Monday, August 23, 2010


Masami Akita (Merzbow) and I started our correspondence around 1987 or 1988 with a shared interest in sound manipulation,  mail art,  and the cassette underground.  I first became aware of his work through purchases of several early cassettes which almost immediately became totemic objects signifying a harshness and otherness well beyond their simple means (xerox upon xerox reproduction,  and scraped, looped,  bowed, and overdriven analogue sources).  His noise discouraged analysis beyond its own materiality.  I loved its lack of "musical" development,  its anti-virtuosity,  and its instantaneous envelopment of the listener. Here was postmusic without any concern for harmony,  pitch, consonance/dissonance,  or formal development in the traditional sense.

When I asked Masami if he'd like to produce something for release on my Discordia/Concordia cassette label, he sent me the cassette master that became SCUM (Society For Cutting Up Merzbow): SEVERANCES.  I created the package, artwork, and graphic design.  This was 1989,  and his aural eruptions seemed the perfect soundtrack to a world of broken, reconfigured excess,  and is still relevant today.  SEVERANCES is now only available on wayward copies of MERZBOX.

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