2005: Merzbow - Dust of Dreams

Merzbow’s Masami Akita and his fans had a great year in 2005. Well in the midst of his “digital era,” Akita’s best work that year amounted to a trifecta of stylistically contrasting records: the jazzy Sphere, the brutal Bariken, and the tribal and psychedelic Dust of Dreams, a personal favorite. The only record Merzbow released for the Portuguese label Thisco, Dust of Dreams consists of three tracks in just under an hour and features some of Akita’s most evocative music of the period.

The bookending “1339” and “0716” provide respective intros and come-downs to the absolutely stunning title track, which takes up the majority of the album’s runtime at just over 37 minutes. The length of “Dust of Dreams” can be intimidating, but listeners should not expect a full-on noise assault. It all begins with a confident, loose drum beat. Akita gradually adds distorted synths and effects while keeping the drum loop untouched, providing a steady foundation while he weaves an arsenal of sounds in and around the pulse. So much of Merzbow’s work begins abruptly — no context, you’re just thrown into it — which makes the incredibly atmospheric 20-minute build up in “Dreams” feel so rewarding. After an all too brief ambient interlude Akita begins the process again, now with a new drum pattern that is more insistent and aggressive. During this second movement the synths really start blaring, the bass tones are more distorted; everything gets more chaotic in less time. The track’s collapse gradually brings the drum loop back into focus as everything else falls away and soon, just as it began, that is all we’re left with.

Merzbow is overwhelmingly prolific — so prolific that little consensus has built around his essential work aside from the popular 1930. Dust of Dreams is by no means an “easy album,” but it finds a great middle ground between something accessible like Merzbeat and the really brutal material found on records like Pulse Demon. Featuring a brilliant title track, it is an album worth listening to if you have any interest in the so called Godfather of Noise.


There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

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