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One thing that really frustrates me about visual art is the reactions of general distaste from my peers towards postmodern projects. Empty clichés masked as snide criticisms (“anyone could make that,” “give me ten minutes and I could pour paint on a canvas,” “it’s just a urinal”) fill the air during discourse and it’s admittedly frustrating. I admit that minimalism and gratuitous abstract mindsets can lead to lazy techniques or general pretentiousness, but it’s hard to ignore regular pot shots towards a whole movement that pushes the boundaries of art, especially when said weak quips subtract any context from the works. Maybe I sound too upset and defensive over criticisms towards an art form. People don’t have to like what they don’t like, but, ironically enough, shouts of laziness and cynicism are often just that, lazy and cynical.

Similarly, it’s hard for me to understand why people still want to exclude noise and, to a lesser extent, musique concrète from the descriptor of “music.” Is this not the kind of thing that art masters like Dali and Duchamp fought against? Rather than letting abstract terms like those maintain fluidity and escape semantics This idea that art or music has a limit, seems exclusive and demeaning to the multitudes of experimental artists who use bizarre tools to craft something representing and relating to our inherently volatile and complex human emotions.

After all, not just anyone could use harsh, demanding sonic landscapes of various moods like artists like Kazumoto Endo, Mo*Te, Tetsuo Furudate, and Werewolf Jesus can (childlike whimsy, acceptable of a forthcoming apocalypse, the tragedy of the fallen hero known as Othello, and misanthropic anger). But still, it seems like the true emotional power noise can represent has to fight an uphill battle against the negative associations with the Whitehouse school of senseless vulgarity and it’s own general learning curve. At first, much of this genre, including subgenres from the pummeling power electronics to the textured force of harsh noise wall, seems like just noise and, in direct association, pointless anti-art (which groups like the Gerogerigegege wear with pride – “ART IS OVER”), but there’s a reason for the subversion of traditional musical methods, just like there is a reason for subversion of the status quo in any artform.

In the case of noise, it almost is the death of music – at least the death of music as we know it. Noise musicians shed their cocoon of melody and instruments (for the most part) and evolve into a new skin. While not completely automated, much of noise shows the ability of technology-wielding outsiders to overtake human constructs of music and use cold, mechanical whorls and deep, destructive oceans of robotic screeches to tell stories of the sorrowful, the grotesque, the heinous, and/or the intense.

A part of what makes these pieces so genuinely disturbing to me is how they reach a deep, primal feeling in the pit of the soul. The inanimate wails of agony and pleasure seem like everyday objects shouting like primitive man, confused and frightened by the world around them. This primal feeling is taps into the psyche in an possibly unintentional way, juxtaposing our evolutionary past with the exponentially evolving technology that surrounds us. This battle between man and object, beast vs. the fruit of its creation, is also at the heart of postmodern art, which often seeks to provide meta-commentary on our everyday lives and the things that surround us.

My reasoning for writing this isn’t to tell you how to see any kind of art, it’s more so an insight to the worth I see in the passion and fire of noise and its place in music. You can see it however you want, but if all you see is paint on a canvas or noise from a machine, you should consider looking deeper. You never you know what might lurk inside.  –Sean H.





SowingSeason
02.21.19
Posted on behalf of Contributing Reviewer, Bloon.

Bloon
02.21.19
Thanks to granitenotebook for giving this a second look over, hope you guys like this.

Bloon
02.21.19
Thanks for reading! I see your view on the reason people come to enjoy noise and you raise a good point. Lots of noise I enjoy is centered around interesting ideas in the sonic department and the meaning isn't the most prevalent point (if there is even a linear meaning). Both postmodern art and noise share a similar beauty in how open interpretation can be and I do stand by my statements of comparison, but, like I said, you raise a very very good argument.

Bloon
02.22.19
Man, now I look like a crazy person

Rowan5215
02.22.19
sweet article - nice concise read

Bloon
02.22.19
Thanks!

MarsKid
02.22.19
Well-composed, my man. Have to say I do disagree regarding the quality of certain works emerging in modernity--seeking for meaning in those pieces takes far more effort and feels more like coming up with an excuse rather than an actual connection. However, you raise a good counter. Nice read

BlushfulHippocrene
02.22.19
Nice write-up. I feel like it could've been structured better / expanded upon -- I wish the link between noise and postmodernism was explained more, for instance, because I'm dumb and don't know; and I'd have hoped the connection between visual art (as alluded to in the intro) and "music" (within the postmodern realm) were more obvious, because I think that would've strengthened the defensive side of the article -- but otherwise not a bad read, interesting thoughts.

