Japanese/American Noise Treaty – Review

Japanese/American Noise Treaty

by Karl Geising

“The volume levels on this CD are not typical of a mass market audio product. Please exercise caution when auditioning this disc on consumer playback electronic equipment.” I suggest you follow the suggestion on the CD sleeve. This is NOISE. No fucking around – two full-length discs of music that makes Neubauten and Whitehose seem like Madonna. And that’s a compliment. This is the best thing that has passed into my grubby little fingers in a long, long time.

Merzbow and Masonna are bands you’ve heard of; you also get tracks by K2, Aube, MSBR, and nine others. Of the Americans, Crawl Unit, Haters, Cock ESP, and Boston locals Dog make an appearance. You also get the Walking Time Bombs, the alter ego of Scott Ayers from Pain Teens.

The idea with most of these pieces is to take some sort of sound source and fuck with it beyond belief. In Masonna’s case, the source is the human voice; “Soulmania” uses multi-neck guitar mutations; most of the others use tapes, synths, or metal objects. But after being distorted, delayed, looped, and generally abused, it’s almost impossible to tell what the hell is going on. The first listen is like sticking your hand in a light socket. Repeated spins however, are like watching a TV tuned to a dead channel: once you’ve adjusted to the white noise, your senses pick out the details lying behind it. Hater’s “Distance” and Merzbow’s “Snowblind” are perfect examples. The one – and only – complaint I have is really unavoidable: Because this is a compilation, the songs are too damn short. As a result, many of the pieces have little long-range musical development. A couple of notable exceptions are “Large Scale Integration” by Contagious Orgasm and “Contaminating Influence” by Namanax. As a result, these pieces are the best on the discs.

So, in the final analysis, what’s it for? Ambient music for serial murder? Punishing the dog? It doesn’t matter to me. The music of the masses needs an enema, and I can think of no better cleansing than this.