Flare Blues reimagines two of Merzbow’s long out of print EPs from 1994, Flare Gun and White Blues. Revisiting the original pieces and adding previously unreleased materials recorded during these sessions, Flare Blues tethers together a set of Merzbow’s most exploratory work, creating a visceral linkage between a pair of vital works.
Originally recorded in June 1994, Merzbow’s Flare Gun is a pulsating and hammering collection of pieces that grinds ever forward with a sense of bludgeoning determination. By contrast, White Blues recorded the following month (which draws its title from several of the samples used as raw material that originate from blues inspired British rock bands), maintains a more unsteady sense of movement and musicality, matching degraded samples against a flurry of theremin and electronics which are overdriven and saturated in ways that would later go on to become some of the trademark sonic actions of Merzbow’s live performances.
On Flare Blues not only are the pieces remastered by Merzbow, but they are recontextualised and when heard together with the previously unreleased bonus materials open up a new sense of his studio experimentation at the time.
What marks these recordings as critical is they trace a line through a period of significant discovery and refinement for Merzbow. Having been recorded just months after Venereology, this set of works bares the marks of Merzbow’s deepening awareness of extreme forms of distortion, compression and also his dynamic mixing approaches that simultaneously allow multiple or singular elements to occupy the entirety of the available sound spectrum.
Ultimately, these works are morphic, often churning and erupting with a magma like quality. When they do fall into waves of pulse, those patterns are never held long and the intense sense of cutting into the sound creates a feeling of endless anticipation as Merzbow guides you through an ever-evolving sound world that is uncompromisingly restless and relentless.
All Music by Masami Akita
Recorded & Mixed at ZSF Produkt, Tokyo June-July 1994
Remastered at Munemihouse Feb-March 2021