There’s a wonderful time during a clear morning, right before the sun comes up, that the sky is a twisting, fading rainbow; all the shades of dawn cradling the treetops and weaving the stillness into soundwaves.
If you quiet your mind and close your eyes, it is possible to hear these little tapestries rolling over each other like whales in deep water. Frequencies are being lit up by the freedom and solitude. Modulating and turning, stopping; then beginning again with renewed fervor. There is as much happening in the air here as in the middle of any metropolitan area, it’s just happening on a different plane. That is how I began to process this wonderful thing called noise music.
Listening to certain records, it is possible to see the artists’ processing of such planes, and then to view (or listen to) them manifested through their music. Now, if you read Arthur Magazine, specifically Byron’s and Thurston’s "Bull Tongue," you’ll see all sorts of words describing genres, sub-genres, and factions within each. I do not possess that breadth of knowledge regarding the myriad disparate scenes, but I feel like each document committed to vinyl, tape, or some digital media contains a unique vision of our world; a different person’s quiet home at night, when the silence isn’t silent at all, but rife with nightmarish infinity and the gurgles within the brain.
I’m certain that some of these midnight cassettes etc are blowhard bullshit made by Brooklyn scenesters, but even in their post-Warhol, dadaist constructions, there has to be some truth.
The recordings that have illuminated these thoughts for me are Dredd Foole’s Daze on the Mounts, the Black Dice Beaches and Canyons, and Tetsu Inoue’s World Receiver. In each one, the seriousness is undeniable. This may be contextual, but with most art, context can enlighten. I’m not exactly sure how I ended up getting a copy of Daze but it didn’t leave my stereo for weeks.
Then, out of nowhere, I end up running into the Dreddman himself, and I started to bring him up here to Peterborough to play shows. Interestingly enough, he brought zero gadgets or machines, and just strummed his guitar and let his voice howl the night into a warm analog buzz. The evening interacted with him as if he were a songbird in that early morning, calling out “I am a bird” as the clouds answered “and we are the clouds”, and the trees whisper “we are the tall swaying trees”. Every thing is its sound.
In the case of the Black Dice, their layered opus is an earnest guide through the mind. The sounds liberated from their machines on this record are so very internal. They are your blood tumbling through your body, ligaments stretching and snapping against cartilage, and the deafening hum of being alive. The repetitions build foundations from which new noises spring, and after the walls are erected, the ground devours the concrete and the older sounds are left to fend for themselves, supporting even newer ideas.
My introduction to this album was after a night where we played a show in New Brunswick, NJ, drove to Long Island, and played again. I was lying on a fine suburban livingroom floor, when my friend Randy put it on the hi-fi. It tore my brain apart, and those ribbons of light became a part of the album, and the album a part of my brain. World Receiver by Tetsu Inoue is a different animal altogether. Inoue utilizes field recordings and weaves ambience over and under it like he’s creating a gigantic, though formless, tapestry. It covers everything, but also, isn’t there at all. The sounds he wrangles are both stray cats and ineffable certainties. I wholeheartedly recommend this as a soundtrack to any psychedelic experimentation that you may be engaging in.
So, perhaps “noise” is a misleading term, but the usage by its purveyors suggests that it might be better to just call it that, so that you don’t blow someone’s mind who may not be quite ready to explore their inner space with the same enthusiasm. If you feel that you might be one of those folks, I suggest you get up early and climb to the highest point that you can. If you’re in the city, try a rooftop, in the woods, a small mountain will do. Then just be still until the low drone inside of you is projected out into the sky, and you can hear the delicate song of those birds, the tall trees, and the clouds. You will hear the sun rise.