Thorsten Marc Soltau has taken some greats photographs and provided a brief review of the Zebra Mu / Magic Toy Balloon: Magnoalchemy Merz Manipulations C30:
“Michael Ridge has sent me kindly a copy of his latest release, limited to a shamelessly reduced amount of 15 copies only- can you believe it (Yes, we do this ranged as well, so I keep my mouth shut).
There is a nod and an excuse to Mr. Schwitters and Mr. Akita, better known under his pseudonym Merzbow. Looking at the cover collage and the imprinted notes you can clearly see the nod over to the noise god and the dadaesk painter and writer, but there is more between the ferrostripes of tape.
Zebra Mu opens up with an extremely tight compression of etheral noise blast, given a short glimpse of dark fetishized synth electronica (only intervalls) which could be lifted from an Prurient track, heading into delay cascades and rough piercing tape manipulations. I’m picky about noise, but you have my attention. There is an evil beauty overall the whole piece and when sonics collabs and fall into debris of various splittered entities of sound you feel a seldom power of extremely well executed arranging- low end rumblings gets marked with short bursting interruptions leading into more ambient-ish noise realms you know from Kevin Drumm for example.
The other side, created, sculpted and crafted by Magic Toy Balloon is more murky, dense and hollow than the former one. There is a slight random dizziness overall the whole piece and some great sampling introductions as well like an anonymously interrupting FM radio. Noise is also the option here, but in a less scratched way than Zebra Mu, but fascinating as well. While the audio is serious in approach, you get a slightly funmaking feeling, a hidden humour in the noisy sheets. Nothing you hear everyday and while the limitation making this to a pretty rare item even when it’s available, this is a very wonderful meeting between two craftmans of sonic extremeties. The artwork itself is simple and effective and the colours add a lighter feeling to the scene’s entire black addiction. Chapeau.”
Unfortunately this release is now sold out!