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2019
Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound
2015
Thinking Like a Mountain
2013
No Compass Will Find Home (Julian Sartorius Drum & Vocal Renditions)
2013
No Compass Will Find Home
2008
Moi Et Mon Camion
2005
Loveheart
1999
Merz
Merz Aug 14, 2019
A solid review in The WIRE for Laraaji : Merz : Shahzad Ismaily - ‘Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound’. Grab the limited double vinyl and digital album online at merzandise ⚫️⚫️ 👇🏾 “Multi-instrumentalists Merz, Laraaji and Shahzad Ismaily come together for a conceptually intriguing first-time collaboration. The music is only semi-seriously self-styled as “industrial-devotional” - a gnarlier treatment of spiritual music or vice versa. The album’s title is suggestive of new age concepts, but there’s welcome grit here too. Based around a common palette of drones and stringed instruments - zither, autoharp, guitar and Persian santoor - each collaborative track conjures a different atmosphere, and a new interpretation of spiritual sound. “Assembly” is cyclical, repetitive and minimalist, like a ritual or incantation. “Rent a New Place, Everything Could Change” is still and spooky, cooing voices joining the chorus of autoharp and gossamer-thin drones, a suggestion of the supernatural. The longest track at just over eight minutes, “That’s Your Blue Home” is also the most varied and propellant. It switches states from a prolonged soothing bed of zither and drone into hyperactive fingerpicking, the low level anxiety amplified with layers of zipping electronic noises. Although Laraaji’s multi-layered zither playing is mesmerizing, “Monastic Cafe” comes across a little corny, with its recordings of chirruping birds and bubbling streams high in the mix at the start. The collaborative tracks are broken up by solo pieces by Merz, which act as experimental interludes between the more polished pieces. The industrial element of industrial-devotional is largely brought by Merz’s guitar, which has a rough quality no matter what style he’s adopting. “Notver” is introspective and meditative, built around loops with a raw physicality. On “Broken Shield”, the guitar tone is erratic and changeable, Merz seemingly fiddling with the pick-up switch mid-phrase. The album was developed from a residency Merz undertook at Dampfzentrale, Bern (also responsible for releasing the record) and these tracks evoke the exploratory spirit of such a happening, although they have a pleasing playfulness they are less satisfying than the collaborative sections - more like quick sketches than worked up pieces. Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound is an interesting proposal and a largely consistent mood piece, perhaps ultimately more devotional than industrial, but no lesser for it.” Claire Biddles, The Wire. Sept 2019 •••••••••••••••••••• #laraaji #merz #shahzadismaily #jedochmanek Dampfzentrale Bern #thewiremagazine #contemporarymusic #dreamsofsleepandwakesofsound #devotionalmusic #industrialmusic
Merz Jul 25, 2019
Solid review from the ‘essential’ Electronic Sound Magazine for the new album from Laraaji : Merz : Shahzad Ismaily ‘Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound’ ⚫️⚫️ Carl Griffin, Electronic Sound July 2019: “Here’s a one-off meeting of complementary yet disparate talents that you really need to hear. Brought together by the perplexingly under-appreciated British songwriter Merz, it marries his searching compositional verve with the ambient soundcraft of new age mystic Laraaji and the effortless, spiritually-charged multi-instrumentalism of Shahzad Ismaily. Together they create an adventurous “industrial-devotional” take on beatless composition to, in Merz’s words, “co-exist in sanctified temples and city urbanism”. Drawing sparingly on synth or bass drone for foundation, each track focuses keenly on the rich palette offered by strings combined; of harp and electric guitar, or zither and indian santoor. Mood and texture fuse beautifully and reach ecstatic levels of beatitude on the Laraaji-led, characteristically buoyant ‘Rent a New Place, Everything Could Change’. And though there are moments when the introduction of urban-industrial counterpoints challenge somewhat, such as on ‘Broken Shield’, this is an otherwise rewardingly singular and cerebral work that impresses hugely.” The double vinyl and digital album available now online at Merzandise 🧡 #laraaji #merz #shahzadismaily #jedochmanek Dampfzentrale Bern #electronicsoundmagazine #contemporarymusic #dreamsofsleepandwakesofsound #devotionalmusic #industrialmusic
Merz Jul 13, 2019
Merz Jun 27, 2019
Hoodoo in Yucca Valley, California, the first record store in the world to stock Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound the new double vinyl album from Laraaji : Merz : Shahzad Ismaily. OUT TOMORROW!
