Merzbow Kathedral, Toronto ON — September 20, 2002

For those who wished to court deafness via high-pitched abrasive sounds, this bill featured various local noise acts, capped off by the star performer Merzbow. Luckily, ear plugs were provided at the door. D-Trash label artists dominated, starting with the mighty Unitus, who offered up industrial strength guitar distortion propelled by sequenced beats, taking sound levels well into the red. Next on stage was Schizoid on vocals, backed by No Core on guitars, performing a monochromatic dark EBM set. No Core also engaged in a solo textural noise performance with his Nord synthesiser with filters and distortion pedals. A pleasant surprise was the one-time collaboration between Skeeter/Nwodtlem and Flatline Construct who played an excellent creative noise set alongside some splendid animation. Closing off the evening was the nondescript Merzbow, who sat behind two laptop computers, one used to manipulate sound, the other for visual projections. The set began with a painfully piercing static white noise set to make pacemakers flutter. A roar from the crowd countered the sound when Merzbow unleashed powerful, bowel loosening bass lines that ripped through the venue creating something of a minor earthquake. The visuals ranged from television static, to visual renderings of sound to clips from Transformers the Movie and a continuous loop of a man getting his head blown off with a shotgun by a SWAT team. As texturally abrasive as Merzbow's set was, it was also not altogether unconventional. For a generation raised on electronic music and rave culture, the noise set was not that anomalous.