A collaborative 2-CD album by Japan noise legend Masami Akita alias Merzbow and Czech seven-member ensemble Opening Performance Orchestra. The first CD features four folk-inspired Merzbow compositions. The second CD gathers two live recordings of the Opening, made in Tokyo and Prague.
The first CD contains four compositions by Merzbow. Futaomote means “double face” and it was originally titled Janus. Yasugibushi is a Japanese old folk song which was sampled.
The second CD contains two live tracks from Opening Performance Orchestra which were played live in Tokyo and Prague in 2017 and studio edited at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
Merzbow is the Vegan Straight Edge Noise Project
of Masami Akita (born 1956, lives and works in Tokyo, Japan). In late 70s, he gradually withdrew himself from the rock scene and began experimenting in his basement with broken tape recorders and feedback. He started the project Merzbow in 1981. Merzbow began as the duo of Masami Akita and Kiyoshi Mizutani, who met Akita in high school. Akita started releasing noise recordings on cassettes through his own record label, Lowest Music & Arts, which was founded in order to trade cassette tapes with other underground artists. In 1984, he founded a second record label called ZSF Produkt. During this era, Merzbow found much wider recognition and began making recordings for various international labels. He also started touring abroad with the help of various collaborators. Merzbow performed in the USSR in 1988, toured the USA in 1990, Korea in 1991, and Europe in 1989 and 1992. Kiyoshi Mizutani left Merzbow after the 1989 European tour and continues to pursue a solo career.
During the European tour in September-October 1989, Merzbow could only bring simple and portable gear; this led to the harsh noise style Merzbow became known for in the 90s. Recordings from the mid-1990s onwards are mostly of extreme volume, some mastered at levels far beyond standard. Merzbow's sounds employ the use of distortion, feedback, and noises from synthesizers, machinery, and home-made noisemakers. While much of Merzbow's output is intensely harsh in character, Akita does occasionally make forays into ambient music. Contrary to most harsh noise music, Akita also occasionally uses elements of melody and rhythm. During the 90s Akita's work became much harsher and were generally mastered at a louder volume than usual. These were heavily influenced by death metal and grindcore bands of the time. In 1994, Akita acquired a vintage EMS synthesizer. From 1996, plans were made to release a “10 (or maybe 12)” CD box set on Extreme Records. In 2000, Extreme Records released the Merzbox
a fifty CD set of Merzbow records, twenty of them not previously released.
Since 1999, Akita has used computers in his recordings, having first acquired a Macintosh to work on art for the Merzbox
. Also at this time he began referring to his home studio as “Bedroom, Tokyo”. At live performances, Akita has produced noise music from either two laptop computers or combination of a laptop and analog synthesizers. Since 2001, Akita started utilising samples of animal sounds in various releases starting with Frog
. Around 2002, Akita became a vegan. Also in 2002, Akita released Merzbeat
, which was seen as a significant departure from his trademark abstract style in that it contains beat-oriented pieces. In 2009, Akita reintroduced the drum kit, his first instrument. This could be heard on 13 Japanese Birds
, a thirteen disc series recorded and released one-a-month throughout 2009. At this time he changed the name of his home studio to Munemihouse. Beginning in November 2009, Masami Akita started releasing archival material from the 1980s and 1990s, both reissues and previously unreleased material, several of which were released on cassette. Merzbow has also released several archival boxes: Merzbient
, Lowest Music & Arts 1980-1983
, and Duo
. Merzbow has released more than 300 Records & CDs.
Merzbow performed concert/sound installation in all over the world. Merzbow played international music festival such as Sonar (Spain), All Tomorrow Parties (UK etc), FIMAV (Canada), Super Sonic (UK), Molde Jazz Festival (Norway), etc. Merzbow also played at contemporary art event such as the Westbunt Biennale, Shanghai (2013), the Yokohama Triennale, Japan (2001), and the 3rd Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2004). Merzbow also collaborates with different kind of artist such as Balazs Pandi, Mats Gustafsson, Thurston Moore, Boris, Keiji Haino
, Richard Pinhas, Duenn, Nyantra, Jim O'Rourke
, Lawrence English, Xiu Xiu, Gezan…
Opening Performance Orchestra is a seven-member ensemble encompassing a wide genre span—from the 20th-century electronic thrusts of the musical avant-garde
as far as contemporary Japanese noise music. Its own creations are based on fraction music, with the initial sound being digitally destroyed, fractured, and uncompromisingly rid of all its original attributes within the spirit of the credo “no melodies – no rhythms – no harmonies”. The results are original compositions (such as Spring Ceremony or Fraction Music
, Creeping Waves
) as well as reinterpretations of other composers' pieces that the ensemble feels to be in the same vein—cases in point being Inspirium Primum
, referring to the material by Hiroshi Hasegawa, a Japanese noise music representative; Re:Broken Music
, based on the destroyed music of the Czech Fluxus
artist Milan Knížák
; Chess Show
, a distinctive John Cage
reminiscence; Perceived Horizons
, a tribute to musique concrète; The Noise of Art and Futurist Soirée
, originating from the ideas and texts of the Italian Futurists
and bringing to bear authentic instruments known as intonarumori
During its existence, Opening Performance Orchestra has given a number of concerts, for example, at MaerzMusic, a contemporary music festival in Berlin (2014, Broken Re:broken
); at the New Music Exposition international festival in Brno (2014, Broken Re:broken
); at the Minimarathon of electronic music held as a part of the Days of Ostrava festival of contemporary music (2013, The Noise Of Art
); at the Next festival of progressive music in Bratislava (2014, Fraction Music VII
); at the Prague Industrial Festival (2006, Fraction Music
, and 2008, Astropo
); at the Wroclaw Industrial Festival (2007, Fraction Music II
); at several previews of the Czech Concretists' Club, including a retrospective at Topièùv salon in Prague (2015, The Contours of Sounds
); at the opening of the Membra Disjecta for John Cage exhibition at the DOX gallery in Prague (2012, Chess Show
); at the National Gallery in Prague during the Art's Birthday party given by Czech Radio (2016, Futurist Soirée
); and at Ostrava Days, in co-operation with Reinhold Friedl (2017, Chess Show
Since 2010, Opening Performance Orchestra has regularly organised Noise Zone
, an open audio-visual project mapping the noise scene, which has hosted, among others, Hiroshi Hasegawa, Astro, Merzbow, Schloss Tegal, Einleitungszeit, Birds Build Nests Underground, Instinct Primal, Magadan, Napalmed and others.
Since 2006, Opening Performance Orchestra has released CDs, mostly as self-publishers, but also with the Belgian label Sub Rosa
, together with Milan Knížák, October 2015) and the German label Psych KG (Fraction Elements
, together with Hiroshi Hasegawa, August 2016). At the beginning of 2016, Opening Performance Orchestra recorded the composition Futurist Soirée
, commissioned by Czech Radio, which was performed within the EBU international exchange network in November 2016.