Archive for the ‘extreme’ Category


November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Thank you kindly for your constant interest in Merzbau! Only today after a random visit here I realized that there have been  more than 13000 visitors to this blog! Merzbau is over [at least for now] but this does not mean that I will bring it down. It will remain online for archival purposes.

There has been a return to the merzposting though. There is a new incarnation of this ongoing ‘effort’ that is called Llamarinth. This is a new journal of the weird and wonderful maintained by me and a very dear person to me, houdinismother. I am sure that Merzbau readers will find many things of interest there and they will not be disappointed.

I would be glad to see you and maybe hear from some of you over at Llamarinth!




transgression, decay and the Avant-Garde

May 3, 2008 1 comment

Joel-Peter Witkin

History Of Beauty is an interesting book, while On Ugliness [both by the great Umberto Eco] is an excellent one, not it terms of ‘execution’ [see writing] but as a subject. Studying the ever-shifting and changing standards of beauty can prove useful and entertaining. Beauty and how we conceive it plays a key role in understanding society and art. This also applies to ugliness despite the fact that most of the times, ugliness is pushed out of focus and to the darkest corners. It is of critical importance to note that it is rather unsure whether beauty exists and is defined as the opposite of ugliness or vice versa [These thoughts are addressed also by Eco].

Depicting what is not visually or mentally [everything is in the brain(?)] attractive, not strictly as a means of threat or propaganda, is a barrier-smashing concept in art. Disturbance in art accounts for many powerful and of great depth masterpieces. Steadily avoiding the mainstream ‘evil’, ‘wicked’ and ‘ugly’ popster hype, difference, para-normal, perverseness, the displeasing mark a widely uncharted territory deep within human psyche capable of the next chef-d’oeuvre or a disgusting monstrosity. Appealing and appalling sound and spell conspicuously similar.

What lies beyond death [physically] is rot and decomposition. The ultimate transformation, the passage from life to death is one of the biggest taboos. But what about the literally ultimate transformation/passage, decomposition? Dealing with subjects like this probably categorizes as transgression but that is what avant-garde is all about. Avant-garde and ‘extreme’ [extreme here stands for all practices, art forms and expressions considered abnormal and/or over-provocative] meet again on the grounds of transgression. Greenaway deals extensively with decay in his Zed & Two Noughts, while also rot and putrefaction are returning themes in Cannibal Corpse‘s releases, both visually [artwork] and lyrically, while generally being a favourite concept of fellow death metal and grindcore bands.

Ravenous waves attack,
drawn by the scent of life
Fever for our blood

Instinct rules this mass, ruthless living sea

Countless vermin gnashing at my face
Tear meat from my skull
Swarming, rabid, features are erased
Body covered, rat filled innards
Shred internal organs
Heart and lungs consumed from inside but my
pain doesn’t end
I have not died

Devour, cesspool of vermin
Devour, bloodthristy rabid
Devoured by vermin

Ruthless gnawing vermin – feed
Cleaning off my bones while I breathe
Stenching greasy rodents – swarm
My body is losing its form

[Lead – Owen]
[Lead – Barrett]

Devour, cesspool of vermin
Devour, bloodthristy rabid
Devoured by vermin

Lyrics of Devoured by Vermin, Vile [1996], see numerous other examples.

Decomposition is also the subject of Sam Taylor-Wood‘s work A Little Death.

It can be described as ‘meta-still life’ [sic] imagery, probably better classified as vanitas. Still life by convention, as it fails to meet the definition of …[a work of art] depicting inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, plants and natural substances like rocks) or man-made (drinking glasses, cigarettes, pipes and so on) in an artificial setting. In A Little Death subjects are certainly not inanimate. We witness a slow, almost ritualistic procedure [made frantic in order to fit in 4 and a half minutes of film] that ‘performs’ the final transmutation to the mortal body [Memento mori]. This is not Ars Moriendi, preceding death and the inevitable subsequent results are presented ‘as-are’, there is no ethos, like in nature, making our spectacle even more disturbing.

An alteration of forms is taking place in this video. A passage from form to deformity, resulting in an almost abstract and all-together different final outcome [the apple remains unaltered (plastic?), probably to work as a connecting factor between the phases] with a distinct artistic value per se [?].

Días sin luz [Days without light]

April 1, 2008 Leave a comment

An old acquaintance of merzbau readers, Jaume Balagueró. Días sin luz [1995].


January 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Alicia by Jaume Balagueró [1994]

Dark and disturbing. Caution: Proceed carefully, great possibility of annoyance or offense.

contribution from stereotype

La Bouche (The Mouth), by George Bataille [+Abattoir Angel]

December 23, 2007 1 comment

Now reading.

