Exquisitely recorded and mixed between February and May 1995 at ZSF Produkt Studio, Masami Akita’s home studio from the late 80s to late 90s, “Magnesia Nova” is a stunning immersion in the world of Merzbow during one of the project’s most engrossing and important periods. Inspired by the intersection between Greece and Japan, and between Western and Eastern civilization, along with work of Athanasius Kircher (all of the track titles have been taken from Kircher’s works), the album is a true blast of noise, meticulously crafted into gorgeous sound collages.
This is the first time this seminal document from Merzbow’s ’90s period has ever appeared on vinyl, in double LP format, featuring 20 minutes of unreleased bonus material from the same period of the recording sessions. Like all his work since the early nineties, “Magnesia Nova” is an uncompromising cascade of brutal noise. In this album you find nothing of the minimalism of his early 80s, completely overwhelmed by synthesizers and handmade objects that become his unconventional weapons to create bursts of noise.
The album begins with “Rituale Lucis” and “Magnesia Nova”, a parade of overloaded, layered and pulsating synthesizers and feedback. Two minutes are enough for the artist to take us to the territories of the most creative experimentation in the history of noise. They are sounds from a parallel universe suspended in time and straight out of an old amp that mumbles before going back to freaking out with synth razors. The sounds are unlike anything else played before or after. You find yourself in the world of dreams and the rhythm of the sound construction thickens, until the great progression of eternal noise materializes.
On the second side of the first record the crashes of noise return and the gates of primordial chaos open with “Oedipus Organum”, while “Specula Naturalum” comes to an end, as if it had never begun: perhaps it has been there since the beginning of time, an explosion of synthetic sounds, which seem like the spatial drifts for minor chords by Klaus Schulze. The second record opens with “Pantometrum Erotica” that begins with a dark modulation, where an obsessive rhythm alternates with screams of noise and the now familiar synthesizer sound and continue with “Sphinx Mystagoga” where everything collapses into a single otherworldly synthesizer voice that explores an uninhabited planet.
Released in an edition of 299 copies in a redesigned reverse cardboard gatefold sleeve with original painted art by Masami Akita, “Magnesia Nova” is a stunning piece of work that blurs the boundaries between pure noise, performance and experimental music. Once again we are immersed in the thrilling sonorous universe of one of the most striking and legendary noise artists from Japan. Easily one of the most curious and engaging records we’ve heard so far this year, and not to be missed.