Tag Archives: Noise

Album of the Day: Pharmakon, “Devour”

Listening to Pharmakon has never exactly been a passive act. Rather than recede into the background, Margaret Chardiet’s savage noise compositions seize you by the shoulders with a violent shake. That sense of urgency is especially apparent on Devour, her fourth album for Sacred Bones, and the first that fully reflects Pharmakon’s notoriously confrontational live show. (Uniform guitarist Ben Greenberg cut the album’s five corrosive pieces straight to tape in the studio, keeping a set list of sorts in mind for side A and B.)

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Kitty on Fire Records Push Kawaii Aesthetics to Harsh Musical Extremes

Kitty-on-fire-1244.jpg“Wow. I wasn’t prepared to answer this question. I don’t know how to,” Spencer Williams of Kitty on Fire Records says when asked to give a summary of what the label does. And who can blame him? One glance at Kitty on Fire’s Bandcamp page can be jarring. It’s like an anime fighter had digitally uploaded several hundred albums—there are titles like NEGLECTED TOMOGATCHI, Super Duper Digi-Punk Split, L​-​l​-​l​-​lewd!, and CAT FIGHT (all of which are fantastic records, mind you).

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A Guide to the Discography of Brazilian Noise Artist Cadu Tenório

Cadu Tenorio

Cadu Tenório learned about dissonance early. His first acoustic guitar, given to him by his uncle, had a large hole in the top, covered with adhesive glue. “It was impossible to tune the guitar in a conventional way,” he says, “so I had little choice but to start making noises with it.”

Tenório has been making an awful racket ever since. The Rio-based Brazilian musician has created a sprawling, clattering discography, influenced by industrial and experimental performers such as Throbbing Gristle, Stockhausen, and Masonna. Like many noise musicians, he’s also been influenced by technology itself; as a child, he’d spend hours recording his broken guitar along with radio programs, toys, or room noises.

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Lifetime Achievement: A Guide to Blackhouse’s Enigmatic Industrial Discography

Lifetime Achievement

“I saw Jesus’s face,” says Brian Ladd of pioneering industrial/power electronics project Blackhouse, recounting an event from his early life in church. He was five years old and bored, when he thought he saw a familiar face in a high window. “I tugged on my dad’s sleeve, and said ‘Hey, I see Jesus up there! I saw Jesus.’ And he said, ‘Oh man, they just do that to fool kids. They have somebody up there with a big picture of Jesus,’ as if it were some kind of joke or a put-on. My dad told me that because he thought I was probably nuts.” Ladd backed away from religion at a young age, but as he matured into a young man able to think for himself, he became more convinced that he had seen the real face of Jesus Christ.

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Lifetime Achievement: 7 Albums That Show The Many Sides Of Merzbow

Merzbow

Forty years after he first started recording as Merzbow, Masami Akita’s music is no easier to categorize. Though his creations are perennially pigeonholed as noise music, anti-music, and even über-music, the sheer magnitude of his output will always present an obstacle to easy classification. Consider Mike Connelly’s comments in the opening episode of Merzcast, one of two recently launched podcasts attempting to scale Akita’s entire discography—which currently towers at 432 releases and counting: “Like, what is he thinking when he’s doing this?!” Continue reading

Sheet Metal and Spray-Painted Trash: Wolf Eyes’ Deep, Noisy Discography

Wolf Eyes

“A song becoming definitive when an artist decides to hit record isn’t really the case, man,” says Nate Young, founder of noise project Wolf Eyes. “It’s never the definitive version, especially with the kind of music we’re dealing with.” For 23 years, that’s been a guiding principle in Wolf Eyes since it began with Young splicing a found tape loop from an answering machine with Paul Winters’s new age/smooth jazz release Wolf Eyes. He gave one copy to friend, and soon-to-be bandmate, Aaron Dilloway, called it “Wolf Eyes,” and almost immediately began amassing what is now one of underground music’s deepest catalogs.

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Ifriqiyya Électrique’s Healing Sound Melds Tunisian Banga Ritual With Post-Industrial Noise

IFRIQIYYA ELECTRIQUE

Photo by Renaud de Foville

“I’m a curious guy! I like music that I don’t understand!” exclaims French artist François Cambuzat. The avant-rock guitarist is explaining the genesis of co-founding Ifriqiyya Électrique, a quintet that is currently the only Tunisian band on Western tours. Quite possibly the sole “adorcist post-industrial therapeutic” band in the world, Ifriqiyya Électrique takes their name from the area of “Ifriqiya or Ifriqiyah,” between Tripoli and Tangier, that includes today’s Tunisia.

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Seven Steps to Perfection: A Guide Towards the Afrofuture in Music

Afrofuturism

Illustration by Max Löffler

In the ’90s, R&B and hip-hop music videos by groups like Blaque, OutKast, and Missy Elliott burst out of the hive with the vibrancy of ritual, referencing everything from atmospheric independent African diaspora films, like Daughters of the Dust to Star Trek. These videos were high fantasy—but with the ubiquitous ‘90s video sheen of exaggerated colorwash and fisheye-lens effects.

Also during the ’90s, the term Afrofuturism was coined to discuss the rising interest in surreal, fantastical, and futuristic Black literature (from the likes of Samuel Delany, Octavia E. Butler, and Charles Saunders), and its connection to other forms of Black art (music and visual art in particular) that married science fiction tropes and ideas with Black radical politics, spirituality, and lived experiences. The idea then was to project idealized forms of Blackness into the future without eschewing any of the aesthetic markings that made Black existence in a post-colonial world unique. Artists imagined urban habitation adorned with updated ritual practice, the ghetto as space station geared out in chrome, and general narratives about space travel to coincide with the ecstasy of the music: the layered, heavy beats and hazy, jazz-inspired productions that were the norm of the time. This gave way to the explorations of Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, and Janelle Monae.

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