Friday, January 15, 2016

Merzbow - Live In Khabarovsk, CCCP "I'm Proud By Rank Of The Workers" [1988]

Artist: Merzbow
Title: Live In Khabarovsk, CCCP "I'm Proud By Rank Of The Workers"
Genre: Noise, Experimental, Free Jazz
Country: Japan
Release date:1988

Track List:
  1. Live At Trade Unions Palace Of Culture Hall, 23/03/88 
  2. Live At Soviet Army Officers House Hall, 24/03/88
At first it's hard to believe, but Merzbow did visit USSR with a live program in March 1988. He was invited to a festival of experimental music (mostly free jazz) that took place in Khabarovsk, not so far away from Japan. The other Japanese guest on that festival was Kazuo Uehara, an ambient/new age composer from Tokyo. In order to get Merzbow allowed to perform, the organizers kept the nature of their (yes, back then Merzbow was a duo of Masami Akita and Kiyoshi Mizutani) music in secret, as well as the visual/erotic aspects of their art.

Even if the festival was supposed to be attended by open-minded people who were used to experimental music, and the program itself wasn't too "noisy" compared to other works by Merzbow, the first performance was stopped due to the negative reaction of the audience (some even thought that the musicians were drunk). The second performance that took place the next day was received better. Nothing is known about the third (and the final) performance, and it wasn't recorded either.

While this CD is mostly a collector's item, and it's not nearly as harsh as most other Merzbow works, it's a valuable historical document. This is also a recording of some of the most massive noise performances of that era (in front of ~750 and ~1000 listeners, respectively), and certainly the first noise/industrial music performance of such scale in Soviet Union. There's some additional info taken from the release notes:

"Track 1 - Live at Trade Unions Place of Culture Hall 23 March 1988
Masami Akita plays electric bowed instruments, tape, radio
Kiyoshi Mizutani plays piano, low feedback US MP guitar
Track 2 - Live at Soviet Army Officers House Hall 24 March 1988
MA plays drums, tape
KM plays piano, guitar
Recorded live at AMUR Jazz & Experiment Music Festival, Khabarovsk, far east of Russia
Live PA recordings by Russian staff
Remastered from original live recording
Same materials released on Live in Khabarovsk, CCCP LP on ZSF Produkt, 1988

Artwork By - Ad Suprex , Mamoru Murayama , Merzbow
Percussion - Vitaly Lookyanov
Piano, Guitar [Us Mp], Balalaika, Noises [Metal], Tape - Kiyoshi Mizutani
Recorded By - Igor Karpenko
Remix - Merzbow
Tape, Noises [Metals, Cccp Radio], Drums - Masami Akita

MERZNOTE - In March 1988, little after period of Perestroica, suddenly we invited from Khabarovsk and played live three times. This CD contain our first and second performance. Our first performance was stopped by organiser reason 'Too wild'. So, we played by use normal instruments on next performance. Russian people is nice but they didn't understand us. Reason they invited us, they expect every Japanese band having very hi-tech equipments. But we bring only some pedals. We were too low tech. But they want to get our pedals. We exchanged pedals with Russian souvenirs. They paid Russian currency but it's useless in outside Russia. This CD tracks are original long version. I used tape which include some Batztoutai materials on live background. We used Russian radio and junk box which we found at there.
(from 'Merzbook: The Pleasuredome of Noise' by Brett Woodward, page 107)"

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