MAAAA/K2 – Split (CD, Triangle)

 

Who knew that artists whose monikers consisted of only letters and numbers could create such harsh noise? Neither MAAAA nor K2 are new artists to the genre; actually, K2 is one of the prominent figures in harsh noise and cutup junk electronics, and MAAAA follows in those footsteps on this split with an electronics setup very similar to K2’s. It’s interesting to listen for the major differences in sound and composition that the two take on this split, which is to say that while MAAAA’s five tracks have a characteristically different sound from K2’s, the noise is still unrelentingly harsh.

MAAAA starts the disc off with five relatively short tracks of junk electronics and scrap metal sounds. Beginning with “Entomophobia”, MAAAA churns out ferocious and deep tracks full of Korg whirrings, static and bass pummeling, and overall just a jumble of incredibly harsh sounds that dominate the disc. There is a sense of destruction to all of these tracks, especially “Entomophobia”, which does not let up its wicked decimation until its final second. There is a lot going on in each track, but the difference between K2 and MAAAA seems to be the fact that K2 emphasizes the idea behind stop-starts (though not as pronounced on this disc), whereas MAAAA continue to amplify their noise without break or pause. MAAAA also switches up the sound, alternating between the harsh attacks with rhythmic slabs of noise (“Crude Petroleum”) akin to Merzbow on Timehunter or Merzbeat. In fact, there’s a lot that can be contributed to Merzbowian sound, especially on “Drunken Skinhead”, which retains some of the similar junk metal/percussive sounds Merzbow used in the ’80s.

On the K2 side, we have Kimihide Kusafuka doing what he does best: programming his Korg MS-20 to shred sound to bits, using his Nintendo DS as an instrument of havoc, subjecting the listener to sharp shards of feedback. The first track, “Izanagi-Mix”, was recorded in studio, while the two others were recorded live at ORANGE-MURA. “Izanagi-Mix” is somewhat less sprawling than the others, a set that contains some trademark K2 sounds and staples while also remaining fresh enough as a very harsh track. K2 is not using the slight pauses in some of his other work here; while there are some, his sound is more focused on “Izanagi-Mix” than it tends to be on his other, longer works. The same is true of the two live tracks; “Boosted Megatamania” is ridiculously harsh, with a head-exploding pitch that only amplifies as the track continues on with such nihilistic feedback. “The Hole of Ootakimaru” is similar in theme, with more feedback and pitch shifts along with the glitchy, jumpy sound K2 is known for.

Don’t doubt me when I say this split is fucking ace. MAAAA is exactly on par with K2, and there’s an obvious discrepancy between how each artist creates noise. Pairing them together on one disc means that the listener gets two doses of extreme noise, brash abrasions that last for the entirety of the 50 minute disc. Combine that with the fact that this cardboard sleeve comes with a booklet of abstract art made by Sergei of MAAAA and Jura Belkin, and you’ve got yourself a must have release from Triangle.

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