La Bouche

Quote: “The mouth is the beginning or, if one prefers, the prow of animals; in the most characteristic cases, it is the most living part, in other words, the most terrifying for neighbouring animals. But man does not have a simple architecture like the beasts, and it is not even possible to say where he begins. In a strict sense, he starts at the top of the skull, but the top of the skull is an insignificant part, incapable of attracting attention and it is the eyes or the forehead the play the significatory role of an animal’s jaws.”

“Among civilized men, the mouth has even lost the relatively prominent character that it still has among primitive men. However, the violent meaning of the mouth is conserved in a latent state: it suddenly regains the upper hand with a literally cannibalistic expression such as mouth of fire, applied to the cannons men employ to kill each other. And on important occasions human life is still bestially concentrated in the mouth: fury makes men grind their teeth, terror and atrocious suffering transform the mouth into the organ of rending screams. On this subject it is easy to observe that the overwhelmed individual throws back his head while frenetically stretching his neck so that the mouth becomes, as far as possible, a prolongation of the spinal column, in other words, it assumes the position in normally occupies in the constitution of animals. As if explosive impulses were to spurt directly out of the body through the mouth, in the form of screams. This fact simultaneously highlights the importance of the mouth in animal physiology or even psychology, and the general importance of the superior or anterior extremity of the body, the orifice of profound physical impulses: equally one sees that a man is able to liberate these impulses in at least two different ways, in the brain or in the mouth, but that as soon as these impulses become violent, he is obliged to resort to the bestial method of liberation. Whence the narrow constipation of a strictly human attitude, the magisterial look of the face with a closed mouth, as beautiful as a safe.”

Text: the Critical Dictionary entry, La Bouche (The Mouth), by George Bataille, as published in the journal Documents c 1930.

More on Bataille and Bacon connection here .

Entry via newly discovered great blog, the nonist. Blogroll updated.


Abattoir Angel

Francis Bacon photo shoot by John Deakin for Vogue magazine

“Man is the animal whose nature has not yet been fixed.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Keiji Haino [+friends]

December 19, 2007 1 comment

It has been over a year that I have Black Blues [both soft and violent version] in my collection. At first attempt(s) they seemed impenetrable . A few days back I decided to give them one more spin [after long time] and see what I could make of it. That was it. As if a door was unlocked, a door to the musical world of the dark Japanese shaman, the extraordinary world of Keiji Haino. Another chapter for exploration and a great reason for a collection expansion.

The videos featured in this post have little to do with the musical style of Black Blues. They are another piece of KH universe and for sure extreme and intense. Beautiful.

Keiji Haino, Otomo Yoshihide, Tori Kudo & Tamio Shiraishi

Recorded at the Black Birthday Party II (Shinjuku, September 1st, 2005). Tori Kudo (piano), Keiji Haino (guitar), Tamio Shiraishi (alto sax) & Otomo Yoshihide (guitar).

Keiji Haino Yamatsuka Eye John Zorn [+ Christian Marclay]

Violent and extreme improvisation by an all-star company of musicians.

P.S. I made ‘backup’ links to the videos in their titles apart from posting them. I am constantly facing problems when posting stuff from If anyone has any info or solution to this matter please contact.

P.S. 2 Due to some technical reasons uploading Logothetis cd 2/2 is canceled for today. Promise it will be up until the end of the week.

Now playing: Keiji Haino – Drifting
via FoxyTunes

Heavenly Music! [Naked City / Prelapse] a.k.a. Thrash Jazz Assassination

December 13, 2007 2 comments

One more post for Naked City, one of the best bands that ever existed.

John Zorn once said : “Napalm [Death’s]…[music] exists in the stratosphere. It’s heavenly music!”. Well there is no better way to describe Zorn’s own project. Just replace ‘Napalm Death’ with ‘Naked City’. So let’s listen to some heavenly music.

Live 1992 at Bimhuis, Amsterdam, Netherlands

1.Igneous Ejaculation
2.Blood Duster
4.Demon Sanctuary
5.You Will Be Shot

[John Zorn, Joey Baron, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Wayne Horvitz]

Sack of Shit
[John Zorn, Bill Frissell, Fred Frith, Joey Baron, Wayne Horvitz, Yamatsuka Eye]

Thrash Jazz Assassin

Leng Tch’e [live 1992 in New York]

[ Kevin Sharp, Yamatsuka Eye, John Zorn, Joey Baron, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Wayne Horvitz ]

and two non-live, unofficial but very interesting and well made videos. Both songs are from Grand Guignol album.

Billy Liar

Victims of Torture



Bikini Atoll, This Way Out and Bone Crusher are three unrecorded Naked City songs. They are included in Music Romance Vol.1 : Music For Children and performed by Prelapse.

Bikini Atoll

This Way Out

Bone Crusher