**299 copies with gatefold cover that faithfully reproduces the original art work plus a 12" size insert** 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 those that have followed in its wake.
Like so many artifacts of Japanese noise, Merzbow’s output - often released on small labels in tiny editions - has largely remained difficult to access and highly sought after, making the venerable Urashima’s latest, the first ever vinyl reissue of their seminal 1990 release, Rainbow Electronics, is a truly historic event. A monumental work of few parallels and full-on immersion in sonorous texture, even 30 years after its initial release, it still challenges the fundamental notions of what music is perceived to be.
Merzbow came roaring onto the Tokyo scene in 1979, and remains, to this day, one of the most prolific and aggressively forward-thinking artists in experimental music. The moniker of Masami Akita, the project took its 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 of noise.
Originally released on CD in 1990 by Alchemy Records - the first of a prolific and widely celebrated run with the imprint - Rainbow Electronics marks the pinnacle of Merzbow's late '80s period. Drawing on 21 hours of raw material recorded during the previous three years (1987-1990), and divided into 14 fragments that collectively stretch to an astounding 74 minutes, it is a truly monumental work that amounts to an immersive aural trip into the darkened depths of a singular creative mind.
Remastered in December 2019 and split into four parts directly by Masami Akita for this first ever, double vinyl version, Rainbow Electronics evolves from a slow, creeping tempo, toward a sprawling, expanse of dirty harsh noise and electronics. Punctuated by reverberant screeches, scrapes, and blasts come from every angle, momentary drumbeats, and long stretches of subdued electronic drones that shift toward unexpected violence.
Building on the ground of their incredibly ambitious reissue of Merzbow’s Metalvelodrome last year, Urashima’s reissue of Rainbow Electronics is a stunning feat of remarkable importance within the genre of noise, delivering this long unavailable masterstroke back into our hands, while further illuminating the project’s crucial work from the 1990s. Issued in a very limited edition of 299 copies with gatefold cover that faithfully reproduces the original artwork plus a 12" size insert, this is an absolute must for the indoctrinated Merbow fan as much as those just entering this incredible world.