Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Primary noise discussion.
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Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Scream & Writhe »

I know it can be a basic question, but I think there is still some value in asking how people found their way to noise. I'm also thinking about how certain circumstances can play into it.

Similar to what Grant Richardson was saying when interviewed in the latest WCN podcast episode, it was through Man Is the Bastard / Bastard Noise (via punk/metal, power violence, etc) that I first became aware of noise as a genre. Exploring the vast BN discography lead to me discovering, at least in name, Pain Jerk, Guilty Connector, Government Alpha, Outermost, Merzbow, MSBR, Grunt, Bizarre Uproar, T.E.F., Spastic Colon, Hermit, Gerritt, The Gerogerigegege, John Wiese... It's a bit mind blowing to think how much one act can be such a seminal gateway. Still, these acts all seemed "out there" to me and I didn't really start to get a real sense of noise as a genre until a bit later when I was exposed to The Rita (via The Endless Blockade) and then that began to snowball thanks to it being a very active time for Phage, the tail-end of SNSE, Groundfault and the California 10LP box, Troniks/Maniacs Only boards, doing trades with RRRon, some great early issues of Special Interests, etc. and of course ALAP. Still, it all essentially stemmed from punk and I wonder how common it is that genres other than punk/metal are gateways?

Writing this I'm also seeing how I came to the genre at a certain high point. I wonder if I would have gone as deep into it if I had come to it during a period of decreased activity, where things would have continued to seem relatively obscure, as opposed to being exposed to a very active "scene" at the time. I think the answer would still be yes, given my proximity to what was going on in Vancouver at the time (The Rita, Rusalka, Taskmaster, Vancouver Noise Fest- which I would later be involved with, etc), but if I had lived elsewhere?

We've been riding the wave of another high point for a couple years now, and with it has come a burst of activity from a lot of new faces (and much of it is great). It felt like there was just something "in the air" and everyone just sort of got a sense to rekindle a flame, which seemed to coincide with a new "generation" of people being interested in things. Are these people finding noise as a result of its high, or does their involvement somehow spike it? I'm not sure if it's really one or the other- it has to be both, but what dictates the cycle?
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by SS1535 »

For me, it was through the combination of extreme metal and taking lecture courses on modern art (both of which I was becoming interested in at about the same time). I had heard of noise a while before I ever listened to it due to skimming through articles about extreme music online and browsing webstores that stocked both noise and metal. The real breakthrough for me, though, came when I learned about Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes. I loved their sound, and therefore tried to find as many of their releases as possible. Their split with XE was the first noise/industrial/p.e. release that I obtained. From there it was straight to exploring F&V (still a huge favorite of mine). Another thing that pushed me further into noise proper were the sales Troniks was putting on a little while ago. While I unfortunately only took advantage of it once, getting 10 high quality noise cds by a variety of great artists for only $20 was awesome.

Since then, it has been digging and more digging...
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by MaldororEstMort »

I came to it from being a huge fan of stuff like Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Wax Trax style Industrial. So I was curious about the roots of Industrial and I found out about TG, SPK, the Cabs, etc. but finding out about Whitehouse opened up a whole new world to me (this was the late 90s btw) I didn't start fully exploring Noise until 2018 I think.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Capers »

In my mid teens in the late 1990's I stumbled upon some samples of Merzbow and other big names when browsing for other music in the computer room at school. The quality of samples (WAV and maybe mp3) must have been dismal back then, but I probably didn't notice. I didn't really fall for the sounds anyway. I think my older brother, a free jazz buff, might have introduced me to some of it as well, but to no avail.

