Label: Cold Spring
Format: CD, Album, Digipak
Released: Aug 2004
Credits: Mastered By - Siegfried Meinertz; Music By - Henrik Nordvargr Björkk , Masami Akita
Notes: Recorded March 2004 in Villa Bohult, Sweden and The Bedroom, Japan. All music by Masami Akita and Henrik Nordvargr Björkk using each others music as soundsources. Mastered April 2004 at Studio Nar Mattaru.
Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes)
Submitted by: emberdust
A gentleman's agreement - you meddle with my soundscapes, I'll pulverize yours - between the Japanese Godfather of noise, Masami "Merzbow" Akita, and Scandinavian power noise wizard Henrik Nordvargr Bjo:rkk, has resulted in this album, a work of uncommon beauty, grandeur and profundity. While many of my favourite Merzbow discs, such as Tauromachine or Masami's collaboration with Gore Beyond Necropsy, act as abrasive cleansers for head sludge, scouring the brainpan with harrowing jolts of static and sneak attacks from rogue pulses, Partikel delivers the noise in a more palatable medium.
From the album title to the names of the songs - 'Tardyon Storm' 'Kyofu-0' and 'Tachyon Paradox' - Partikel immerses the listener in an imaginary journey through the world of quantum space. It's lulling, hypnotic stuff, built on wet, rubbery pulsings and ambient clatter set against deep, droning voids. 'Tardyon Storm' drips and drills like an industrial laundry designed by H.R. Giger. Closer to the traditional Merzbow grammer of Zen monotony, 'Kyofu-0' drops staggered, static-filled rhythms against which are woven a subtly-shifting tableau of outbursts, ghostly machine noises and cosmis debris.
The eerie 'Tachyon Paradox', which combines ambient electronica with isolated snippets from interstellar cash registers, fax and modem lines, could serve as an introduction to noise for any friends you're desperate to turn on but don't wish to completely alienate. The piece is redolent of easier-listening fare such as Juno Reactor and Tangerine Dream.
Overall, Partikel provides nearly an hour of music. It seems much shorter, because of the meditative state this music induces. Like John Cage's prepared pianos and immaculate silences, or the cooly bleeding paintings of Mark Rothko, this work trades in what the poet John Keats called "negative capability" - that still point where the audience co-creates a score, or a canvas, with the artist. It highlights the infinite designs that chaos weaves beneath the seeming solidity of our world. At any time, a few fractal ladders down from the crust of things, cause and effect cease to operate. Freed from the iron web of Newtonian mechanics, subatomic particles take time and space for a playground. These are their songs.
From The Wire: (by Ken Hollings)
It's not only misleading but also inappropriate to present this tender and thoughtful encounter between Japan's Masami Akita and Scandinavia's Henrik Nordvargr Bjo:rkk as being in any way confrontational. On the contrary, both parties are enormously respectful in their attitude towards reworking each other's recordings. Sensitivity and a sense of shy distance resonate throughout all three tracks on this limited edition release. Tiny flickers of arousal give way to subtle nuances, unspoken moments of contact. Even the serious pounding that signals the opening tussle on "Kyoufu-O" manifests a restraint and a delicacy of feeling that wouldn't be altogether out of place on a first date. Noise has never been gentler on itself.
From Aquarius Records:
Merzbow may be prolific to the point of no return by now, and so you may scoff at yet another release (that makes what, 10 so far this year?) but don't pass this one up. All of us around here have been mildly obsessed with Swedish ambient / noise / drone technician Nordvargr, from his days in the dark-ambient-in black-metal's-clothing outfit MZ412 to his later militaristic folk ensembles Toroidh and Folkstorm. Strangely these two noiseniks make the perfect combination, Japanoise meets Scandanavian power electronics and the result is a crushing slab of low end doom drone dirge. Merzbow created the source material for Nordvargr to process in his inimitably grim fashion. Three lengthy tracks. The first is a spine tinglingly creepy and gut churningly, ominously oppresive rumbling glitchy throb, crumbling slabs of low end over sinister whir and brittle crackling skeletal beats like the scary parts of Tron, or the part in some demonic anime snuff film when you first discover the true face of evil. Track two turns crushing ambient sludge into HUGE crunchy stuttering beats, not just block rocking beats, but beats that flatten entire neighborhoods like Autechre or Aphex Twin jamming with Sunn 0))), spare and skittery, wandering through a precarious landscape of hissing blasts of Japanoise and keening squalls of high end iridescence. The final track is clicky, glitchy, haunting almost-IDM filtered through the noxious fumes of demon's breath and dipped in boiling pitch. ominous and frighteningly lovely. One of the best noise / sludge / drone / slow-motion-dance-music-for-demons record of the year!