Everybody loves Merzbow. Or what the name of the noise genre would be if it was a sitcom, right?
I, for one, do love the ‘bow — most of what he does anyway — but noise in Japan, and certainly noise in general, doesn’t end with Masami Akita’s oeuvre. For me, nothing beats the soundscapes of pure aural meltdown that Incapacitants conjure.
The project started in Osaka as something Toshiji Mikawa would do during times Jojo Hiroshige didn’t need him for his main outlet, Hijokaidan. Fumio Kosakai, for his part, was a member of scuzz-erotic performance art troupe C.C.C.C. but craved something harsher. The banker and government employee met eventually met and decided to make the best and most disgusting sounds humans could endure with two contact mics. Thus starts the legend of one of the most inspired outlets to concoct pure, uncomfortable sound.
Their earliest recordings were released on tapes by Toshiji’s own label Pariah (later compiled and released as a CD box set on Finnish power electronics haven Freak Animal) and, as a duo, they did some work before Feedback of N.M.S., but this album is significant for important reasons. For starters, it was released on Jojo’s Alchemy Records as part of the Good Alchemy Vol. 1 series, whose first part was Merzbow’s classic Rainbow Electronics, no fucking less. Feedback is no slouch, and should be regarded as fervently as Masami’s masterpiece; it’s a continuous force of low-end rumble with high pitched clashes of frequencies with what sounds like ongoing screaming for much of the three tracks presented. “Curse Of Ceauşescu” takes almost 30 minutes to unroll, yet you barely feel it lasting that long through your aural nervous breakdown. The live track really shines, demonstrating that noise can breath and become a living entity when captured at the spark of the moment in front of a crowd.
Incapacitants themselves call their style hard noise. I call it “relentless, collapsing art” — it should be on permanent display at all museums, schools, and mental hospitals the world over.
Here’s a rare but brief open-air live performance from 1991.