But in 2006 I moved to a semi-large city (Jönköping, Sweden) where a punk venue hosted shows very frequently. Once in a while it was noise/industrial night. The guy who ran the place, Läpp-Janne (who's label PAS83 co-released Crumer's Burning In Hell LP together with HHR), kept these night separate, so there were no exciting mix of punk and noise in the same line-up, but the crowd was pretty much the same whoever/whatever was on stage for the evening. Anyway... That's where I saw my first noise shows, and to see how the sounds were made was an ear-opener. Those shows were quite a few. Memory has faded since, but I remember seeing Ochu, Treriksröset and a whole bunch of acts who's releases I probably have by now, but which I simply just watched back then without even asking who was playing. In a box from Kristian Olsson I got last year was a wrinkled old flyer from one of the shows in Jönköping, which really sent me back.That venue was also where I picked up my first noise releases: Paranoid Time - Pregnant Nun, TRR&SE - Killing For Germany, a bunch of early Mania stuff, Squamata, The Rita tapes etc.

The venue was taken over by some other guys in 2008/09 though, and the noise shows ceased and I lost touch with what was coming out. The Utmarken/Nattmaran scene was flourishing in Gothenburg by then, but the distance and my lack of money (I had NO income 2008-2010, as in not even welfare) held me back from taking part in that. My dear friend Marcus/Peoples Person's non-ceased enthusiasm gradually wore off on me though and thanks to him it seems I'm stuck for life. Then the Röset festival started in 2012, lasted for five years, and during those years I started recording myself more properly. Also, me moving to Gothenburg in 2014 certainly helped keep my interest.

I love the scene as it is now. So much young blood raising the bar both technically and conceptually. I might nag about digital releases and that whole thing, and while I do think it does degrade the noise itself, it might just be that it degrades it for me only, and if that's how some poeple feel like doing it, well, no ones forcing me... I mean there's still so damn much for me to be happy about. After 16 years in noise, to be surprised by some young loon like Robert Fuchs or floored yet again by the two old men in Testicle Hazard... Good times for noise!
Last edited by Capers on Sat Mar 05, 2022 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by housepig »

similar, from multiple ways in - hardcore punk to MITB to Bastard Noise; death metal / grindcore to Relapse Records to Release to Merzbow, Namanax, "Japanese-American Noise Treaty", "Release Your Mind", etc; Ministry to Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire & SPK; but also as I realized a few years ago, Jimi Hendrix was a gateway very early for me, in his use of feedback, tape manipulation, backwards recordings, phasing and pushing "rock guitar" to the outer sonic limits. Also having a friend that was hipping me to krautrock in the early 90's, so Can and Faust particularly got me more open to appreciate more abstract sound and seeing connections to the Relapse-centered stuff.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by housepig »

Scream & Writhe wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:14 am
Writing this I'm also seeing how I came to the genre at a certain high point. I wonder if I would have gone as deep into it if I had come to it during a period of decreased activity, where things would have continued to seem relatively obscure, as opposed to being exposed to a very active "scene" at the time. I think the answer would still be yes, given my proximity to what was going on in Vancouver at the time (The Rita, Rusalka, Taskmaster, Vancouver Noise Fest- which I would later be involved with, etc), but if I had lived elsewhere?

We've been riding the wave of another high point for a couple years now, and with it has come a burst of activity from a lot of new faces (and much of it is great). It felt like there was just something "in the air" and everyone just sort of got a sense to rekindle a flame, which seemed to coincide with a new "generation" of people being interested in things. Are these people finding noise as a result of its high, or does their involvement somehow spike it? I'm not sure if it's really one or the other- it has to be both, but what dictates the cycle?
I think the advent of downloads, streaming and YouTube over the last decade or two plays into this and levels the field - there's so much instant access and curation available to someone getting into any genre now. versus looking at a record in a store, browsing a catalog or reading a review in a zine somewhere and wondering what something sounds like, and then taking a chance and sending money through the mail, waiting for something to show up weeks later before you can actually put it in your tape deck or cd player and find out if you picked a winner. Just being able to take a device out of your pocket and play something for someone is a game changer. People can (and will) argue about that access and immediacy devaluing the art and fetishize obscurism and having to "work for it", but I think that wider access for a greater audience is a good thing.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by chryptusrecords »

i was in some very obnoxious punk bands in high school in cleveland, ohio, I know I saw Skin Graft and Plague Mother and Shrive and like maybe lockweld?? at now that's class over the years (circa '05-'10). but I don't remember what my reaction to it was at the time. shortly thereafter though I got into the japanese stuff by way of les rallizes denudes, then keiji haino, then hijokaidan. mostly thru blogs and troniks forum as i moved to wisconsin for school and there weren't any noise people or record stores there.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by holy ghost »

