Murmur is a new project in collaboration between improvisational jazz saxophonist Ryoko Ono and Indonesian harsh noise artists Pandu. Their first release is simply called A Collaboration and was released by Malang-based experimental label Gerpfast Records.
It exists very much in the same headspace as Pandu’s joint release with Japanese vocalist Junko Hiroshige and tangoing of talents that produced an album of the same name (also released on Gerpfast Records). A Collaboration is a single, unbroken track where pitchy shrieks do battle with prolapsing soundscapes and electronic feedback auto-cannibalizing its own beleaguered grasp of sonic continuity, periodically salvaged by more conventional aural overtures, only to then be scarfed, barfed, and remolded into something uninhibited by the sounds that proceeded it, and dauntless of the sonic forms it will soon obtain.
Named after Yoko Ono, Ryoko is a prolific instrumentalist and collaborator in her native Japan, working with artists in diverse genres from hip-hop to pop to funk. However, she apparently has a special appreciation for heavy metal music. Her recent collaboration with guitarist Hayashi Tsuyoshi under the name Plastic Dogs from earlier this year was particularly raw and graphic in its visceral excesses.
In her performances, she prides herself on the use of a “non-breath” circulation technique and the incorporation of multi-phonics which permit her to plunder the possibilities of her instrument and draw up naked and unorthodox expressions of sound. Pandu, for his part, is a prolific associate of many in the harsh music space, lauded for his ability to highten the discarded qualities of others performances, while breaking ground in his solo work with the horror noise, soundwave skinner, Bergegas Mati, and the presently defunct sound explosion Kawaii Death Gurll. \
It is an understatement to describe his work as corrosive, with most of his material falling on the far end of accessibility in the world of noise rock and sonic experimentation.
A Collaboration is a self-conscious, concerted, and admitted tribute to all those lost to COVID this year. Its single track begins with the flailing, pain exuding whine of Ryoko’s sax as it frantically seeks to find it’s footing and scrambles for shelter before being caught up in the tormented squeal of Pandu’s glass cloud-like, sense-fraying, peel of noise, that feels like a cheese grater being run along the surface of your brain clock-wise.
It’s a display of musical prowess and uninhibited angst that devours, digests and dissipates any logic, any sense, and any rational understanding that could be used to order the world and the things that inhabit it. The anarchic tones and infinite implosive quality of A Collaboration is a shockingly precise reflection of the current affairs. One that will want to make you scream until you blackout in the hopes of waking up in a place free from the thrall of our everlasting delirium.