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Noise not Noise

Western Front, March 27, 2010

Kedrick James voice & electronics, Chad MacQuarrie electric guitar, Giorgio Magnanensi fyrall & live electronics

mp3 [Download]

 

noise_not_noise

[INSPIRATION 1]

“European music is based on the artificial sound of the note and the (tone) scale; it opposes the brutal and objective sonority of the world. As a result of an unbreakable convention European music is obliged from the beginning to express a subjectivity. It seems to fight the sonority of the outside world, like a sensitive being resisting the insensitivity of the universe. European civilization (such as it emerged around the year 1000 ) is one of the only civilizations accompanied by a huge and dazzling history of music. This civilization – with its adoration of the suffering of Jesus, its chivalrous love, its cult of the bourgeois family, its patriotic passions – fabricated the sentimental man. Music has played an integral and decisive part in the ongoing process of sentimentalization of man. But it can happen at a certain moment (in the life of a person or of a civilization) that sentimentality (previously considered as a humanizing force, softening the coldness of Reason) becomes unmasked as ‘the superstructure of brutality’.

It was at such a moment that music seemed to me like the deafening noise of the emotions, while the world of noise in Xenakis’ compositions became, for me, beauty; beauty purified of the dirt, purified of sentimental barbary. As a ‘prophet of insensibility’ Joyce could still remain a novelist; Xenakis on the other hand has had to go beyond music. […] Xenakis opposes the whole of the European history of music. His point of departure is elsewhere; not in an artificial sound isolated from nature in order to express a subjectivity, but in an ‘objective’ noise of the world, a sonorous mass which does not gush from the heart, but which approaches us from the outside, like raindrops or the voice of wind.”

Milan Kundera, Prophète de l’Insensibilité, in M. Fleuret (ed.) Regards sur Iannis Xenakis, 1981, Paris.

 

Bello rmx (from the original Bello by Cuoghi & Corsello)

Bello_B_1996

 

[INSPIRATION 2]

Increasing numbers of musicians are creating works which grasp at the transparency of water, seek to track the journeys or telematic nomads, bottle moods and atmospheres, rub out chaos and noise pollution with quiet, concentrate on sonic microcosms, absorb quotations and digital snapshots of sound into themselves, avoid form in favour of impression, concoct synthetic wildnernesses in urban laboratories, explore a restricted sound range or single technological process over long durations, seek to effect physiological change rather than pursue intellectual rigour, or depict impossible, imaginary environments of beauty or terror. David Toop, Ocean of Sound (2001)

And this was the other thing they shared, the sadness and clarity of time, time mourned in the music – how the sound, the shaped vibrations made by hammer striking wire strings made them feel an odd sorrow not for particular things but for time itself, the material feel of a year or an age, the textures of unmeasured time that were lost to them now, and she turned away, looking past her lifted hand into some transparent thing he thought he could call her life. Don DeLillo, Underworld (1997)

Today, music heralds … the establishment of a society of repetition in which nothing will happen anymore … a society in which the informal is mass produced and consumed, in which difference is artificially recreated in the multiplication of semi-identical objects. The only possible challenge to repetitive power takes the route of a breach in social repetition and the control of noisemaking. In more day-to-day political terms, it takes the route of the permanent affirmation of the right to be different … it is the conquest of the right to make noise … that is, the right to compose one’s own life. Jacques Attali, Noise (1977)

I never thought of it as music as such. I thought it made a nice space to think in. Brian Eno

 

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