I have a very similar trajectory to a lot of people here - punk/metal as a teen to powerviolence in 96-ish to MITB/Bastard Noise which let to a lot of things - MITB/BN was hyping free jazz and prog as much as noise which I definitely took a cue from. It was also the accessibility of Relapse Records (I distinctly remember placing orders with my moms credit card over the fucking phone (“yeah hold on she’s over here - I’ll get to approve this”) and then to the great blogspot/mediafire boom of the early 2000’s allowed you to check out everything and anything. I was not really going to a ton of shows from say…. 2003 - 2013 and I very rarely had a Facebook to keep track of stuff so at that time my music consumption was a lot of buying records and listening to shit online….

The other two I think that we’re hugely important to me were Aquarius Records and Mimaroglu - the stuff they would hype and then subsequently recommended other stuff was huge. I can say for certain Aquarius is where I heard about Amon Duul II and a ton of other really important records for me. I think I probably hit those sites every day in the 2000’s for suggestions.

Mimaroglu was huge too, I’m certain that’s where I ordered Incapacitants, Hijokaidan Kevin Drumm and Lasse Marhaug CDs from just based on their descriptions.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by adult human »

There were lots of ways in sonically - a base layer of being really into extreme metal but also lots of interest in IDM, digital hardcore, Neubauten (later period!), Beefheart, VU, The Residents and a general appreciation for eclectic, unusual music. At no point upon discovering some mind altering, hitherto unknown to me way of making music did I ever think 'what the fuck?!' but rather I used to think 'of course it makes sense that there would be music like this'.

It was really by the time I had learned a bit of the parlance around this stuff that I began to perceive it for what it really is. Knowing about Merzbow or Bastard Noise was one thing and learning about some particular labels that put their stuff out was another, but even just discovering the term 'harsh noise' led to all manner of early online discoveries which introduced me to the noise scene properly. The Harsh Noise label (obviously) and noisemp3.com being the first big crash course in all that stuff - finding out about Sickness, Skin Crime, Emil Beaulieau and so many more for the first time and seeing that this noise stuff clearly existed as a dedicated thing unto itself and not just what a couple of people in Japan did. After that, applying those terms to the UK and following links, leading to Turgid Animal and Freenoise, and of course more widely speaking, the Troniks board eventually. It seems like such a simple thing but having a way to describe this stuff other than just 'noise' by the search engine standards of those days was a really practical means of cracking directly into the subculture.

It was an cool time to be checking things out in the UK too because there was loads of very DIY, experimental stuff going on which had clear connections to the more rock oriented (but stuff very unpopular and weird) under ground music I was a bit more used to. I started to notice that a lot of these oddballs doing 4 min sets with a table of pedals I was discovering were appearing on flyers with noise rock bands I was already aware of, sometimes to the extent that I'm not sure how I didn't encounter it all a bit earlier.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

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holy ghost wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:23 pm The other two I think that we’re hugely important to me were Aquarius Records and Mimaroglu - the stuff they would hype and then subsequently recommended other stuff was huge.
oh man, I ordered so many things based on their weekly mailing list descriptions from Aquarius.
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Post by Namahs »

