Merzbow is the name used by Japanese musician Masami Akita (born 1956) for most of his experimental noise records. He has released an extensive catalog of CDs, LPs and cassettes since the early 1980s, and is seen as one of the most important noise musicians working today.
He was born in Tokyo. He listened to psychedelic music, progressive rock and later free jazz in his youth all of which seem to have left their mark on his music; his album Aqua Necromancer, for instance, samples progressive rock drum lines, while Doors Open At 8am samples free jazz.
He went to Tamagawa University to study art, and it was while there that he learnt about Kurt Schwitters' concept of Merzbau - art made from other people's rubbish. It was this concept which gave him his pseudonym.
His earliest music was made with tape loops, and has been compared to Throbbing Gristle. He released his music on cassettes through his own record label, Lowest Music & Arts, which was founded in 1979. In the early 1980s, he founded a second label, ZSF Produkt. Since then, he has released records on a large number of labels, including Mego and Tzadik.
He later began to use more electronic instruments and electric guitars, but his music remained to be mainly made up of what most people would think of as "noise". In the past few years, Merzbow has begun to use digital technology more in his music, and at a live performance these days, it is normal for him to produce all his music with a single laptop computer.
In 2000, the Extreme record label released Merzbox, a 50 CD set of Merzbow records, 20 of them not previously released. The set also included badges, postcards, posters and various other Merzbow collectibles.