New York

Remembering Merzbow: 1956-2005



Left: Merzbow; Right: Merzbow’s Ghost?

Merzbow + Circle
Knitting Factory
6 September 2005

Circle Download: “Dedofiktion”

As much as he’s respected for the noise itself, experimental Japanese artist Merzbow is perhaps best known for his prolific noise record output. Merzbow scholars estimate there are over 10,000 Merzbow recordings; others estimate there are exactly zero Merzbow scholars.

Regardless, anyone with $500 disposable cash remembers throwing down for the Merzbox, a 50-disc collection of Merzbow’s best recordings and loads of unreleased material. Riff Raff has never had $500 cash (more of an ATM blog), so last night we swung by the Knit to catch Merzbow live and maybe, maybe, see the fabled Merzbox.

Well guess the fuck what: Not only did we see the Merzbox, but there was a whole table of Merzbow merchandize a/k/a Merzandise. Here is just a sampling of Merzbow’s tour-only merch a/k/a merz:

Merzboxxx: A mash-up between OutKast’s Speakerboxxx and Merzbox, this album is completely unlistenable.

Flirtzbow: A special romantic box set of noise Merzbow recorded to woo the ladies

Merzbowels: Inexplicably, Merzbow’s large intestines

Steve Merzkel doll: This is just a Steve Urkel doll holding a miniature Merzbox

Merzernal Sunshine: The definitive Merzbow edition of Eternal Sunshine, all character dialogue has been replaced with deafening blasts of noise

Merz Rent-A-Car: This is just a regular rent-a-car, but instead of a radio, Merzbow randomly pops out from the back seat and puts his tongue in your ear

Merz: A Merzbow version of Myrrh, the gift Merzbow, as the third Wise Man, would bring the Baby Jesus in Nazareth if he had the chance. Merz is short for Merzandise.

Merzph: 300-cassette collection of Merzbow impersonating Murph from Dinosaur Jr.

Merzy Kisses: Remnants of Merzbow’s mid-period, when he decided to support his records with commemorative chocolates. These chocolates are “made” of noise, i.e. there are razorblades in them.

Picture Merzfect: A remake of the Jennifer Aniston film, with Merzbow digitally inserted to follow around Aniston’s character the entire film, repeatedly asking Aniston why she doesn’t come to his concerts anymore. The movie ends with Merzbow doing laptop improvisations at his own wedding, waiting for Aniston to arrive. When she finally does, there are no witnesses to the wedding and no priest, so the two are forced to postpone.

Picture Merzfect 2: Merzbow tries to find witnesses for his wedding before Aniston chews through the firewire cables he has strapped her in at the church

MC Merzbow: Please Hammer Don’t Merz ‘Em: This is a relatively simple concept: a seventy-minute excerpt of Merzbow begging rapper MC Hammer not to play Merzbow to his fans at concerts. It is unclear whether Hammer merzs.

Merzorola ROKR: Today Apple‘s Steve Jobs announced the first iTunes-compatible cell phone, the Motorola ROKR. Last night, at the concert, Merzbow debuted the Merzorola ROKR, a phone that you can only use to talk to Merzbow. If for any reason you stop talking to Merzbow, he will hunt you down and kill you.

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