Noise Storm

"Unless played very quietly, analytical thought is thwarted while Merzbow noise occurs, and even at quiet volume, there is still a jaggedness in the cutting, the bursts of sound, the alterations, that hinders the development of analysis," writes Paul Hegarty in his chapter on Merzbow from Noise/Music: A History.

In 1923, Dadaist Kurt Schwitter commenced his decade-long Merzbau project, for which he erected massive, cavernous structures throughout six rooms of his house in Hannover, Germany.  The rooms underwent constant transformation such that yesterday's labyrinths vanished and were distorted as more additions were made, more "junk" collected.

Hegarty compares Merzbow with Schwitter's Merzbau, arguing that both "accumulate to distort," paradoxically realizing formlessness through the excess of form.  Merzbow's magnitude disrupts the harmonious dialogue of faculties required for a smooth and calm aesthetic judgment, pushing out into the darkest corners of the sublime. Further, Merzbow noise exacerbates the already fragile attempt to verbally articulate the meaning(s) of sound.  Merzbow's perpetually shifting, expanding and abrasive sound structures simultaneously challenge tranquility and the elusive quest for permanence while producing a physically-engaging sonic experience like no other.

Merzbow performs with Hungarian drummer Balázs Pándi, with an opening set by Philadelphia-based Buchla Music Easel master Charles Cohen, on Monday, September 27 at International House (3701 Chestnut Street).  Be sure to arrive early, as coffee and vegan food items will be available from Philadelphia's noisiest vegan coffee shop, Grindcore House.