Boris With Merzbow: Gensho

Japan’s sonic explorers prove that opposites attract

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Two of Japan’s foremost heavy music experimentalists return with a seismic 150-minute double album, marking the fourth chapter of their provocative ongoing collaboration.

Boris have dedicated a quarter-century to celebrating the artful collision of blissed-out shoegaze, pillowy dreampop and ambient textures of drone and sludge. Several kilometres down the extremity spectrum lies Merzbow, whose edgeless, frequency-blitzed noise compositions routinely invite comparisons to heroic feats of human endurance. On Gensho, the symbiotic partnership invests the latter’s work with a loose compositional framework and the former’s with a noisily combative tension

Boris’s velvety, reverb-drenched pop hooks on tracks like Farewell and the ethereal purr of Akirame Flower suggest The Jesus & Mary Chain playing a farewell concert from a far-off, runaway asteroid, while Merzbow’s contributions, particularly the sphincter-loosening shriekfest Planet Of The Cows, and the half-hour sonic bloodbath of Goloka, Pts 1&2, rely on linear, pulsating phrases to erect gooseflesh-inducing walls of noise.

Together they yield a mesmerising mélange of darkness, light and cerebral depth.