I`m well aware that even within the alternative scene noise, power electronics, death industrial and all such forms of music is quite a nichè interest.
However it is an interest of mine, let me explain why;
Just like punk, noise as a genre had a DIY attitude and little to no requirement for conventional talent. Punk was, in my opinion, still firmly rooted in the rock world and that`s where noise differs greatly.
The onset of noise as a genre was just that, noise, it was a realm where anyone could use anything to express themselves in a (Anti) musical way. Self built “instruments” , found sound/field recordings, heavily processed samples and equally DIY ethic splattered visuals to accompany it all.
Bands such as Einsturzende Neubauten enjoy legend startus these days for their use of power tools as instruments and leaving stages cloaked in an inferno of both sound and actual flames. Noise of course did not necesarilly start with Neubauten but they`re probably one of the most known examples hence why I chose to reference them. Let`s not forget that electronic music equipement as is per today the most common tool within the genre was still in a quite primal state compared to modern times, and yet, incredible things were created from what was available.
These days when scouring for new artists the most common thing you`ll find goes something like this:
Black and white collage work, often heavy use of morbi, macabre imagery, photos from crime scenes, BDSM themes, serial killers and the occasional occult symbols making the album cover
The “music” itself consisting of long, drawn out, distorted and commonly monotonous synth sounds often clocking in at no less than 8-10 minutes long topped with what may be generally considered to be “vulgar” and “offensive” texts yelled/screamed and yet again layered in distortion and reverb effect units.
Back in the 70s and 80s when such acts first popped up they surely had an impact, even if only within the confines of their local scene as this has never been something that really broke through the underground.
Today in 2019 it`s a different story, by now it seems most things have been done to death and then done again and this glaringly obvious when exploring smaller scenes such as this one.
As the title of this article suggests we are here to figure out what happened to the experimental nature of this genre, I could easily extend this into the industrial genre which of course is closely related and in certain, especially earlier examples of the genre the overlap is so big you might not even be able to distinguish the two.
But let`s save my industrial rants for another time and get to the point shall we?
As previously established there are certain similarities between punk and noise and yet they both seem to end up the same place; stagnation, repetition and what I`m tempted to call hypocrisy.
Why is it that these things that constantly spout out something about having no rules are always the ones to end up the biggest victims of conformism?
And yes, I understand and agree with the thought that certain elements must be in place for something to be considered a specific subculture and genre, something that seperates it and makes it exactly that subculture/genre, but does that mean we have to live in the proverbial purgatory?
The droning, monotonous and distortion heavy music with screamed vulgar texts described earlier has come and gone, or rather it came and it just infected everything like a plague, and not the good kind.
These days you can easily make or buy what is known was “noise generators’ where all you have to do is flip a switch and hit record and within 50 minutes you will have your very own noise EP consisting of what is more or less the same 10 minute long song over and over.
To me, having such tools available feels like cheating, this was an experimental genre and such a tool would completely take away any sense of experimentation. Even if you were to create similar sounds using hardware synthesizer at the very least you would get the experience of creating it, sculpting and molding it with your own hands, carefully adjusting the knobs and pushing the keys untill the desired sound is achieved.
Now, these noise generators are at the very least still within the hardware realm, it would of course be much easier and cheaper to just download a pirated version of a DAW and simply load up a VST.
I myself have slowly moved away from softsynths, trying to not rely on my DAW as anything more than a tape recorder. I
m not quite where I want to be just yet but I would say Im making good progress, I also spend several hours a day (and night) crafting my own samples from field recordings, modular synth sessions or whatever I may think of there and then.
ve slowly come to realize I may have a bit of an obsession about realness, I need things to be real, I need to be able to say that I play this and that part of a song by hand or at the very least created the samples used to program it all. Its a blessing and a curse.
It may sound a tad dramatic but at times I feel it
s nearly insulting to the pioneers of these highly experimental genres wether that be noise or industrial, to just take the easy way out, just click around the screen or make the absoloute most basic variety of noise/power electronics and preach some nonsense about how its oh so confrontational, bending ethics and morals and purposelly provoking the “sheep brained masses” by the use of fascist imagery.
re one of those Im sorry (not sorry) to tell you that you`re gonna have to step your game up. Fascism has been done, the world is seemingly chronically engulfed in an inferno of horror and plagues of a million kinds, these tactics are done, played out, absoloutely and completely useless in the face of the true and modern world.
As we crawl towards the end of all this I wantto add that I in no way think anyone is wrong or less-than for liking and genuinly wanting to create that exact form of noise I earlier explained, if that is truly what you enjoy and you get something out of it wether it be listening to it or making it then great! Keep going, keep doing what YOU enjoy and ignore me and aynone else who may feel differently. Individuality is key. Experiment, get weird, oppose logic, set things on fire, do things and create things that your friends and family would shun you for.
I`ll leave a small list of suggestions consisting of releases within the noise genre that I find to be interesting for one reason or another.
Lingua Ignota – Caligula (2019)
Pharmakon – Bestial Burden (2014)
Hide – Hell Is Here (2019)
The Grey Wolves – Exit Strategy (2017)