Merz Jun 22, 2019
Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound is The Guardian newspaper’s Contemporary Music Album of the Month. This new album from Laraaji : Merz : Shahzad Ismaily is released 28 June! Preorder the double vinyl and download on merzandise ⚫️⚫️ Link to the review in comments • .................................................. Guardian 21st June 2019, by John Lewis : “The starting point for this transatlantic project was an idle thought from the British outsider artist Conrad Lambert, AKA Merz. He semi-seriously conjured up the mythic genre of “industrial-devotional”, one that combined spiritual music with the relentless grind of industry. When appointed artist in residence at the Dampfzentrale arts centre in Bern, Switzerland, Merz decided to explore this idea for a live show, drafting in the Pakistani-American musician Shahzad Ismaily, an old sidekick of his, and Laraaji, the mystic busker, laughter therapist and pioneer of ambient music from New York. Both provide a twist on the “devotional” side of this equation, accompanying Merz across nine meditative tone poems. The album unfolds like a film soundtrack, complete with dramatic drones and suspended chords that take an age to resolve. The central tension is between Merz’s guitar (a rough assemblage of Duane Eddy twangs and Black Sabbath growls) and Laraaji’s “cosmic zither” (an electrified autoharp which he bows, plucks and strums). It is a sonic battle between the profane and sacred, between industrial squalor and holy minimalism. Playing in between the gaps is Ismaily, on an assortment of other instruments, which often blur into each other to create a seamless mesh of sounds. Chinese guzhengs and Persian santoors sound like manipulated autoharps or detuned guitars; the drones and bell-like effects could come from Moog synths, bowed cymbals or even from the rubbed rim of a wine glass. On tracks such as the feedback-heavy Broken Shield (which sounds like an electric guitar being ritually tortured) or Cima Dome (where some pretty zither playing is overwhelmed by a terrifying buzzsaw synth drone) it sounds as if Merz’s discordant industrial dystopia is starting to assert itself. But Laraaji’s joyous, blissful autoharp flourishes win over in the end, as if to suggest that a spiritual utopia is possible – celestial joy to cleanse us from industrial grime.” Laraaji #shahzadismaily #jedochmanek Dampfzentrale Bern Guardian music #contemporarymusic #dreamsofsleepandwakesofsound #devotionalmusic #industrialmusic
Merz Jun 14, 2019
Pre-save the new Laraaji : Merz : Shahzad Ismaily album 'Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound' on Spotify. Released 28 June! Click : 👇🏾
Merz Jun 09, 2019
The Vinyl Factory gives the lo-down on the new Laraaji : Merz : Shahzad Ismaily album 'Dreams of Sleep and Wakes of Sound'. Out 28th June on double vinyl and download. Preorder at merzandise ⚫️⚫️
Merz Jun 01, 2019
Artwork by Jed Ochmanek Graphic design by Maison Standard
Merz Jun 01, 2019
Merz Jun 01, 2019
NEW MERZ ALBUM WITH LARAAJI & SHAHZAD ISMAILY ‘DREAMS OF SLEEP AND WAKES OF SOUND’ OUT 28th JUNE ON DOUBLE VINYL AND DIGITAL Preorder now at merzandise First track with video by Jed Ochmanek premiered on self-titled mag 👇🏾 #Laraaji #shahzadismaily
Merz Apr 24, 2019
Victoria Williams and band (Merz & Max Maximillion) are delighted to be playing at Big Thief’s album release show at The Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, 2nd May 🙏🏼 KCRW 4AD
Merz Apr 19, 2019
Me and Max Maximillion will be the Victoria Williams band when Victoria Williams plays this Saturday at Hi Desert Hukilau Music Festival at The Palms, Wonder Valley, California. A stacked bill of Hi Desert dwelling bands and musicians. If you haven’t seen Victoria perform of late you’re missing something special. Stoked to be playing music with her 🌴
Merz Mar 29, 2019