In high school my friend told me about noise but I didnt care for the idea back then.
Years go and I started to listen more and more grindcore from where by Cut To Fit(/singer Junkyard Shaman) I started to findout more about noise bands he was posting on social media and also noise projects that he was doing.
From there I started to dig more into the scene and here we are.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Residual / RT »

housepig wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:37 pm
holy ghost wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:23 pm The other two I think that we’re hugely important to me were Aquarius Records and Mimaroglu - the stuff they would hype and then subsequently recommended other stuff was huge.
oh man, I ordered so many things based on their weekly mailing list descriptions from Aquarius.
Yeah,this. Noise rock (boredoms, eyehategod etc.) was my gateway in the early 2000s, but also the weird psychedelia of not not fun and noise-adjacent experimental artists like fennesz, found thru aQ records were my gateway. Followed closely by japanoise/wolf eyes/hair police/Hanson records and then everything I could get my hands on.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

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housepig wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:37 pm
holy ghost wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:23 pm The other two I think that we’re hugely important to me were Aquarius Records and Mimaroglu - the stuff they would hype and then subsequently recommended other stuff was huge.
oh man, I ordered so many things based on their weekly mailing list descriptions from Aquarius.
VERY recently - like last year - I was in a record store and the owner who knows my tastes well is like “hey listen, I don’t want to pressure you but I just priced this and I think you should buy it” - turns out it’s an LP from a band I’d never heard of called Warhammer 48k who play the craziest noise/sludge rock, on the cover is a quote from Andee!! He slapped a $10 price tag on it, I bought it and it was the best blind but I made all year! The Aquarius lives on forever….
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Residual / RT »

holy ghost wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 3:02 pm
housepig wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:37 pm
holy ghost wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:23 pm The other two I think that we’re hugely important to me were Aquarius Records and Mimaroglu - the stuff they would hype and then subsequently recommended other stuff was huge.
oh man, I ordered so many things based on their weekly mailing list descriptions from Aquarius.
VERY recently - like last year - I was in a record store and the owner who knows my tastes well is like “hey listen, I don’t want to pressure you but I just priced this and I think you should buy it” - turns out it’s an LP from a band I’d never heard of called Warhammer 48k who play the craziest noise/sludge rock, on the cover is a quote from Andee!! He slapped a $10 price tag on it, I bought it and it was the best blind but I made all year! The Aquarius lives on forever….
I remember that band. do you guys remember Goliath bird eater?
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by XXX »

went to armageddon records in providence after a friend told me that "if you like lightning bolt check out whitehouse." in hind sight he was obviously fucking with me, but i purchased total sex, great white death, cruise, birdseed & aesthetics 2006(which had only just come out to give a time frame). haven't looked back since.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by holy ghost »

I think what’s interesting is that for those of us who got into it through hardcore punk (also while I’m thinking about it Suppression and Gasp were so huge for this as well as MITB) noise has always been on the periphery - at no point have I ever been exclusively “a noise guy” where that’s my main thing because I have too many crazy musical interests but it’s usually something that connects most of my friends/acquaintances (but I don’t think I have any friendships based around say, prog rock where Genesis or Yes is a connecting factor).
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housepig wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 11:45 am death metal / grindcore to Relapse Records to Release to Merzbow
This exactly. A mix of Contaminated 3.0 advertising some noise releases, Metal Maniacs having a couple of ads for "Pulse Demon". The record store I frequented didn't have a copy of that album, but they had "Animal Magnetism". Picked it up and that was a game changer. Then playing shows with my old band at a house that Griefer played at, and Ron kinda talking to my friends and I about noise, then into attending Noise Fest. Noise always made more sense to me coming from metal because it seemed a logical extension of extremity.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

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MaldororEstMort wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 11:21 am I came to it from being a huge fan of stuff like Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Wax Trax style Industrial. So I was curious about the roots of Industrial and I found out about TG, SPK, the Cabs, etc.
Similar to my story, though for me it was in the mid-late 2000s. I was definitely exploring noise as an extension of industrial music before I had much interest in metal or punk. I think my first real noise show was Griefer and D/A A/D in 2009.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by PeterJWoods »

I wrote a chapter of my dissertation about this (sort of... it tracks how people went from first discovering noise all the way to being performers themselves), so its been fun to read all of these stories too!