Flugmorph
02.22.19
a friend of mine had this to say after reading this article:


i had some jumbled fragments of thoughts, so here are some, i hope they make sense
art is a form of communication
musik is a subset of art, meaning it has more boxes to check to be considered music
his phrasing was upsetting
"Noise musicians shed their cocoon of melody and instruments (for the most part) and evolve into a new skin."
he implies that such rules are limiting and therefore something to surpass, to reach new heights
but noise certainly isnt above music,
and those limitations are what make music music, eg rhythm, melodies etc
its like sports, its not fußball when youre using your hands as non-goal keeper
no real melody or whatever, so no music;
but certainly, noise brings an emotional reaction, so its communication, and by that, art
but i say a very cheap one; communication is an interaction between sender and receiver and keeping close to everything in the receivers hands, meaning being unspecific and crude with what youre sending, like noise is
is of very little worth
you can work on intricate pulse modulations for days but if its all up to the listeners, and for everyone individually different, then its
overly indulgent craftsmanship wankery
like being a salt or water connaisseur
there are subtle differences if you look hard enough but so what, the differences are insignificant and small
[most of the time].
in case yall didnt notice im too weak to handle noise


Bloon
02.22.19
@mars and blush thanks for reading and I see your points!
@flug there's definitely more substance and nuance to noise then your friend makes it seem imo

TheSpirit
02.22.19
at least he admits he's weak at the end of his very wrong rant

Bloon
02.22.19
@blush I see ur constructive criticism and I will keep it in mind for future articles :]

Sniff
02.22.19
This owns Bloon also I agree with Blush cos he made good points

Chambered79
02.22.19
What constitutes art as postmodern

Bloon
02.23.19
Post modern art refers to art that rejects many traditions and status quos in modern art. Think stuff like Duchamp, Warhol, and Polke as far as visual art is concerned.

ScuroFantasma
02.23.19
I'm excited to see write-ups like these, I wish there was more of them here. Kudos for that, Bloon. I emphatically disagree with the argument though, I'm half inclined to write a counter ;)



neekafat
02.23.19
wot r ur thots on the new forces alb

SherlockChris9021
02.23.19
I have to agree with Bloon, you have to understand the beauty of the noise by listening to it with your heart, not just thinking you can make it by creating incidental noise, scream randomly, destroy your instrument, etc. Take my experience with Sonic Youth's music, who probably inspire the noise rock and postmodern music for the bands mentioned in this article, as an example, I first thought their music is easy to play by simply learning their chords. Later on, however, I realized that the guitar tuning alone already makes your mind explode, and it's much more difficult to emulate the sound of their music, yet that also makes me a new SY fan, as I realize the complexity of the music is the reason why they are revered as legendary rockers. (Tho I already learned some songs with the standard tunings now) So, put your pretentious mind down and open your ears, and you will realize why some people love this postmodern music.

granitenotebook
02.23.19
nice

Bloon
02.23.19
@neeka I'll peep and report bac

cylinder
02.24.19
great read. noise definitely takes some time to really appreciate beyond a surface level, but i'm glad i took the time because now it's one of my go-to sounds when i really want to LISTEN to something, rather than stuff i listen to more passively in the car or at work. imo people don't need to fret about the 'meaning' so much, the sounds and textures are usually interesting enough

JohnnyoftheWell
02.24.19
Glad to see this here. I'm much more into noise when it's integrated into something more structured/melodic, but the coordinated lack of control it represents totally connects with the primal feeling the article describes.

ramon.
02.25.19
interesting writeup. I don't exactly understand why you are seemingly confused or frustrated at people's responses to noise, or their attempts to disassociate it from music. you seem to answer these concerns in the writeup itself. its pushing the status quo of what we consider to be music. the uphill battle, as you call it, is part of the intrigue of the journey of noise. I'm doubtful there'd be as much discussion and fiery debate around noise's validity if it objectively had nothing more to offer for music than distorted signals and the occasional scream.

I empathise a little with some of the more cynical types who do think of it as nothing more than buzzing and blown earphones because if contextual poignance or emotion aren't huge draws for someone's listening experience, id argue noise has a lot less to offer than it /could/. you are left with how the listener responds to timbres and textures, and sometimes thats enough, but for a lot of people it isn't. that all being said, these are qualms that tend to be blown a bit out of proportion, and I don't even think enough people are cognisant of the existence of the noise movement for the uphill battle to be anything existential (pun not intended). Imo, I kinda wanna see a lot more discussion around its validity as music, be it in hyperbole or specificity. glad to see you are shining a light on it either way.

Wubs
03.09.19
I thought postmodernism was like "Truth is subjective and value is based on power". Which I gotta disagree there, I think of music as sound that has some kind of non-rational, meta meaning to the human experience.

Wubs
03.09.19
...but yeah which is what I think you actually outlined nicely.

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