noise

The Rest Isn’t Noise

Posted on by 5:4 in Academia | 4 Comments

“We like to give you the maximum, from which you can subtract.” Aaron Einbond’s closing words before the first concert at the Noise In And As Music conference, organised by Einbond and Aaron Cassidy, which took place at Huddersfield University’s Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) last weekend. Einbond’s amusing reference to volume (and the audience’s option for ear-plugs) crystallised the essence of the conference’s focus and the host of assumptions one tends to make about it. What, after all, is noise? Does it—should it—connote material that is extremely loud? extremely dense? extremely extreme? The conference’s three days of papers, discussions, installations and concerts went no small way to addressing these fundamental questions.

The range of opinions, methodologies and implementations of what may or may not be ‘noise’ was almost bewilderingly broad and multi-faceted. In keeping with each and every conceit of genre, noise too has its share of charlatans, wannabes and hangers-on, and the weekend occasionally dipped its toe into examples of thought and sound that seemed either to miss the point or just sap all the interest out of it. But such moments were happily rare; not only were the majority of contributions fascinating and very thought-provoking, the best were stunning examples of what noise can be and can do, examples that changed, expanded and even redefined one’s understanding not only of what we were hearing, but of hearing itself; repeatedly and equally, both sound and sensation found themselves under the microscope. Read more

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Mix Tape #28 : Speech

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For the last Mix Tape of 2013, i’ve decided to explore music in which speech is paramount. Within a musical context, spoken words can jar in much the same way as an actor breaking the fourth wall, unsettling us by (ostensibly at least) withholding abstraction in favour of direct reference. The range of pieces included in the mix is more eclectic than usual, drawing on offcuts, afterthoughts and outtakes (Hecq, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Kreng, Aphex Twin), filtered renderings, recreations and re-imaginings of speech (Cabaret Voltaire, Charles Dodge, John Hudak, Gregory Whitehead, Marc Behrens, Jean-Michel Jarre) as well as forms of non-singing (AGF and the peerless William Shatner). But most of the tracks exploit the spoken word through fascinating essays in obscure narrative, by turns sinister (Eugene S. Robinson), prosaic (Jóhann Jóhannsson, Anne-James Chaton), sexual (Andrew Liles), wistful (Steve Peters), intimate (Edward Ka-Spel), surreal (Olga Neuwirth, irr. app. (ext.)), poetic (John Wall/Alex Rodgers), combative (Frank Zappa) and philosophical (Adrian Moore). Read more

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Mix Tape #27 : Drone

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It’s 1 July, so here’s the new mix tape, focussing on the intense genre of drone. Drone music suffers the same kind of malaise as more generalised ambient music—immobility and drift as tacet apologias for a dearth of imagination and subtlety of ideas. But these 21 tracks offer an insight into something altogether more profound, plumbing the depths of immobility and stasis, teasing out faint, furtive tendrils of exotica. They represent a broad sonic palette, in terms of colour, dynamic and texture, incorporating elements from dark ambient and noise as well as more experimental electronics.

In all, two hours of droning wonder; here’s the tracklisting in full:

  • The Missing Ensemble – A Long Walk (from Zeropolis)
  • Access To Arasaka – 7.14 : Daedal (from A Sky Now Starless)
  • Shinobu Nemoto – Trip 10 (from Melting Loop Trip)
  • Deaf Center – Close Forever Watching (from Owl Splinters)
  • Ektoise – The Great Perpendicular Path (from Ektoise)
  • Anduin + Jasper TX – A Beam Of Light Bends Back Upon Itself… (from The Bending Of Light)
  • Decembered – “Только пепел знает…” (стихи И. Бродского) (from Ноктюрн)
  • Peter Wright – …And I Live By The River (from An Angel Fell Where The Kestrels Hover)
  • Herzog – Small Loves (from Small Loves)
  • Carbon Based Lifeforms – System (from TwentyThree)
  • The Hafler Trio – Vi-Parīta [excerpt] (from Exactly As I Am)
  • Leah Buckareff – Hypostasis (from Trinitarian)
  • Asva & Philippe Petit – Sweet Dreams Asshole (from Empires Should Burn…)
  • Organum – Horii [excerpt] (from Horii/Volume Two)
  • Benjamin Dauer – Falling Apart I (from Saturation Event)
  • Jonathan Coleclough – Halant [excerpt] (from Halant / Heat / Beech)
  • Charlemagne Palestine & Janek Schaefer – Fables from a Far Away Future [excerpt] (from Day Of The Demons)
  • Freiband – Haze Shrapnel (Remix) (from Haze Shrapnel)
  • Christopher Hipgrave – Heavy And Pulling You (from Slow, With Pages Of Fluttering Interference)
  • Ekca Liena – Sleep (Minimal) (from Sleep Paralysis (Expansion Tracks))
  • The Beautiful Schizophonic – Bambilány (from Erotikon)

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