In the green room: Balasz Pandi can’t see the label of the candle on the coffee table, but he thinks he recognizes the scent. He guesses it’s sage, maybe with something else, but he’s not about to lift his body out of the chair and move over there just to figure out what kind of candle it is. Mats Gustafsson wipes down his sax with a rag that a booking guy gave him. He imagines a world where musical instruments could get sick from bacteria and get diseases and develop little pustules like the baby in Eraserhead or something, and next thing you know you’re operating on your clarinet and it’s spraying foam and blood everywhere and totally wrecking your apartment. Merzbow scans the craft services table and finds nothing he can really trust. He opens Twitter on his phone and scans the Kafka Bot’s feed: 大きな城のありかをしめすかすかな灯りさえなかった. He tweets nothing.
On stage: You know what happens.
On March 6, RareNoise Records ships Cuts, a document of what audiences witnessed on the Merzbow/Gustafsson/Pandi ensemble’s tour in 2012 (on 2xLP & CD — MP3s available now). I imagine that listening at home with the volume cranked yields a similarly incredible experience: Merzbow & Gustafsson’s live electronics swirl beneath the din of their dueling sax and feedback leads, as Pandi shifts from cymbal abuse to jazzy snare work to blastbeats and back. Three maximized presences breaking eardrums and dropping jaws, not unlike another trio of multinational experimental all-stars.
Backstage after the show: Balasz picks up the candle before they head to the diner. It’s “Sage and Citrus.”