Merzbow and Alessandro Cortini are binding forces for a new collaborative album.
Beholden via Important Records on April 21, the self-titled 2xLP sees the former Nine Inch Nails band member and Japanese noise don paste their enthusiasm for early ’70s modular synth the EMS Synthi, “giving this classic synth a modern workout.”
Ex-Nine Inch Nails member Alessandro Cortini and Japanese noise legend Merzbow may seem like improbable collaborators. They came together over their common love for the EMS Synthi, a British synthesiser from the early '70s that they used on this recording. (Brian Eno is another notable fan of the instrument, which comes in a portable travel bag and is known for its patch matrix and distinctive tone.)
Cortini is a noted synth aesthete, having mastered the Buchla modular system, while also using a variety of other instruments in his work over the years. The Italian musician struck up a friendship with Don Buchla around the time he joined Nine Inch Nails in 2005. Taling FACT for a tribute piece to Don Buchla last year, he evoked his first experience with Buchla’s 2004 comeback synth 200e, explaining: "I just found myself completely engulfed in this machine in a way that I have never experienced before."
Merzbow has mapped out his own territory in the post-industrial electronic tract, and there’s absolutely nothing else like him on the scene.
A seal release notes that Cortini and Merzbow have found ways to bring the origin synth's sound into the modern age. It reads: "Astonishingly, these two disparate artists meld into a single sound as they flex the analog circuitry of the EMS Synthi in new ways; giving this classic synth a modern workout and proving that, in capable hands, a 40 year old analog synthesizer is a tool for the ages."
Cortini published his last full-length solo LP Risveglio back in 2015. Merzbow, in meantime, has already released Aodron, Wildwood II and Gomata this year. In recent years, he's also released collaborative projects alongside the likes of Sun Ra, Boris and Xiu Xiu, plus Flying Basket with Akira Sakata, Jim O'Rourke and Chikamorachi, as well as Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper with Balázs Pándi, Mats Gustafsson and Thurston Moore.
Cortini and Merzbow premiered their live show at the Tokyo edition of Berlin's Atonal festival in February.
If you like what you hear, Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow is currently available for pre-order
edited by Dejan Stojkovski