Arts and Entertainment

A (mostly) objective analysis

By Denebola
Published: November 2007
By Max Alper
Art is not always pleasant. Art is not always a beautiful portrait, a tender ballad, or an expressive dance. Sometimes art is the only way to express one’s most disturbing inner demons.
If art is the most acceptable and commonly-used outlet of personal expression, why is it that the genre of noise and it’s sub-genres are to be percieved to be somewhat of an annoying burden on the independent music scene by many?
No, you won’t be hearing any Merzbow or Aaron Dilloway sessions on Guitar Hero, or even on any non-college public radio. But does that make it less of a genre? Are we experiencing the same backlash today concerning noise music as the cubists, surrealists and other absurdist artists experienced in the early 20th century from the conservative experts of the art scene?
Because we most certainly shouldn’t be. Noise music is commonly misconceived to be a direct spawn of the more experimental indie rock bands. While yes, websites like Pitchfork Media and other popular music-zines assosiate the two types of music, noise music is not the reccent child of indie.
The first known noise composer was Luigi Russolo, born in 1885. Considored the “first theorist of electronic music,” Russolo made instruments that were meant to build atmospheres of confusion and unorthodox sounds, in other words, noise.
Russolo was one of the most prominent modernist artists of the 20th century, remembered by many for setting the bar in hundreds of mediums, from classical portraiture to symphonies. So to assosiate noise music directly with indie music is just wrong.
The genre, the fanbase, and the technology has grown since Russolo’s day, but the meaning and the responses are still the same. Russolo’s audience often started deadly riots in response to his performances, and although we don’t see many riots of the same context today, the uninformed opinions of the thousands of people who immediately disregard noise music as “trash” do just as much damage.
I blame the term “noise” for much of the American misconception of the genre. Noise is directly assosiated with modernist art, not indie. If we could all start over and call it auditory modernism, I think we’d see a lot more people taking it seriously as a genre of music.
I don’t see people writing hate columns about certain genres of visual art in our newspapers. Why is that? It’s because primarily, we find many teen artists using these once unorthodox styles of art, thus it eventually becomes part of the norm.
Because noise music will never fit this criteria, we will never see the true rise in noise music.
It’s better that way. We aren’t supposed to dance to it, we aren’t supposed to understand it as the artist does. Noise is one of the truest and most expressive genres of music to date. You may disagree, but when an artist disregards all of the listeners needs of joy in music (rhythm, melody, and even key), all you’re left with is what the artist wants.
This is a form of art in it’s element, and if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. But NEVER diminish its authenticity as a form of art, because then you’re only taking part in the devolution of thought.

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