Two big moments that got me involved:

-Played a one day noise fest called the Great Milwaukee Ear Fuck. Though my slightly more dissonant and way less interesting Radiohead-ish knock off band would fit the bill. We didn't. But I got to see a pre-Climax Denial Alex Kmet play a set featuring a bunch of people destroying a washing machine with baseball bats. So I got hooked as a fan and started living on Troniks.

-Maybe a year later, I saw the famed 2004 Emil Beaulieau/Prurient/Crank Sturgeon tour and decided I needed to start making noise myself. And now here we are.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by raato »

hardcore punk -> powerviolence and grindcore -> noisecore -> noise was the route for me. of course i knew something about noise beforehand, i've been interested in experimental and "weird" music even before i dived head-on into punk stuff and fell in love with the subculture (especially since the scene in finland is relatively small and punks, metalheads and noise folk are often the same people). but yeah noise never really clicked before being exposed to the underground diy scene.

edit. secret abuse's "the imeeasyrable gift" was the first noise album that made me "understand" what noise is about. just wanted to add that in.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Greg »

Skinny Puppy to Bomb20/DHR to Acumen/Acumen Nation/DJ? Acucrack to MP3.com. A friend of mine in Houston was friends with Greg Lopez who played bass in Acumen and he came to Houston to visit, and he gave me an early Acumen tape and that's how I was turned on to DJ? Acucrack and that whole bunch. I was working on an industrial project back then that went tits up because one of the guys I was working with found Christ and moved out of my friends place to live a less degenerate life. Went on to do really well so props to him, he made the right choice. Anyway, then some electronic music website out of Chicago to Exclipsect/Synth-Etik to MP3.com and Frozen Empire Media. Strange road to noise through powernoise/digital hardcore/Skinny Puppy but those led me to find things online. Found C.C.C.C. This took a while 97-2000 and I moved from Houston to Fort Worth during this time. On mp3.com specifically there was back then Lefthanddecision, Stimbox, Xome, Cama, Ames Sanglantes, Sickness was on there to name a few. I still have the mp3's. I believe back then Xome's page there said anyone can be Xome so there were like 5 or 8 Xomes on mp3.com! I didn't know what to make of that. I then found a website for either Eibon Records or Blade (or someone) which had some a crap ton of noise mp3's. FEM had mp3's as well. Discovered Malignant & Menschenfeind, and think I helped fund a few of Malignant's releases through purchases. Alt.noise played a part as well. Discovered that Cyber-Blast was in Arlington and bought some stuff from Larry. Went to see Texas Noise Fest in 2001 that Cyber-Blast put on as a fan and bought some cd-r's from Richard. Think I saw a Rotten Piece/Concrete Violin show in Houston at some restaurant/bar as well around that time as a fan.

Funny to note that while I was living in Houston and not commuting to and from every other week like I was later, I never heard of RR/BLJ/RP/T.E.F. or any noise act there. Nor did anyone I know. Truly under the pavement. Once I discovered noise, I found that Sound Exchange and one other record store in north Houston had noise in stock. Kinda like you had to know a guy who knows a guy back then.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Kenny »

Much like a lot of people have said, my direct route was grind -> powerviolence/sludge -> noisecore -> noise
Specifically, the Grief / Suppression split 7" on Bovine records, loved the Suppression side and got in contact with Jason Hodges who was and still is doing the Chaotic Noise label/zine. Found out about so much stuff.
Also, the early issues of Freak Animal zine were really important to me. My first noise loves were the noisecore/lo-fi noise crossover acts like Sonic Disorder, Extreme Hair Stench. Traci Lords Loves Noise, Hermit. The Earwigs and many more rather than Merzbow / Masonna etc, which I kind of saw as too professional and even a bit pretentious at the time. I definitely started Facialmess to be a part of all that, even down to the Carcass derived name.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Joie de la Blumpy »

Genre was a factor for me, but indirectly.

