Boris with Merzbow Sun Baked Snow Cave

One of three collaborations between the artists this year alone, Sun Dripped Snow Cave is an impressive display of sharp contrasts in sound, balancing the sparse, passionate guitar-driven ambience of Boris with the oppressive, structured anti-music of Merzbow. Building steadily from a few sparsely paced acoustic strums and a barely perceptible drone, the listener’s paranoia and hesitant anticipation mounts over the course of the disc’s running time. Occasionally, Merzbow’s disturbed, unsettling noise rears its ugly head, but only for brief, calculated spurts — the bulk of his contribution is saved for the disc’s mesmerising climax. What sets this one apart from other releases of its kind is the mood it bestows upon the listener and the complex plethora of emotions it channels. Not quite as disturbing or apocalyptic as Lustmord’s work, and certainly not as abrasive as most of Merzbow’s back catalogue, the tone of the album lies somewhere in between psychedelic, comforting, and unsettling. As a result, Sun Dripped Snow Cave is only recommended for those prepared for the plunge into a bizarre, unfamiliar headspace. (Hydra Head)