Music and Noise

Primary section for noise and noise-adjacent discussion.
Post Reply
ChicagoAnimal
Hard Panning
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2023 3:34 pm

Music and Noise

Post by ChicagoAnimal »

A debate that has long seduced, embroiled, fascinated, plagued, and complicated conversations around noise is - and this can be rephrased to infinity - "is noise music?" My answer, yes. Others could answer - no, it is not. The answer doesn't matter much to me, but one thing should be clear to anyone who even dips their littlest toe into the debate - noise has been incorporating and moving more and more towards "musical" elements and tropes over the past 15 years or so. The increasing historical cultural importance of noise music continues to burrow itself into general tastemaker consciousness. I think it is irresponsible at this point to call yourself an "electronic music" fan without having crossed into the world of extreme noise and highly unlikely anyone listening to or discovering noise in this day and age isn't acquainted a working knowledge of other associated musics and tropes.

What do you all like about "musical" elements included in noise? I have always liked the way that Aaron Dilloway has blended in bizarre, broken melodies. I think Gnawed has some great musical elements. When Sewer Election gets into the folk zone, I am all for it. What is the future of blending noise and music? We can debate if noise is music or not, also, but I think it is interesting to talk about specifics here.

One thing I HATE in noise/industrial/PE - and this was the inspo for this thread idea after talking privately to one of the other main posters on this board - is the tendency to make melodramatic/facile chord progressions in industrial/noise/PE. I am avoiding just naming names for the sake of respecting other's tastes and leaving the discussion develop naturally. However, does anyone find a lot of noise/industrial/PE to have lame, lazy, boring music to the point of caricature?

You'd think that the sonic sensitivity that would motivate them to carefully and intricately tape loop the sound of exquisitely played junk metal and a micro-cassette of a fuzz-scorched field recorded grasshopper wheezing on a leaf would deserve more than 1) Star Wars triumph melodies or 2) S&M Long-Distance relationship breakup chords. For love of god, open a chord book. Where are the jazz chords in noise?
User avatar
Bubble-Congeries
Maniacs Only
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue May 10, 2022 7:49 pm

Re: Music and Noise

Post by Bubble-Congeries »

Edit: Excessive, moronic, drunken rambling.
Please disregard.
adult human
Noise Fanatic
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2022 7:01 am

Re: Music and Noise

Post by adult human »

Yeah, this happens. And I want to agree with it a lot and cite it as a symptom of the low bar for success Noise both suffers and benefits from. YET the more I chew on it, the less I have to say. Is it possible that here and there these bad melodic sensibilities exist just because they're gonna exist anywhere that a music shorn of common melodic judgements takes place? Or maybe in a music where people use synths and fall for very obvious and common improvised stabs at different keys? It might just be that this, like most other shitty tropes in the genre, occur when someone's sense of objective aesthetic judgement is not as powerful as their enjoyment of having replicated a particular effect they've heard somewhere else.

Without dropping some evidence and names (which it completely makes sense not to do when you don't want to pointlessly come off like an arsehole) it's hard to really go in on the details. I'm not sure I could immediately conjure examples of this phenomena besides to mention Prurient and then further allude to the dozens of witless bores who copy him. Vaguer than this still I could say that a lot of very celebrated contemporary industrial that I check out for 30 seconds then have to turn off seems pretty predisposed to pulling out a lot of the same melodic moves as and when it is inclined to melody. But I spend so little time listening to noise/industrial that I don't like that I can't really make any substantive claims that this is a widespread 'problem' that I notice taking place.
User avatar
James Thompson
C20
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2023 3:21 pm
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by James Thompson »

if someone ever wants to get up your ass about if noise is or is not music you can hit em with one of these

Image
User avatar
D345
Maniacs Only
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:00 am
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by D345 »

is music noise? yes! I'm listening to Green Tea - Children of The Wisteria atm and I can hear music. Noise is just music without the things that people normally consider as music. Listen to John Cage
But he was always more concerned with making his guitar sound like a dying horse, more than anything else.

https://ruputapes.wordpress.com/
User avatar
D345
Maniacs Only
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:00 am
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by D345 »

James Thompson wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:10 pm if someone ever wants to get up your ass about if noise is or is not music you can hit em with one of these

Image
this picture made my day
But he was always more concerned with making his guitar sound like a dying horse, more than anything else.

https://ruputapes.wordpress.com/
User avatar
SS1535
I Heart Noise
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:38 pm
Location: SoCal USA!