When I was very young, one of my hobbies was flipping the radio dial, again and again, in search of music I knew existed. I knew it existed, but I didn’t then consciously know why. I know now: because I’d heard it before, quite a lot, principally via movies and TV but also probably via the occasional public access broadcast.

I eventually discovered college radio, late at night, when all the cool music got broadcast. Late night college radio! And in Toronto, there were three stations- CKLN (Ryerson College), CIUT (UofT) and CHRY (York University). I had fam in Montreal, so CKUT (McGill). Also CBC (Canada’s BBC). And everything faithfully recorded to tape. Boxes and boxes of tapes can attest to the obsession.

But yeah, whole worlds of sound. All night “festivals” devoted to The Residents, WS Burroughs. (Burroughs in particular is I think kinda primed for college radio.) Endless free-wheeling radio-collage broadcasts. Plenty of academic stuff, but plenty of le whatever. The noise shit was largely swallowed up into “industrial noise” or “power electronics”, which could mean anything from Gum to Toll to Vivenza.

The connection to genre? At thirteen years old, rap was my bag. But. Rap, the good stuff, simply didn’t get airplay. None. Could only get it on college radio. And college radio advertised other college radio, right. So in the middle of potholes in my lawn or whatever an ad for some electro-acoustic show running at 1am. Head nodding on time and then- Instant booOOOOOiiiiiinng.

Eliane Radigue reports a similar experience. Back in the fucking 50s. It was hearing Pierre Schaeffer on French public access radio that go her into the good stuff.

Radio motherfuckers.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by yullowteef »

Got into punk and hardcore when I was 12 or 13, started going to shows in high school. Our scene was very small so it wasn't uncommon to have punk and hardcore bands playing with experimental bands and noise artists, though the noise artists were incorporating glitch, broken beats, and other experimental dance music elements that I didn't care for. I was a skateboarder, so was familiar with The Rita due to the Skull Skates/Barrier Kult association, but my conception of him was more of a curious oddity than a form of musical (or, anti-musical) expression I wanted to devote my interest in. Not ashamed to say that I just didn't get it at the time.

My taste in hardcore continued to develop, and I started listening to the more chaotic bands like Antioch Arrow, Heroin, The Locust, Angel Hair, etc. Then in 2006, AIDS Wolf played my city and stayed at our house for a few days. That was a life-changer. They made it very easy to connect with Hair Police when I discovered them later. Once I heard HP's Certainty Of Swarms record, I was obsessed. Saw them live a year after that record came out when they toured with Awesome Color and it changed how I viewed composition and performance.

Around this time, I was playing in a band that was trying to sound like One Eyed God Prophecy and Union of Uranus. We played with noisecore and power electronics bands sometimes. We listened to The Endless Blockade and MITB, and I was vaguely aware of Merzbow through my metal head friends, but didn't investigate his catalogue until after I had heard Masonna's Spectrum Ripper. That sealed the deal for me in terms of understanding harsh noise, and it's been a big part of my life since then.
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Re: Pathways to Noise / Place and Time

Post by Joie de la Blumpy »

Joie de la Blumpy wrote: Wed Mar 09, 2022 11:33 am Radio motherfuckers.
One thing that should be added on the point of college radio, or "community radio" as it was apt to sell itself- particularly during funding drives...Send us your cash, or we'll kill you! That it really did what it say on the tin. The folks doing the shows were the folks doing events were the folks with projects of their own were the folks working the brick n mortar shops. This was not necessarily a huge number of folks, in a single vicinity, but take all the buggers together and they add up. Across genres across the arts across generations, thinking say on the Nihilist Spasm Band- who weren't "a bunch of kids" even in the 60s.

And, across borders. One of the first times I played "live" was long-distance through the telephone lines on WKCR (Columbia University) for a three-day radio noise festival.
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