P/O Massacre + Alex Buess & Merzbow – Aural Corrosion

WV Sorcerer Productions 巫唱片 / 2LP/CD/DL / 2023

P/O Massacre + Alex Buess & Merzbow – Aural Corrosion – Anxious magazine

I probably would have missed this album if it weren’t for Anton, and I’m very grateful that the universe once again turned out to be a laboratory filled with interconnected vessels in which all variants of events become possible. And me, well, I’m like this albino lab rat subjected to various tests by the mad scientist named Chaos, but at this point, I would kindly ask all potential animal defenders to leave me & this entire experiment alone. Not only that, I encourage you to support the initiative and act in its favor because for the first time in my life I actually regret that I do not have the conditions for collecting and listening to the vinyl records. Maybe someday… keep your fingers crossed for me ;)

“Aural Corrosion” is the result of a collaboration between four musicians: Anton Ponomarev (saxophone and other noises), Anton Obrazeena (guitar and probably other noises), Alex Buess (saxophone, electronics, levels + verticals), and Masami Akita aka Merzbow, whose contribution to experimental music, as well as his area of activity, is rather unnecessary to explain. Because P/O Massacre’s part was recorded in Moscow, few days before the Russian invasion on Ukraine – the whole album was then unanimously considered as anti-war:

“Part of this release was recorded in moscow in February 2022, a few days prior to full-scale russian invasion in Ukraine. Since then we had no other idea than this will be an anti-war record. There’s no doubt that russia is the only one to blame in this catastrophe. War was declared under the slogans of “denazification of Ukraine”, but in fact it’s the nazification of russia itself — the final stage of a years-long process. And we think that the only thing that can end this war is the defeat of the aggressor country. Stop russia!”

Before you freak out at the grammar errors in the quote, let me clarify that the various forms of the “russia” word intentionally begin with a lowercase letter. A certain percentage of profits from album sales and downloads will be donated to a children’s hospital in Kiev, and above the quoted “manifesto” there are links to donation sites for the same purpose. Why do I mention this before I even get down to analyzing the audio experience? Because it’s clearly important to the artists themselves, it’s important to me as well, the war is still going on and people are dying in the name of some sick fucker’s deadly politics. There is simply no room for indifference, so just deal with it.

And now we all can politely return to music ;) I must admit that, as for a pacifist protest, the album gives a rather uncompromising sensory offensive. In an interview with “Jazz Blues News” three years back, when asked about Coltrane’s words that “music is his spirit”, Ponomarev said:

“I’m sorry, but I really don’t like to talk about these concepts like spirit. I can only say that it is important to play what you really feel at the moment. It is also important to turn yourself inside out, trying to play every time like the last. I hope this is the spirit!”

I must agree completely with these words. Our thesis seems to be supported by this more than an hour-long session of a solid spanking, without a single second of boredom, so buckle the fuck up…

“Chanting the Resonances of Atrocity” is not the first collaboration of the two Antons P/O with Buess. In 2021 Alex dipped his fingers (mastering) into their debut album, but you won’t get any repeat performance here. Instead, what you get is a track seemingly reminding Warp Record’s works, danceable (to my taste, of course), but laced with noise, guitar drilling as well as garlands of melancholic sax. The whole big-ass rave is hidden in these seventeen minutes, but not the sort that you can find in a cut-rate club for posh guys in slippers, who can’t party until they’ve eaten four mdma pills and chased them down with a liter of booze. It’s a proper one, with a grindcore twist, that you would play on a decent squat. This stunt is like Salvador Dali – it doesn’t do drugs, because it’s a drug itself. Before using it, I recommend reading the flyer I’m going to create here for you. 

“Anti-war Music” is a piece composed by P/O Massacre in partnership with Merzbow, and it is precisely where that innocuous Squarepusher-like vibe, which effectively put my vigilance to sleep, inevitably finds its way into the branch shredder. The monumental scene set up by this tune is saturated with fine elements circling around like a swarm of frisky bees. I was lucky enough to hear Merzbow live in a rather small setting, and what unfolds here consistently brings back memories of that evening.

Maybe it’s a bit silly, but whenever I ride a bus and see a sign stating “watch your fingers” I imagine dozens of cut-off fingers encroaching through an unclosed window, tugging every (in my case perpetually tense) string of sensitivity with no mercy. No wonder there are warning signs in public communication! Similar impression applies here. These “fingers” first individually, then in clusters, touch, stroke, tickle, and stab you, to eventual collision with the sonic wall. But it’s not happening immediately… instead, you can watch (or hear) how brick by brick, a wall is formed, like the one from Leśmian’s poem about the twelve brothers and a moaning girl. A wall you shouldn’t fuck with.

If you decide not to donate to the hospital in Kiev and put your faith in getting a free listen, this is where you should put a full stop in this review… but I decided to put up three of them ;P “Nonslaught”, made by the guys from P/O Massacre is available only on CD, and if I were you, I would do anything to get access to it. If we would speak the language of the previously mentioned pharmaceutical brochures – do not stop the recommended treatment, even if the symptoms have subsided…

Because the third piece is like a patch for a wound, like some syrup for a sore throat, like a sling to support a twisted limb. When ingested with the help of decent headphones, it feels the way little Mei must have felt sleeping on the belly of a snoring Totoro. The warmth and depth of the sounds, their almost affectionate dance for the first fifteen minutes prepares you for the little bit of noisy squish lurking around the corner, but the smooth ending decently soothes the situation. Clearly, what we are dealing with here is a foreplay, proper intercourse, and post-coital cuddles, and the bonus track is sort of a recurrence for all of the above. I’m sure that even Mick Jagger would be satisfied… for the first time, since 1965 ;).

Marta Podoska