Re: Music and Noise

Post by SS1535 »

Noise is music when music is defined loosely. Noise is not music when noise is defined specifically.
User avatar
Bubble-Congeries
Maniacs Only
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue May 10, 2022 7:49 pm

Re: Music and Noise

Post by Bubble-Congeries »

I think the burden of proof is on music to prove it isn't noise. Noise simply "is", regardless of context or audience or cultural expectations. I don't consider it music, nor feel the need to justify it as such. But I think I'm still not answering precisely what was mentioned in the OP, sorry!
User avatar
bobMarinelli
Contact Mic
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2023 11:57 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by bobMarinelli »

Noise is music when music is defined loosely. Noise is not music when noise is defined specifically.
This. if you define music as "art made with sound", then yes, noise is music.

but if you define music as say the western twelve tones of A, B, C#, etc, and how they can be arranged to form scales, intervals, keys, chords, chord progressions, etc. then no, noise is not music. it fails to pay attention to any of the rules of pitch, and typically for me, rhythm.
noise has been incorporating and moving more and more towards "musical" elements and tropes over the past 15 years or so.
I've skipped the past 20 or so years, with a few exceptions, so I haven't been exposed to that. I would expect there are a few small grey areas that would work for me, but for the most part, if I can hear a chord progression or bassline I could play on a keyboard, my ears will take that in as a brand of industrial. maybe industrial embraced by the noise community, but the whole drum machine/sequencer thing strikes me as industrial.
What is the future of blending noise and music?
if I didn't fall off the horse, it would have been like this - https://youtu.be/7aDdQI9PvL0?si=8DnHX5Nyy2WR6NO5&t=205. with a noise track treated like an instrument in the mix. and no, I can't sing. still, I wouldn't let that detail derail me, lol.
What do you all like about "musical" elements included in noise?
I'd have to check out the listening you've suggested to get a better idea of what your thoughts are. for me, when I think of adding a musical element to noise, it's more along the lines of "how about I try to put this noise piece into a musical structure? maybe the standard AABA form? or perhaps the pop music form of ABCABCDEnd? ". (I've failed miserably in all those attempts, btw).

Or, maybe "can I create this piece with just a trio of instruments? right synth, left synth, microphone in the middle?" make it easier for the listener to digest, without sucking the lovely harsh chaotic quality from it?

I think it would be adding a musical element to noise to do a digestible polyrhythm (not say 19:11, but more like 4:3 or maybe something a bit more out there) of junk metal, add a sizzle track of electric noise on top and that would be, to me, like drums and singing. musical. but, done in noise.

alright, I''ve started to ramble.
User avatar
SS1535
I Heart Noise
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:38 pm
Location: SoCal USA!

Re: Music and Noise

Post by SS1535 »

I think also that settling on a definitive answer to this question sidesteps the changing nature of noise both in and of itself and as a historical entity. Rock and roll was once "noise," but it has since become expectation.
User avatar
SS1535
I Heart Noise
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:38 pm
Location: SoCal USA!

Re: Music and Noise

Post by SS1535 »

James Thompson wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:10 pm if someone ever wants to get up your ass about if noise is or is not music you can hit em with one of these

Image
This is interesting also, to me, because I have never been able to decide if noise is actually abstract or not. In many ways, it seems much more literal, representationally speaking, that most music. When someone says that a noise composition sounds like people banging pieces of metal together, they can be literally right.

