AMN Reviews: Gareth Davis & Merzbow – Broken Landscapes (2020; Moving Furniture Records)

On Broken Landscapes, Gareth Davis and Merzbow team up for a second collaboration of sculpted noise. Clocking in around 36 minutes, the album is mostly what you would expect – harsh static, walls, wails, and intermittent chirps and squeaks – but somehow manages to tell a compelling story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Over an oscillating bed of shaped distortion, Davis and Merzbow each grind out statements of howling feedback, processed pink noise, and droning atmospherics. The sequences of these sounds, along with warped acoustic samples of nature recordings and machinery, are not random nor arbitrary. They are not exactly melodic either, but there is just enough pattern and structure on these tracks that they represent a twisted thematic progression. These themes may relate to humanity and/or the environment experiencing and responding to stress, collapse, or some other hellish scenario.

Regardless, Broken Landscapes is an unrelenting assault cogently exploring a sonic territory that is both unpleasant and worthwhile. Highly recommended. The release date is January 10, 2020.