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.