In this way, wouldn't something like classical music be way more abstract?
XXX
C20
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:20 pm
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by XXX »

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... ne.0269597

somewhat related to the topic at hand.
User avatar
James Thompson
C20
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2023 3:21 pm
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by James Thompson »

SS1535 wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:23 pm This is interesting also, to me, because I have never been able to decide if noise is actually abstract or not. In many ways, it seems much more literal, representationally speaking, that most music. When someone says that a noise composition sounds like people banging pieces of metal together, they can be literally right.

In this way, wouldn't something like classical music be way more abstract?
i suppose if we really want to get into the ontological weeds then 'abstract' versus 'representational' really relies more on familiarity and cultural conventions in all mediums than it does on actual attempts to depict reality; we understand a representational painting because we recognise the conventions it's using to represent reality in a 2D, paint-based format, rather than because it's literally the thing, and the same goes for the representation of particular ideas or emotions in music. ceci n'est pas une pipe and all that

at a certain point i try not to get too defensive about my interest in noise music or about what it's trying to do and instead start from the strict dumb guy position of "i think the sounds are neat", because you could spend your whole life trying to explain to someone what something represents and it wouldn't bring you any closer to what most people really get from art: "this speaks to something i recognise and that tickles my brain good"
Bleak Existence
Contact Mic
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2022 7:20 am
Location: Bécancour, QC

Re: Music and Noise

Post by Bleak Existence »

Noise not music.
User avatar
SS1535
I Heart Noise
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:38 pm
Location: SoCal USA!

Re: Music and Noise

Post by SS1535 »

Bleak Existence wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:05 pm Noise not music.
Not music, noise.

Or: Not-music=noise?
Last edited by SS1535 on Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
SS1535
I Heart Noise
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:38 pm
Location: SoCal USA!

Re: Music and Noise

Post by SS1535 »

James Thompson wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:57 pm
SS1535 wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:23 pm This is interesting also, to me, because I have never been able to decide if noise is actually abstract or not. In many ways, it seems much more literal, representationally speaking, that most music. When someone says that a noise composition sounds like people banging pieces of metal together, they can be literally right.

In this way, wouldn't something like classical music be way more abstract?
i suppose if we really want to get into the ontological weeds then 'abstract' versus 'representational' really relies more on familiarity and cultural conventions in all mediums than it does on actual attempts to depict reality; we understand a representational painting because we recognise the conventions it's using to represent reality in a 2D, paint-based format, rather than because it's literally the thing, and the same goes for the representation of particular ideas or emotions in music. ceci n'est pas une pipe and all that

at a certain point i try not to get too defensive about my interest in noise music or about what it's trying to do and instead start from the strict dumb guy position of "i think the sounds are neat", because you could spend your whole life trying to explain to someone what something represents and it wouldn't bring you any closer to what most people really get from art: "this speaks to something i recognise and that tickles my brain good"
Considering that I have Heidegger as my profile pic---of course I am interested in the ontological weeds!

Maybe another way of considering this is asking whether noise, strictly speaking, "represents" at all? I think the argument could also be made that noise is anti-representational, if representation is taken to require certain structures of interpretation in order to produce meaning. If noise is inherently destructive of meaning-producing structures, then it can't represent anything?

But that is different entirely from using the negativity of noise as a means by which something can be represented (or made possible to represent).
User avatar
James Thompson
C20
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2023 3:21 pm
Contact:

Re: Music and Noise

Post by James Thompson »

i guess in a world where noise music as a discrete genre has existed for around 40 years (and, of course, the avant garde that inspired it has been going much longer) then sooner or later we inflict systems of meaning even on to anti-representational art; in the same way that listening to 30mins of harsh noise wall stimulates the brain into finding patterns and shapes in the static, we now have a fairly wide vocabulary and system of classification for noise which seeks to destroy classification

ultimately we're just doing dialectics, here; if 'music' is the thesis, 'noise' is the antithesis, 'noise music' emerged as the synthesis at least 30 years ago now, and now we're doing more of that as noise artists struggle against classification in their own varied way.

