Merzbow - Ecobag/13 Japanese Birds Series 14 CD Package - Idol Threat: Warning Shots at the Mainstream


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Merzbow - Ecobag/13 Japanese Birds Series 14 CD Package

When people find out that I have an interest in Noise “music” their first question is always “why?” In fact I’m hard pressed to think of anyone other than a couple of people who hasn’t wondered why I like Noise. I had a hard enough time finding people who understood my love of genres such as Grindcore or free Jazz, at least those had some semblance of rhythm or melody if you looked hard enough. How could I explain to people the aesthetics of a genre that is the very antithesis of the conventional definition of music? Noise is harsh, it’s the most extreme of extreme genres and lacks almost any structure at all. It is discord, found sounds, sheets of metal, broken instruments digital and analogue, all distorted to unbearable levels of volume.

So why like something so intentionally abrasive? I’ve always loved music, I listen to it at least half of my waking life. You can only listen to a certain genre so much until you get tired of it, until it numbs you. Sometimes I need a change, a palette cleanser if you will. It used to start slow with some Metal here, some avant-garde Jazz there, but you can only push yourself so far until you reach a point where you have to find the absolute extreme to go any further. Every analogue instrument has been explored to it’s full potential by now, all that is left to try in this new age is to push the limits of the digital world or use unconventional instruments.

It’s similar to adrenaline junkies who have to keep searching for more extreme stunts, or horror film enthusiasts who have been desensitized so much that only more gore can satisfy them. The sheer violence of Noise fascinated me, but once you become more accustomed to it and push yourself to endure the music becomes almost trance-like. It’s very primal and it’s effect on me is very similar to the state people experience from ambient music. In fact the two genres are very similar, more like opposites sides of the same spectrum. I've also always been fascinated with layer and distortion, and Noise music is so dense it makes finding all the different sounds and layers that much more fun. That’s the best explanation I can give for my love of Noise. Plus, I get bored easily.

Japan’s Merzbow is arguably the most well known noise act and one of the most influential for the genre. With almost 30 years of experience and countless releases under his belt (no complete discography exists but last count was around 800) Merzbow is almost a genre unto himself. Last year he started a series entitled “13 Japanese Birds” in which he released a CD every month (you may remember me mentioning the series in my Top Albums of 2009 Post.) These 13 albums were released under Important Records in the U.S. and they were in ADDITION to the countless releases Merzbow had throughout the year. This series was especially interesting to me because it would be his long awaited return to playing live drums alongside his analogue Noise (Merzbow has been using just a laptop as of late.) His Free Jazz-style drumming is a perfect parallel to the chaos of his music, and his return to analogue sounds complements the live drums.

Important records had an option of subscribing to receive every release and to also purchase a custom made screen-printed bamboo box to house all the CDs (the $300 package might still be available
here.) It was an expensive set to say the lest, but the good news is that Important Records has just announced a cheaper, eco-friendly $80 package that includes all the CDs in a screen-printed Tote bag with a bonus CDR of unreleased material from the Japanese Bird sessions. You can find the link to the “Eco-bag: below along with several pictures, the press release and an MP3 sample from the first volume after the jump.

"Limited opportunity to get all 13 records from Masami Akita's Thirteen Japanese Bird Series at a box set price. Packaged along with a limited edition Merzbow Bird Bag and a bonus hand stamped CDR of unreleased material from the 13 Japanese Bird Sessions. A small number of these are being made available.

Merzbow's 13 Japanese Birds was a 13 month series of releases inspired by Olivier Messaien's Catalogue D'Oiseaux. Beginning in January 2009 one volume of 13 Japanese Birds was
[to] be released each month. The 13th and final volume was released January 2010.

Author, activist, painter and sound artist Masami Akita had been at the foreground of experimental music for over 25 years. Inspired by psychedelic rock, free jazz, early electronic composition as well the physical arts, especial Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau, Masami Akita has created a musical language all his own."

- Each set includes handmade xerox artwork made by Masami Akita from the mid 90's.

You can pick up the Set here: Important Records Website

Merzbow Official Website:

13 Bird-related Merzbow Facts:
Fatroland Blogspot


  1. Do you have the CD-R? Could you post a link, please?

  2. Unfortunately I don't have the CDR, I WISH I did! I only have about half the series on CD so I figured buying the (original) boxset would a waste of money. However now that they have this smaller set available I may sell all the single ones I bought and just buy this.

    Also, I myself don't post links for downloads that the artists don't intend to be free. If it is out there it shouldn't be hard to find with a quick Google search.