Despite what the lion’s share of Merzbow’s discography would hint at, Masami Akita is able to take a foot off the speaker-shredding gas and, when called upon, play nice with others. As far as Boris is concerned, the Tokyo-based experimental institution has shown itself more than capable of creating some of the hardest rock to ever light the fuse on a Pabst-fueled land speeder as well as creating novel kaleidoscopic colours based on psychedelic freakouts and ambient chill sessions.
Similarly, guitarist/vocalist Wata, drummer/vocalist Atsuo, and bassist/vocalist Takeshi are no strangers to collaboration and opening the rehearsal room door to a variety of hippies, speed freaks, metalheads, and noisemakers. Boris and Merzbow have joined forces many times in the past – at least seven separate occasions going back to at least 2002 – and in order to put a stake in the heart of the worst 365 day period in modern humanity’s collective experience, they have once again engaged in a creative collision. The bio claims that, “This year was a period of trial for everyone in the world. This work becomes a monument to the requiem of the previous era. From here, a new world begins again.” More power to ‘em for pulling a positive from the stanky morass, even if what is supposed to be helping us all look to the skies doesn’t sound in any way shiny, happy, or happy-go-lucky.
In the third and final category, the most difficult listening experience of 2R0I2P0 comes when it appears the two parties weren’t even paying attention to what the other was doing. In parts of “Love” it sounds like computer and junkyard derived noise slapped on top of some form of instrumentation was given song status because an endpoint could be decided upon. A grating hum and buzz distressingly counter the minimalism provided by Boris on “Coma.” However, “Journey” is probably the record’s biggest offender in this category as an unsuccessful marriage of the trio's note-per-minute shimmer and the texture-less glitching electronica from Akita’s hard drive makes it seem like at least two songs are being played at once.
2020, as a year, rat-fucked each and every one of us in some way. And while 2R0I2P0 may not be the front-to-back, brass-knuckled sucker punch response needed to restore order and act as a salve to all of the wounds ripped open, who says doomy noise can’t be a portal to a better place? Let’s hope it’s at least standing guard at the gate.