The Formative Years – Cum on, feel the noize
Noise, for the commoner and sane, evokes usually nauseous reactions rather than exhilaration. It is not further wondrous that the strange confronting and deliberately displeasing world of noise music is off-putting to most, however, once one transcends the barrage of sounds and concerns about the on setting tinnitus are alleviated, the effects can include not only tangible physical reactions triggered by sine wave rockets blasting through your nervous system but also a hypnotic and at times ecstatic trance that allows to detect swelling and at times deafening patterns and sensations far beyond of what can be achieved with conventional music.
What attracted me early on about noise music was its hyperbolic fuck-you to all conventions and the way that in the most minimalistic manner, an unrivalled powerful rawness can be achieved that beyond the impact of electronic music I experienced within the confines of techno and house. Needless to say that the protagonists I encountered within of noise were on the more interesting and intriguing spectrum of eccentricity, which only added to the appeal and depth of their emissions.
After an initial infatuation with the shock value and alienating ugliness of the aesthetics of the genre and over-the-top outfits emerging from Japan, it took a bit of guidance to tumble down the rabbit hole of its genesis, e.g. cacophonic, improvised jazz experimentation and musique concrète composers like John Cage and Edgard Varese channelling their alchemy long before acts like Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse and Merzbow or even more mainstream artist’s like Lou Reed dabbled in working on their “metal machine music”.
Understanding more about the processes that drive the approach to noise, unveiled that the textured ever dynamic and self-rearranging atonal nature and production is very different to how e.g. electronic music is composed: Listening to the same noise pieces never produced identical results and it effectively undid controlled listening.
I started to appreciate noise differently, as in a boundless, unregulated sonic canvas I was able to project and add my own inner workings onto, which amplified its effects even further as it made them more personal – both in lighter and darker terms with me as the recipient adding an idiosyncratic, subjective factor that made the experience more than the sum of ifs individual components: It helped me listen beyond the loud, harsh abrasiveness and unveiled that it was much more than noise for noise’s sake, specifically when I started to get into even more formless and subtle white noise. It helped the sometimes direly needed obliteration of consciousness and liberation from thought.
The effects of appreciating and embracing noise ultimately enable me to appreciate a much broader spectrum of music and appreciate it differently and more than that, perceiving e.g. new cities I visit as perpetual dissonant symphonies, with the sounds of Tokyo, NYC, Bangkok and Delhi ranking high on my playlist.