Hyrrokkin & Merzbow - Faltered Pursuit

SGG is happy to announce the long-in-the-works collaborative LP from the master of Japanese noise Masami Akita and American avant-rock outfit Hyrrokkin. "Faltered Pursuit" is the result of a highly unorthodox writing and recording process that also features contributions from Andrea Parkins, Rob Mazurek, and players known for their work with Fugazi, All-Scars, William Hooker, Rhys Chatham, Gastr del Sol, Monotrope, and more.

Visuals/packaging executed by The Designers Republic.

An exercise in controlled chaos, Hyrrokkin & Merzbow's joint effort
raises the bar once again, pushing the concepts of "collaboration" and "remixing" out
into the stratosphere.

The project stems from Hyrrokkin's 2013 Inspire Rioting album, for which the band
enlisted artists like KK Null (Zeni Geva) and James Plotkin (Khanate) to remix
tracks from its Pristine Origin LP. When they contacted Masami Akita, a.k.a. Merzbow,
to contribute, he instead sent over a pair of his own new recordings and invited
Hyrrokkin to use them as the basis for new compositions – flipping the script on the
typical remix, Merzbow put Hyrrokkin in the cockpit and gave the band the power to
build something new from a Merzbow foundation. Here now, years later, is the final
result: Faltered Pursuit.

The sound of Faltered Pursuit is a glorious, raging onslaught which often overwhelms
like seven free-jazz bands playing simultaneously. Yet, there is deep, hypnotic
satisfaction lurking here. Hyrrokkin guitarist Ed Ricart explains how the album took
shape, and reveals the hidden order behind it:
"Once we had Merzbow's tracks, the process started with a bunch of listening. I wrote
down the time code wherever I saw a good opportunity for us to respond to what he was
doing. I found some key pitches that worked within these various sections I mapped out.
I assigned a numerical value to each of the pitches. I used a random number generator
to output sequences, and we used those sequences to determine the order of the pitches
I'd selected, and made a bunch of different tone rows that way. I made a giant matrix of
these various sequences. I wanted to pay homage to Merzbow's process, giving some
control over to the computer, to allow it to influence my own compositional choices. It
was fun to approach the composition process as sort of a nod to the genesis of electronic
music, serialism, Stockhausen, etc."

In the summer of 2013, the band recorded the basic tracks for Faltered Pursuit in one
afternoon with engineer Bill Skibbe (Protomartyr, Fucked Up, Shellac) at
Key Club Recording in Benton Harbor, MI. Pushing the collaborative spirit of the
project further, the band invited friends from around the country to contribute new
layers to the recording: Jerry Busher (Fugazi, All Scars) tracked additional drums
and percussion; Chuck Bettis (Meta-Matics, All Scars, Mossenek, Snake Union) recorded
vocals and additional electronics; Andrea Parkins, an integral fixture within NYC's
improvised music community and beyond, delivered amplified accordion and
With this part of the project in place, the group then reached out to prolific composer
and cornet player Rob Mazurek to completely reimagine their creation for the B-side
of the record. Working out of his home in Marfa, TX, Mazurek had free rein to rework
the sum total of everything recorded, however he wanted, bringing the entire project full
circle to one final layer of long distance reinterpretation.
"It just seemed outrageous and perfect and somewhat hilarious to put yet another remix
on the B-side of this record," says Ricart.

The final album – which, to recap, consists of Merzbow's recordings, topped by
Hyrrokkin's accompaniments (performed live, but composed in part by computer),
laced with additional contributions from various guest musicians, then put in the hands
of Rob Mazurek for a total "remix" – was mixed by Jason LaFarge (Swans, Nastie
Band) at Seizures Palace in Brooklyn and mastered by James Plotkin (Sunn 0))),
Gnaw). The artwork was created by Ian Anderson/The Designers Republic
(Aphex Twin, Stern, Nine Inch Nails, Autechre).

Faltered Pursuit is an exhilarating example of the possibilities of collaboration, and the
interplay of structure and chaos. It is also Hyrrokkin's swan song. Having shared stages
with Black Flag, Body/Head, Deerhoof, Bill Orcutt, Mick Barr, and many more,
the Yellow Springs, OH band officially ended its run in 2014; the band's spirit lives on in
Ed Ricart's current band, Monotrope, an instrumental, avant-rock quartet
which Burning Ambulance has described with these words: "Don Caballero quickly
jumps to mind... Rodan, Slint, and perhaps even a bit of the Dazzling Killmen...
They continually skirt the boundaries between math rock and those much heavier sonic

1) Spatially Raised, From Seed to Volatility
2) The new economy 'seemed' suddenly to dissipate overnight
3) Let's All Dance in a Rigorous Line (Rob Mazurek remix)