i dont think i'm saying anything groundbreaking here really, just fun to walk through it a little
User avatar
Cementimental
C20
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2022 5:19 pm

Re: Music and Noise

Post by Cementimental »

Music is just a very unpopular niche subgenre of Noise which hipsters only pretend they like to look cool
cementimental.bandcamp.com - harsh Noise, rough music and circuit bending since 2000ad
disgustingcathedral.bandcamp.com - Dungeon Noise
isntses.bandcamp.com - Intergalactic noise/music
isntses.etsy.com - Psychogeographic noise synths
User avatar
SS1535
I Heart Noise
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:38 pm
Location: SoCal USA!

Re: Music and Noise

Post by SS1535 »

Cementimental wrote: Thu Feb 15, 2024 12:54 pm Music is just a very unpopular niche subgenre of Noise which hipsters only pretend they like to look cool
I think I like this answer the best.
noisecactus
Contact Mic
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2024 4:30 pm

Re: Music and Noise

Post by noisecactus »

I think about this question now and again sometimes, and for my two cents noise absolutely is music. Considering I listen mainly to harsh noise, I can hear things like variance in pitch, timbre, and textures arranged temporally in a noise track or composition. It might not fit western scales of tonality, or lack strict structural elements like a verse or chorus (I can't hum a Merzbow track no matter how hard I try, and believe me I have tried) but these elements combine (for me at least,) into an overall ontological object that is "music-like." For me, this "music-likeness" that has enough of the... molecular traits of what we consider music (pitch, timbre, a temporal beginning and end) is close enough aesthetically to count as music, thus I consider noise music. However taste is subjective, and other people might remain staunchly unconvinced by my explanation, because their aesthetic sense is more geared toward classical western notions of musicality, and frankly that's fine. I like my radio static loud, so long as I get to listen to it, people can form whatever opinions of me they like.

Now is HNW music? No, absolutely not. (I kid, obviously, I have also thought about this too of late. I think that HNW for me might be considered the endpoint of drone, but I can't really articulate why. There's certain commonality with drone, where the sound is all there is, but unlike drone the focus is not on the sound itself (although maybe if the wall is built with an interesting texture my attention tends to be more focused on that aspect, ) but more the... totality of the sound? It's an unchanging thing that tends to lack those brief molecular components of musicality I sketched out above, so strictly speaking it's not music, but I do enjoy listening to it nevertheless.)

Anyway, just my two cents.
User avatar
prask
Sound Art
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2023 11:39 am

Re: Music and Noise

Post by prask »

jumping into this conversation as I was recently reading William Hutson's 2015 phd disserertation recently where he touched upon Noise through the concept of affect and had to define the genre/phenomenon... He says :
"The simplest way to state my issue is this: Noise Music only resembles contemporary philosophical definitions of noise* because to scholars seemingly unaccustomed to listening to Noise*, the music remains meaningless, excessive, random. However, to those who participate in the culture, the music is not experienced or consumed any differently from other music. Indeed, Noise Music’s potential to overwhelm and shock dissipates very quickly as one becomes familiar with it. The fact that the genre shares its name with the general phenomenon of noise may be a red-herring." (p. 85f)
(*noise = the sound; *Noise = the genre)

He also argues, that in the 90s, the recordings of The Haters and The New Blockaders where meant to be solely performative documentations with JX being quoted as never having intent of doing music and that the new generation "mishearing it" made it so somewhat music.
"[...] noisiness, it seems, was tamed, subsumed into a predictable, codified art practice and underground music field." (p.87)
So the whole idea of non-music went into becoming music as soon as tropes were established and the unpleasant and unfamiliar sound became pleasant by becoming familiar to some.

It definitely takes out a lot of influences from other extreme music genres that made Noise also musical, but I think it is an interesting conclusion on what is musical in Noise as some here have already pointed out.

The whole thesis is a very interesting (academic) read on that topic and the genre itself, I recommend if you haven't:
https://escholarship.org/content/qt8dj8 ... f?t=nvdtbl
Post Reply