AMN Reviews: Richard Pinhas / Merzbow – CODA (2022; Bam Balam Records)

Pinhas and Merzbow team up again for two iconic slabs of electronic noise, both of album-side length. Helping out are Oren Ambarchi on motor guitar, Florian Tatard on accordion, and Senza Testa on synths. But the main thrust of CODA is a showcase for Merzbow’s sculpted white noise, rich with staccato patterns and oscillating structures of distortion and feedback. Pinhas’s contributions are largely synth layers in the background, including thick walls thereof. Both generate “cosmic” tones and themes that are reminiscent of the Kosmiche and space music of four or five decades past. Indeed, the second track begins with a Pinhas melody that would not be out of place in his Chronolyse era.

All this adds up to an overall sound that is not as harsh as some of Merzbow’s offerings. Indeed, the album can be listened to as a trippy journey through dense forests of hissing noise and drones – not exactly something to which you can easily bliss out, but not far from that mark. And do not hesitate to twist the volume knob to the right, as there are so many details deep in the mix that this Pinhas and Merzbow excursion sounds like a different album when cranked up appropriately.

CODA will be released on October 8 by Bam Balam Records.