Merzbow, Mats Gustafsson, Balázs Pándi
noise electronics, percussion
flute, fluteophone, baritone saxophone,
live electronics and percussion
On the all-too-rare occasions when Japanese noise legend Masami Akita (aka Merzbow), Swedish saxophone aggressor Mats Gustafsson and blistering Hungarian drummer Balász Pándi converge, listeners know to brace themselves for a brain-rattling sonic assault. Each of these men alone had long been established as among the most ferocious of artists long before they came together to record their savage 2013 debut, Cuts; the onslaught was only intensified with the addition of Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore for a pair of overpowering follow-ups.
The anticipation of such musical violence is what makes this most recent outing, Cuts Open (via RareNoiseRecords) so entrancingly unsettling. Reconvened as a trio once again, Gustafsson, Pándi and Akita found themselves exploring far more spacious and airy soundscapes than is typical for their explosive meetings. The results are no less sanguinary for being unusually quiet (relatively speaking, of course; this trio’s “serene” is the equivalent of most musicians’ wildest extremes).
Hiding In Plain Sight
Keyboards / Vocals
Bass / Vocals
Drums / Percussion
Trombone (tracks 2,6,8,9)
Over the course of its previous four albums, UK punk-jazz outfit WorldService Project carried its keen-edged, window-rattling irreverence across the globe, casting an eviscerating glance inward while spreading its message of chaotic compassion to the scattered remnants of the former British Empire and beyond. With the release of the gleefully anarchic Hiding In Plain Sight, the band’s fifth album and third for RareNoiseRecords, keyboardist-vocalist Dave Morecroft takes on his native land from an outsider’s perspective for the first time, having decamped for Rome in his own personal Brexit.
Not that the romance of the Eternal City has dulled Morecroft’s incisively funky edge, however. Hiding In Plain Sight combusts with the band’s trademark blend of free-jazz pandemonium, pulse-quickening grooves, daggers-drawn sardonicism and audacious punk abandon. The album perfectly channels the meltdown of modern civilization into a cathartic dance party on the far edges of the lunatic fringe, with an open-armed embrace of all comers save the power-hungry few that led us into this mess in the first place.