their name from German artist Kurt Schwitters' pre-war architectural assemblage, The Cathedral of Erotic Misery or Merzbau, and quickly set out to challenge entrenched notions of what music could be. Embracing technology and the machine, even in its earliest iterations, Merzbow broke boundaries and pushed toward new territories of the extreme, arriving at a sonic space of pure, unadulterated noise that has continued, now for over 40 years, to set the pace for the entire genre.

Hybrid Noisebloom belongs to a distinct period in Merzbow’s output. During a European tour in 1989, Akita was only able to transport simple, portable gear. Rising to the challenge, these limitations led to the development of a signature form of harsh noise, heavily influenced by death metal and grindcore, that would wind its way across the decade to come.

Composed and performed on EMS and Moog Synthesizers, Theremin, Metal Devices, Noise Electronics, and Voice, all recorded at extreme volumes, Hybrid Noisebloom’s five tracks present a fascinating sonic assault, heavily driven by the presence of electronic sounds, played against the sparse interjections of Akita’s heavily processed vocals, that push toward new territories of the extreme, while subtly nodding toward historical gestures from the early years of the avant-garde.

Despite its undeniable intensity, Hybrid Noisebloom is arguably one of Merzbow’s most accessible and engaging releases. Never before available on vinyl, Urashima’s beautiful pressing is issued as a deluxe double vinyl LP edition, limited to 299 copies. Needless to say, we can’t possibly recommend it enough.

Masonna "Masonna vs. Bananamara" (LP)

**Limited Edition of 299 copies.** Masonna, the moniker of the Osaka based artist Maso Yamazaki, belongs to the second wave of Japanese noise. The name alone, a pun on Madonna’s name by combining the Japanese words Maso (Masochist) and Onna (Woman), illuminates the wry humor and intensity that rubbles below his work.

Masonna claims that his interest in making noise is rooted in childhood encounters with the sounds of destruction on tv. Initially playing in psychedelic rock bands, following encounters with the work of artists like Hanatarash and Nord, he disappeared from view for a number of years, quietly developing his own singular vision of the idiom, before bursting onto the scene in 1987 with a performance style, marked by frenetic energy, damaged equipment, wild body movement, and often personal injury, that quickly set him apart. The following year, he released debut album, Like a Vagina (reissued on vinyl by Urashima lat year), an overdriven blast of psychedelia and harsh noise, that would rattle everything in its wake.

Masonna Vs. Bananamara, Masonna’s second release, was originally issued on Vanilla Records in 1989 in a tiny vinyl edition of 290 copies. Given its iconic status and rarity, it’s little wonder that it currently commands heavy figures on the secondary market. In classic DIY form, it was recorded at home by Masonna on a variety of instruments, with hallucinatory vocals, and used no mixing and overdubbing, rendering a startlingly visceral and dense effect.

Across the album’s two sides - containing a mind boggling 29 tracks - Masonna transforms his voice into noise, feeding the microphone back through a process of extreme distortion. His shouts become clipped bursts of overloaded sound, doubled and extended by a delay that displace the sounds into stuttered blasts of static, heavily underscored by explosive blistering guitars, and cascades of electronic noise, culminating as one of the most striking and emotive gestures in the entire genre of noise.

Urashima’s beautiful pressing - issued as a deluxe vinyl edition of 299 copies - is the first ever reissue of this masterstroke of noise, faithfully reproducing every aspect of the original 1989 release on Vanilla Record. Truly stunning and historically monumental within the genre, it can’t be missed by any fan of Japanese experimental music and noise.

File under: ExtremeJapan
Cat. number: UMA 157 / UMA 158
Year: 2022