"Merzbow’s collaboration with French pioneer Richard Pinhas features some of his best music and gleefully amplifies the psychedelic tendencies of both composers." – Luke Schleicher, Laughter

In 2007, guitarist and rock electronics innovator Richard Pinhas performed in Tokyo and then performed a duo concert with notorious 'noise' artist Merzbow. Both men were so excited by the duo concert, they immediately booked studio time to make the recordings that became their first duo release Keio Line. The duo continue to perform together.


Richard Pinhas official website

PARIS 2008

RUNE 329

"...arguably one of the finest works in either artist’s canon; hypnotic like Harmonia and monumental like Mountains. ... 4 stars" – Spencer Grady, Record Collector

" album of ambient soundscapes that prove noise can indeed be beautiful, and that it's possible to dispense with conventional constructs of rhythm, melody and harmony yet still create something both musical and's...quite extraordinary just how appealing it is." – John Kelman, All About Jazz

This concert performance and recording was the duo's first meeting together after Keio Line. It was recorded at Les Instants Chavirés in Paris on November 12, 2008. Even though they had only worked together for a very short time the year before, the duo had already established a recognizable sound with Richard's metronic and spacey guitar figures being worked over by Merzbow's electronic mayhem in a glorious, psychedelic death spiral.

Paris 2008 is a vinyl-only release; the first vinyl released by Cuneiform in over 20 years! There are only 500 copies made and there will not be a repress; this lp edition is the only way to buy this in a physical format. The lp comes with a digital download card for the music and if you buy it from us, your copy will be on beautiful blue vinyl.

Rhizome / Paris 2008 press release

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RUNE 328

"In 1973, a rock guitarist and an electronic knob-twiddler released a revered and trail-blazing document in contemporary ambient music: Rober Fripp and Brian Eno's No Pussyfooting. Thirty-five years later, guitarist Richard Pinhas and noise artist Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) have formed the 21st century version of the concept." – Brandon Wu, Washington City Paper

"A surprising meeting of minds and one of the strongest CDs I've heard in a while." – Musicworks

It's interesting that Brandon Wu compares the work of Richard Pinhas and Merzbow to Fripp and Eno. At the time it was recorded, No Pussyfooting was considered to be practically 'noise' (sound familiar?) and Robert Fripp has gone on record about how the record label didn't want to release the album because it would affect the commmercial impact of these artsts. Yet, with time, the work the duo did was absorbed into the greater musical universe - if not into the mainstream - and its influence continues to this day.

While it's never safe to predict the future, perhaps the unlikely but also quite logical meeting of Richard's billowing clouds of guitarwork with Masami's well considered sonic assault will also prove to be influencial upon the larger musical universe. In any event, this recording from September, 2010, expands upon their first studio meeting, Keio Line and offers an obvious follow-up, as well as new twists to the sound.

The first pressing of Rhizome also includes a number of bonuses not available after the initial pressing and all included at regular single-CD pricing!: a bonus DVD of a generous excerpt of the duo's performance at the 2010 Sonic Circuits festival as well as a download coupon for their performance in Paris, November 12, 2008.

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RUNE 278/279

"...Richard Pinhas consolidates his position as the reigning master of mesmerizing, trance/ambient guitar...." – All Music Guide

"Merzbow is essentially a psychedelic artist, attempting to create shifts in consciousness through extreme sound." – Pitchfork

"This is the sound of rebellion, of chaos, and trashed beauty all rolled into one as a new genesis, forming a new aesthetic from the ruins. Keio Line is one of the most engaging electronic records issued in 2008, and one of the most satisfying albums released by either man. One can only hope that Pinhas continues his resurgence to the public scene, and Akita uses collaborations like this...and musical textures and dynamics more in his own music in the future. [4.5 stars out of 5]" – Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Richard and Merzbow are both among the best-known figures in electronic rock music today. Merzbow is probably the single best-known artist in noise music today. While Richard's work wouldn't be considered to be in the 'noise' arena, many of the artists in the field have expressed great interest in his pioneering use of synthesizers and electronics in rock and contemporary music from the 1970s until the present. Despite coming from very different backgrounds, they had long expressed admiration for each others work. Given all of this, it is probably not surprising that the most important electronic musicians of France and Japan should finally collaborate together! During Richard's second tour of Japan in the fall of 2007, he performed with Merzbow in what Richard called, "an incredible concert". A week later, at the end of this tour, they booked two days in the studio to work together again, this time on a recording. All material was recorded completely live by the two musicians, with extensive work done in the mix and re-mix stage. Keio Line (the name refers to the name of the train Richard and Masami would take from downtown Tokyo to the recording studio) is a two disc set, released at a special price, that is violent, soothing, hypnotic, noisy and trance-inducing. All aboard the Keio Line!

Keio Line press release

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For press and media: cover art and high resolution images are available below for download (click thumbnail, right-click image and select "Save As.."). Please credit the photographer (when available) and "Courtesy of Cuneiform Records". For more information, click here.

Keio Line
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Rhizome / Paris 2008 press release
Rhizome / Paris 2008 press quotes
Keio Line press release
Keio Line press quotes

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