AMM/Merzbow For Ute / Tower of Ghost

The fourth instalment in Fat Cat's split twelve-inch series finds some sonic explorers who are highly practised at creating evocative gestures. Recorded live in Graz, Austria in 1998 by veteran British improv trio AMM, For Ute opens with what sounds like rattling of brake drums, then gives way to the wheezing and grinding of heavy machinery, followed by the fluttering static interference of lo-fi radio transmission and finger-on-chalkboard screeching of bowed cymbals. Yet just when it's become impossible to tell what is what among the clanging clutter, a seepage of piano trills and guitar stabs leak out with the piece closing with gasping random drum combinations. If AMM's low-key rumblings are meant to slowly burrow into your brain, anyone familiar with Masami Akita's incendiary electronic volcanic showers knows that subtlety is the last thing on his mind. According to the press notes, Akita's original track, "Ab Hunter" was supposed to be his most devastating, punishing slab of noise, but we'll never know because it turns out it was too difficult to cut for vinyl. Not that "Tower of Ghost" is new age goo. Far from it. Classic Merzbow, "Tower of Ghost" is dense monolithic layers of extreme frequencies delivered at maximum velocity for maximum visceral experience. (Fat Cat)