Label: Relapse Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Usually musicians attempt to make their music accessible. However, when you have a collaboration between Boris and Merzbow “accessible” is not a high priority. It is a double album and listening to their creative intention involves quite a specific process. Ideally you will own two sound systems, buy the vinyl album and play each of the records on the two sound systems at the same time. For me, I imitated the intention by opening each album on different music players on my computer and pressing play at almost the same time. In addition, the tracks on each side are of different length, so if you particularly enjoyed track seven, as an example, there is no easy way to play it. There is a point to having “Gensho” (“Phenomenon”) separated in two pieces, the listener is able to vary the volume for each piece to create a unique experience every time they listen to it.

At first I was worried about having the albums play in sync. I did not need to worry, there is no beat to the music, nor is there any real structure. As an experiment, I played random tracks from either side – it works just as well as the prescribed method. Perhaps that is another way for you to have a truly unique experience – just play the records at the same time both in random song order. The music here is the type of art given high respect in a gallery, but it makes you think any two year could do the same. Boris and Merzbow create highly experimental noise. The first album, by Boris, is a stream of sound created with musical instruments that becomes a listenable unstructured drone. Some of the tracks on the first side occasionally sound musical. The second album, by Merzbow, is screeching static with electronic sound effects. Put together there is no epiphany and I have no wish to hear it again.

Listening to the albums playing together is better than listening to them separately. However, as another experiment I played anther song at the same time as the first tracks from each of the sides of the album, some BABYMETAL, then some Sarah Brightman, lastly some Mesarthim. Still no epiphany, though the album did sound much better as I experimented with the volume control, and reduced the level of the “Gensho” tracks to zero. Boris and Merzbow do have a fan base and there are some who say listening to the noise is a mind expanding experience. Perhaps it will make you reconsider what is music? If you want to expend the effort required to listen to the album please let my disregard inspire you. Everyone has their own preferences, and, for me, it is interesting there is an audience for this noise.

Rating – N/A



BORIS (Disc 1)

  1. Farewell
  2. Huge
  3. Resonance
  4. Rainbow
  5. Sometimes
  6. Heavy Rain
  7. Akuma No Uta
  8. Akirame Flower
  9. Vomitself

MERZBOW (Disc 2)

  1. Planet of the Cows
  2. Goloka Pt.1
  3. Goloka Pt.2
  4. Prelude to a Broken Arm


Line Up


  • Takeshi – Vocals, guitar, bass
  • Wata – Vocals, guitar, echo
  • Atsuo – Vocal, percussion, electronics


  • Masami Akita – Electronics