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Richard Pinhas - Rhizome (with Merzbow) CD (album) cover

RHIZOME (WITH MERZBOW)

Richard Pinhas

Progressive Electronic


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colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars More of the same, but why try to fix what isn't broken? As the cover of this album implies, this is an experiment in the beast versus beauty, and the wonderful companionship that can result from the two also coming together.

Being a fan of the previous Pinhas and Merzbow collaboration album, deciding to listen to Rhizome was a no-brainer. I'm kind of surprised that it's taken me so long to do this review since I've been listening to this album for months now.

This album is very similar to Keio Lane; the Pinhas-tronic guitar looping, the comfortably noisy Japanese electo-experimentation, and the sonic density that results is as good as it was before. One thing that is especially interesting about this collaboration is that Merzbow's influence is much more "Merzbow" than with his collaborations with other artists, where he is forced to tune down his noisiness almost completely as if he weren't even there (like with Boris). Richard Pinhas and Merzbow meld their styles to work in the forefront of the music rather than let either one of them fall behind into the backdrop, which definitely adds to the incomparable density and the soothing/harsh dynamic. Soothing and alarming, ethereal and grinding, there are plenty of seemingly paradoxical adjectives that can be used to describe this album.

Pinhas' guitar looping and noodling is the same as before, giving off both the cold and warm radiating audio sensations found in his best work, as always sounding like a much more interesting alternative to Robert Fripp's Frippertronic methods. Though Merzbow isn't forced to pull back too much on his noisiness, it's worth mentioning that this definitely isn't "harsh" compared to his solo work (this is only about as harsh as Music for Bondage Performance or Kamadhenu which are among the most subtle of Merzbow's discography). Instead, these two artists really work together to accentuate each other's sound, creating music that is soothing, compelling, dynamic, active, and unique.

Each of the tracks on Rhizome run together as one, resulting in an album with layers and layers being added and released in a continuously developing cycle until it all climaxes and ceases. A close visual counterpart to this album would be watching sped-up time lapse footage of glaciers melting and refreezing from the sun's influence. Some of the tracks have moments of profound rock influence (something new for the duo) while maintaining the loud ambiance that mostly defines this collaboration.

Rhizome is a great album that displays the best of Pinhas and Merzbow's talents, and should appeal to fans of the solo work of either Merzbow or Pinhas as well as their previous collaborative album.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#623702)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Electronic drizzles

Well blow me sideways! The year 2011 seems to be a far better year for music than what I originally thought. This album blew me right out of the water, and while I have had a long time love affair going on with Richard Pinhas and what he did with Heldon, his newer releases have somehow escaped me completely. I've never taken the plunge, but boy am I glad I did!

On this highly intoxicating release he works together with Japanese noise artist Merzbow, who is (in)famous for being too loud and abrasive for people over 25. I know, because I've had similar thoughts and preconceptions about him, and never really cared to take a chance on his power white noise electronics. So what we have here is actually my Merzbow cherry being popped as well as my initiation into the modern French Frippertronics shaman - Monsieur Pinhas.

I expected this to be grinding, abrasive, jarring, avant guarde and noisy like a broken robot practising kung fu from the insides of a skip, and what I got was a voyage into these soothing and relaxing musical oceans - that had me cursing and shouting at myself for being so uptight and narrow-minded - not having the courage to sample this collaboration earlier on in the year. Sometimes the hardest boundaries we face, are indeed the ones we conjure up ourselves for no reason whatsoever other than perhaps latching on to our fake and hollow safety nets. Futile I say!

Pinhas sounds better than ever, sling-shooting himself around these orbital sound textures - like the Icarus likened flight of Apollo 13 conveyed in guitar sorcery. He plays that thing with the confidence of an old man who trust nothing else than music, maybe because it never deceives, but that's for another written essay altogether, - and yet what strikes me the most about this man's playing, is his will to push the limits and add to the music that little extra - making it intensify, loop, shrink, dissolve or transform into these immense tunnelling vortexes of shimmering sound. Some of this is distorted and muddy - akin to Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music yet highly ethereal and fruitful without ever coming across like music you'd use for interrogation or as paint peeler. Other times the guitars take on the character of electric howling wolves - crying out in the most beautiful and yearning way - almost loosing its natural timber in the process for something completely different, which is what in the end colours this album in a kind of otherworldly shine. These almost frightening overpowering inhuman electrified wolf howls slicing through in the music - reaching for the skies in icy cathedrals of sound. Beautiful like knives of glass.

Merzbow is the carpet supplier. He weaves the Persian rugs here, which in all fairness are nowhere near your every day rugs - these are dense as rainforests and thick like maple syrup all at the same time - y'know those carpets that grab you - holds you in threatening to smother you in woolly harshness of floor pillows and eiderdown thickets. The electronics emanating from this guy is like electronically charged drizzle - electrified raindrops that are so small and minute - yet so extreme in numbers that you have an entire surface upon surface upon surface of these electronic drizzles - multiplying and zooming in and out of a seemingly ever changing rainy day flickering mosaic. Combined with what Pinhas is trying to do with his yearning fuzzy guitar experiments, somehow these drizzles put their arms around you like warm summer rain - comforting and nurturing you like manna from the heavens.

This album is like mermaid music, or maybe like worming Japanese eiderdown tunnelling raindrop music coming from underground and upwards - always upwards. It's fizzing like a sparkling soda-pop - feels like putting your head too close to the bottle after removing the cap - getting showered in all these bubbling stenches whilst hearing the miniature sounds of the jumping gassy water calling you from the surface of the drink: We are the bubbles!!!! 4.5 stars and maybe more in time. What a beautiful album!

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#626771)
Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 | Review Permalink

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