Now this bastard gave me a static electric shock whilst taking it out of the sleeve almost causing me to drop it in the process, at first I thought nothing of it, but in retrospect it may have been a physical "pulse demon" sent by Merzbow to transpose his noise magnifica outside the sound spectrum.
I have no clue how Masami Akita makes such elaborately jagged meanders of noise, for all I can tell he could just be changing any non-musical files file extension to an mp3 and pass it off as custom made mangle of noise; an unlikely scenario, but one that could go a long way into explaining how the man is so proficient at creating the largest discography known to man. Well whatever the method behind his madness it pays off, because no one intensifies the noise experience like he does.
His half is a continuous arch of distortion taloned by a perplexing mass of acute logarithmic hisses and digital scathes, as if being plugged into a lengthy cycle of the matrix, complete with the binary manifestations of an embellished soundscape that exits beyond the restraints of understanding as provided for by the mind, leaving the listener equally perplexed and awed with its seemingly alien construction. As we have come to expect from Merzbow, the music (and I use the term loosely) is not designed with the express idea of belonging to any specific form or to appease the listener, it’s purely a complete experiment in pushing the boundaries of mankind’s command of sound and as such appeals to those of inquisitive mind sets for whom satisfaction is not derived directly from the listening, but in the attempt to unravel its inner workings and abstract meanings of this enigma of digital manipulation. Ultimately it is an endless task with no conclusion, yet a realisation that fails to shake the determination of the listener from repeating the process in the hopes of being that one step closer to the answer. Such is the beauty of Merzbow.
For those of you who have stuck around Grind to Death long enough you will well know my intense infatuation with demiurgic noise engineers ACTUARY, yet each and every explanation I give of the band vary from the last. This is not a blunder on my part, but a testament to their explorative nature both thematically and in their handling of both the analogue and digital sources of their noise crafting; very befitting that their band logo is that of a hydra, because much like the hydra there are many faces to ACTUARY.
ACTUARY’s side for Freak Hallucinations is one that could be identified as befitting a psychological horror film, a more abrasive and unsettling noise counterpart to Mike Stitches Frankenstein grind works. Throughout the release a constant stain of mind is placed through a slithering eeriness at first accompanied by a disconcerting vocal dialogue between an impish squawking and a more blood curdling diabolic monstrosity, but as the release progresses the experience becomes more intense placing a greater emphasis on rugged noise afflictions who bring the intimidating vibe of the release to the forefront, given more effect by the sprawling shimmers of disorientation. From there a minimalist drone is played, a moment of relative calm amongst a sea of horrors, yet as it unravels it becomes increasingly more sinister with distorted screams and proclamations being bastardised in the haze of the dark noise, amongst a bed of sound snakes, snapping screeches and abstruse contortions all of which bite from beyond the bleak haze of the sonic veil.
And our journey ends there.