I’m so psyched to have sung a duet with Arto Lindsay, a musical inspiration, on this ‘extraordinary album for extraordinary times’ - The Matthew Herbert Big Band - The State Between Us. RELEASED TODAY! “”Initially a response to the triggering of Article 50 in 2016, The State Between Us reflects upon the last two years of British politics and contemplates what it means to be British in 2019. The album was made in collaboration with over a thousand musicians and singers from across the EU over a two-year period with notable contributors such as Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, Arto Lindsay, Merz, Patrick Clarke, and highly respected solo instrumentalists Enrico Rava, Byron Wallen, Sheila Maurice Gray.”” 🌍⚖️ The duet me and Arto sing is called ‘The Special Relationship’ and is based on the 2006 play ‘Drunk Enough To Say I Love You’ by Caryl Churchill which addresses the application of power by the United States and the UK’s role in that relationship - in the duet I’m representing Britain, Arto the US, lover’s lives breaking apart 💔🖤 I’m now a Green Card holding US immigrant though I still have my UK passport. From this distance I just know that everything’s going to be alright. Big love to my English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish family. One Planet One Country 🌍 Thanks Matthew for undertaking this work and for inviting me to be a part ✌🏾 This clip the Big Band and Choir rehearsing ‘Women of England’ for tonight’s performance at The Royal Court Theatre, London. Wish I could be there.......🌍⚖️
Merz Mar 11, 2019
This live version of The Hunting Owl song performed by the Julian Sartorius Drum Ensemble just got released on a v. nice vinyl compilation by Nutriot Recordings 🌑 I loved playing with these guys, incredible drummers, each one significantly different in style and personality. Julian’s brilliant arrangements way ahead of the curve. We played 10 or so shows together around 2014. Link for Nutriot record in comments 👇🏾 Link to original version of The Hunting Owl (produced by Matthew Herbert) in comments 👇🏿 Drummers L-R : Lionel Friedli, Arno Troxler, Julian Sartorius, Peter Conradin Zumthor
Merz Mar 06, 2019
October 25th will be twenty years since the debut Merz album was released. Should we do something to celebrate? London? Water Rats? 🎈🎂🏋🏽‍♀️ 1999 Soho pics taken by Johnny Richards who, with Kam Tang, did the enduringly great design for the album and 3 singles
Merz Feb 07, 2019
25 Feb at Zebulon Café Concert Los Angeles Merz will be performing with Lucky Baby Daddy at this night curated by Paz Lenchantin of Pixies along with David Pajo (Papa M), Ian Svenonius (Escape-ism), Paz performing a live soundtrack for The Shadow Klick Nightshade, plus DJ Vashti Windish 🎪 Lucky Baby Daddy will be performing some songs and poems she and Merz have been collaborating on. Will be a special gathering for sure⚡️👁
Merz Feb 02, 2019
Merz & Victoria Williams are performing new music as a duo at High Desert Soundings festival in Wonder Valley, California 10-11 May.👇🏾More info👇🏾 “Victoria Williams (USA) and Merz (UK) are neighbours in Joshua Tree, California. Both charting songwriters-turned-musical explorers who coincidentally play the Chinese guzheng harp. In recent years both musicians have been experimenting with the instrument’s sonic possibilities, while integrating it into their singer-songwriter fare. High Desert Soundings festival is an ideal setting to debut the musical meeting of these two trans-Atlantic innovators. They will perform a set of vocal duets and instrumental compositions with two guzheng harps, acoustic and processed electric guitars.” .……….................... “High Desert Soundings is a two-day outdoor music festival near Joshua Tree National Park in the California High-Desert. The festival is held at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley, a homesteading frontier community sprawled across 180 square miles. The Palms is the only restaurant in Wonder Valley and the primary meeting place for the diverse group of artists, free spirits and isolationists who make up the valley's tiny population. Wonder Valley's natural beauty and remarkable quiet set the stage for unique and immersive performances”.
