merzbow / tamarin – merzbow vs. tamarin (2006)

For the extreme electronic music fans and harsh noise savvy, Merzbow needs no introduction however Tamarin, also known as Daniel De Los Santos, was in numerous projects including The Missing Ensemble, Housten Drone Concern as well as Tamarin and operated a few labels, the most active being Mad Monkey Records. This was a split between both artists whereby Merzbow used sounds from Tamarin’s The Nationalist release for his tracks and Tamarin used sounds from Merzbow’s Ikebukuro Dada release for his tracks.

Merzbow lays the foundation, beginning with a hip-hopesque loop and contorting, recycling and just fucking up the loop as it gets lost amongst his stapled wash of harsh sonics, stretching the longevity of it’s usage until it’s time to move on. The second track falls back on a more obvious harsh noise terrain, occasionally burying loops of sound into the mix but overall just blanketing everything with layers of textures and prolonged decay. The third and final sequence relies more heavily on another hip-hop style loop, however this time firmly planted in the foreground of the mix with little else encapsulating it’s steady path to the end.

Unlike Merzbow, Tamarin’s compositions use little to no rhythm’s, catapulting through layers of static and harsh noise drudgery, shifting through the left and right channels but never falling into any cyclic monotony. All this subsides for his second track as a clarinet hums a beautiful, sad tune dictating the noise inclusion as the mood builds, and unsettling crackle and playful panning drives everything to its imminent demise. Once again, it falls away even quieter for the final instalment as a pulsating feedback hum very tediously builds a void atmosphere and the ultimate anti-climax. This conclusion leaves everything hollow and isolated and from the almost compositional, beat laden Merzbow tracks to the transitory abyss courtesy of Tamarin, it’s great to hear something unintentionally conceptual come from two great experimental, open-minded musicians.