10 May 2007

Noise. The Rumbling of Being

At least from Schönberg on, there has always been a certain fascination for atonality in music (in the sixties further explored in the field of free jazz, and from the late seventies on in electronic and rock music by bands as Throbbing Gristle). Noise-music explicitly injects this fascination into a blend of diverse musical styles, essentially as an attempt to do away with the traditional boundaries of musical sense. It aspires to create time and time again a new, free language of musical expression. Of course, it’s rather contradictory to turn it into a new genre. But this has never been an attempt. The generally conservative attitude of 90% of all musicians has created the impression of a separate niche. The musical focus is often on dissonance, subtle tensions and violent outbursts, but also this cannot be made into a rule. What typifies noise-artists is their willingness to embrace new idioms and techniques which defy classical distinctions. The music itself can vary from cerebral to wildly chaotic, from hypnotic to aggressive.
Added you find a rare collaboration between Anthony Braxton and Wolf Eyes. Wolf Eyes are today one of the most popular noise bands (popular here doesn’t mean accessible). Their roots are in the hardcore-industrial rock, but they soon started to deconstruct the traditional rock approach, using self-made instruments, tape-manipulations and effect-pedals (often for other purposes then the traditional guitar-distortion). Anthony Braxton is a legendary figure in the world of avant-garde and free jazz. He has been called ‘the last bona fide genius of jazz music’, especially because of his attempt to combine a more traditional jazz approach with the practices and composing techniques of non-jazz artists as John Cage and Stockhausen. Being often reproached of not being a truly jazz-musician and for being too cerebral and abstract, Braxton actually proves to be a truly open-minded artist. (A man in his sixties, professor and jazz legend, playing with these young, brutal dogs might for some in the elitist jazz-world indeed cause a little shock.)
Wolf Eyes & Anthony Braxton - Rationed Rot (mp3) (from Black Vomit, a live recording at Victoriafest 2005)

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