Merz Jan 22, 2019
Out Feb an exclusive live version of The Hunting Owl by Merz feat. Sartorius Drum Ensemble, included on this vinyl compilation from Nutriot; also includes our friend Dim Grimm who in 2014 created a magnificent Dimlite remix of The Hunting Owl // #Repost @nutriot ・・・ here‘s another teaser for our forthcoming compilation «for the colleagues of ubu & and their authorities». in this short clip you hear music from the reboot joy confession, merz feat. julian sartorius drum ensemble, tujiko noriko, and oceaneer. the record is now available for pre-order on our bandcamp and selected record stores. • #vinylonly #music #nutriot #alternativemusic #electronica #avantgardemusic #postrock #folk #modularmusic
Merz Jan 16, 2019
Merz and Arto Lindsay sing a duet on the new Matthew Herbert Big Band album ‘The State Between Us’. Released 29th March. Check out the story of this epic recording project👇🏽
Merz Aug 06, 2018
Tonight in LA 🖤 Zebulon Café Concert, with a great band in a great venue 👌 “The first night of The Renderers month of Mondays residency at Zebulon Café Concert, LA. First guest playing the opening set is English psych-folk musician Merz”
Merz Aug 04, 2018
✌🏽6 Aug!✌🏾 “The first night of The Renderers month of Mondays residency at Zebulon Café Concert, LA. First guest playing the opening set is English psych-folk musician Merz.......🔜 You never know if you’re going to get a ghostly folk song, a free form freak out, or a psychedelic hammering; The Renderers have been doing what they do for as long as Wilco. Washington Post, Elizabeth Nelson: “Part Velvets, part Mekons, part unalloyed, indescribabley weirdness.” “Deep, dark and psychedelic” Thurston Moore. Magnet Magazine (The best of 2016, Essential Music), William Meyer: In The Sodium Light, 2016. “equal parts apocalypse and dread”…“They invite you right inside the emotional engine room, giving an opportunity to witness their raga-psychedelic psychosis up close. Bonnie Prince Billy, 2011: “Collaborating with the Renderers was a rich and rewarding venture from which I continue to reap benefits of inspiration.” New Zealand psychedelic folk group The Renderers have released nine albums on labels from both New Zealand (Flying Nun, Tinsel Ears) and the US (Ba Da Bing, Grapefruit, Meds, Siltbreeze, Last Visible Dog, Ajax Records, 3 Beads of Sweat and Merge,) and have played extensively in both countries. The Renderers feature legendary guitarist and songwriter Brian Crook and his wife, songwriter and artist Maryrose Crook, joined in LA by Dan Anderson on drums and Spencer Keizer on bass. UK’s Merz (real name Conrad Lambert) has released five albums since his eponymous debut. After huge hype and a major label release in 1999, he walked away from the deal and disappeared completely. Returning from self-imposed exile in 2005, he released second album Loveheart on UK indie label Gronland, a work that won him renewed respect, then in 2008 scaled the iTunes charts in the USA with follow-up album Moi et Mon Camion, solidifying his reputation for heartfelt tunes, intricate production and enigmatic displays of multi-instrumental talent. His fourth album, No Compass Will Find Home, was recorded in the Swiss Alps and produced with electronic music pioneer Matthew Herbert. A progressive, wild and ragged record with a unique kind of psychedelia, it was released on Accidental Records in January 2013 and subsequently gave birth to a follow up collaboration; No Compass Will Find Home (Julian Sartorius Drum and Vocal Renditions), a radical re-working of the original record by experimental drummer Julian Sartorius, released by Accidental Records and Everest Records in November 2013. In 2015 Accidental Records released the fifth Merz album Thinking Like A Mountain, mixed by Matthew Herbert and featuring notable musicians Shahzad Ismaily, Julian Sartorius, Dimlite, Gyda Valtysdottir and Ewan Pearson. Mojo Magazine called it “Merz’s brave new beginning”. The Ransom Note wrote “Merz has now reached a stage where he is a master of his art”
Merz Jul 31, 2018
Props from the great Jim White. Thanks Jim🌪
Merz Jul 27, 2018
MERZ in the Mojave Desert, California 🧡 ✌🏽posting on Instagram✌🏽 🧡 :::::::::: Follow @MERZgram :::::::::::::::::
Merz Jun 12, 2018
Tune in to London’s Resonance FM Colour8 Washout show to catch Merz talking about his collaboration with Laraaji, playing a mix of nomadic music he recorded in the Kalahari Desert in 1988 and debuting a brand new Merz track - 8pm 🇬🇧 time
Merz Jun 05, 2018
A MONASTIC GIG with Laraaji & Merz, 13 June, Dampfzentrale Bern : 🌞🌤☀️ Sense the possibilities listening to this "Laraaji/Merz/Laraaji/Merz/Laraaji PLAYLIST 🌱🌱❤️