Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Hi all, I'm currently blogging from my hotel room in Charlotte, NC (I'm on a business trip) and I wanted to let you know about a great show tomorrow night at Kriya Studio. Here's the e-mail from Burlington's own noise guru, Matt (aka A Snake In the Garden), who will also be doing a set:
tomorrow at KRIYA @ 7:30pm. ID M THEFT ABLE (
rocking some vocal noises and bearded performance art, NOZAL CUBE
( all the way from France doing some schizo tape
noise, the mighty OAK, and myself doing a short opener set. should be
a great time." target="_blank">"
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If you haven't attended a noise show in town, I strongly recommend going. In my opinion, Noise is the most innovative genre of music around right now. Seeing a Noise show feels like being at one of the first free-jazz concerts or punk shows or Dada happenings--it's about as avant-garde and challenging as it gets. Noise is as much a physical and intellectual experience as a sonic one, almost like a blending of black metal and classical symphony. If that isn't enough to sell you on going, then you probably shouldn't.

Barring any flight delays tomorrow night, I'll see you there!


casey said...

Not to unfairly categorize acts I've not seem live, but...

Is it at all possible that Burlington's noise music s'plosion is 'cause that stuff easy to play and apparently fashionable?

Or am I being too discriminating? I'm not trying to harsh, but rather ask an honest question.

Even "challenging" art needs to be challenged. It's purely Darwinistic.

casey said...

OK: clarification time.

This show will probably rule. I wouldn't neccessarily categorize Oak as a noise band, though. Not strictly.

As for noise as a genre: It ain't new, and any enjoyment one gets from it is always gonna be subjective. Probably more so than, say, power-pop or Wagner.

Also, I think the whole key to "enjoying" it is to not approach it intellectually. The genre by definition supercedes traditional qualifiers. "Man, that unbearably high-pitched sine wave juxtaposed brilliantly with the low rumble and clatter. Was that a truck going by?"

It's been said that the most progressive aesthetic one can entertain re: "music" is that in which all sound is considered art.

As a "blah-de-blah-blah" practitioner, I mostly much subscribe to this theory, and not only in music. Still, it's interesting that those of us with such panoramic sonic perspectives don't hang out at the airport all day.

These shows provide a frame — I GET it. But could they not also provide a haven for psuedo-ponderous types in desperate need of social reinforcment from a substrata of society that allows them to feel elite?

Gonna go listen to some Raspberries now. Maybe followed by Merzbow. ;-)

Have fun at the show. I miss those damn things. Some of 'em, anyway.

Tanner M. said...

*with all his strength tries with one hand to keep the other from click the the "publish your comment" button*

Casey said:"Is it at all possible that Burlington's noise music s'plosion is 'cause that stuff easy to play and apparently fashionable?"

Are you serious? You sound like every old man to ever have listened to a new music generation, "oh i can do that, that's easy... what you gotta do is get yourself some Frank Sinatra, now son, there's talent..."

Yeah it's easy, anything is easy, picking up a guitar and strumming out actual chords is easy, sitting at a drum kit and banging out a 4/4 rhythm is easy.
It's doing it passionately, and doing it with style that's the hard part, and i think Noise, even more so than other forms of music with more "form" is even more challenged to do so - at least with power pop and wager you have an established control group to measure against.
Noise lives and dies on it's ability to reach a listener on a instinctual level, and while it can easily be appreciated intellectually,(through technique or actual sonic production), I'd say you're right; it's it's guttural nature that is attractive and what makes it important and fascinating.

but to declare a proper method to how one is supposed to "enjoy" something is a bit pompous and didactic. Enjoyment my any means would to me be a better motto, and one that i think is more in line with the concept of Noise as music.

Tanner M. said...

that being said...

i think your right about the shows being:
"social reinforcment from a substrata of society that allows them to feel elite."

only so much as anything else... we're all social creatures looking to belong. It doesn't have any more or less baring on the legitimacy of the music.

casey said...

I disagree with nothing you said, but will reiterate that noise's lack of traditional aesthetic qualiffiers results in a lot of wankers slipping in unnoticed.

And they're sometimes even encouraged, which makes me extra cranky.

But who cares? Noise is hardly a "kid's movement" (although every few years hipsters have a one-night stand with it) so my statements can hardly be disqualified as the ramblings of an embittered old man.

I like some noise. I also like some trad shit, too.

I don't like closed-circuit scenes where people sniff each others' butts as though it's their sole earthly purpose.

Oh, and Tanner: I'm not looking to belong to anything or anybody. That's why I can cast so much aspersion!

PS: the middle section of "21st Century Schizoid Man" is hardly easy. And that song has noise ANND free jazz elements!

jay said...

I'm not touching this one with a ten-foot pole :)

casey said...

I'm perfectly willing to admit I'm incorrect about everything. I just get bored sometimes.

Noize Rulez!

gd said...

im surprised noone has touched on the dominance of the macho/male/testosterone/sonic assault angle in the noise scene. thats a rich topic and i think one that might be more worth investigating rather than if noise music is easy to make or not or if it is a legimate form of music.

anyone can try to do any kind of music. there are always going to be wankers and people making bad music in any genre at any time.

and as far as a burlington noise scene, there is none. a snake in the garden is the scene really, and we are lucky to have a guy like matt who is into this music and is bringing some noise musicians to town. im all for variety in the music scene here and i really appreciate people who make the effort to put on shows and try to do something a little different in this town.

let's not even get started on how easy it is to make drone music. ha! :)

Grimeology Records said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grimeology Records said...

had a response to this, but i'll just shorten it to:

seeya at the show,

casey said...

I wanna know why the comment is deleted!

Were you mad?

It's my fault that I poked. But the response illustrates that you actually give a shit.

Was I really debating the legitimacy of noise? I thought I was suggesting that since it has less-than-agreed-upon attributes, it can't actually be called the most exciting form of music ever.

Plus it's "easy." And apparently macho!

You guys are fun. I stop now.

Tanner M. said...

woah... don't stop now, i'm almost there!

sorry Casey - didn't mean to hit you with the old man remark, that was rude. But i have to disagree with you about the belonging aspect; even if you don't aspire to belong to any one person or group, i really can believe that you don't on some level gain some kind of satisfaction from considering yourself part of something, even if that something is as loose nit as rugged individualist Buddhist pseudo satanist philosophy.

I think it's a very basic human animal concept that we've been hardcoded to accept, at first it was herd instinct for safety and now its evolving through family, into more abstract groupings of state, nation, belief, philosophy, book club, etc...

But you know, i only have a "honorary" double phd in sociology and anthropology from MIT... so what do i know ;P

Greg - i'm rather interested in the macho aspect of noise. I don't think all noise is inherently macho, but there is definatly some macho noise, i don't find Snake to be macho at all, or mean spirited, infact i tend to find myself opened up and a bit emotional after hearing him, meanwhile, wolf eyes always made me feel raw and mean...

anyway - That's a huge discussion in itself... i'd be interested in hearing people's comments on that idea too.

casey said...

OK, like an aging goombah, I've been pulled back in.

I loved the "rugged individualist Buddhist pseudo satanist philosophy" bit. It's finally got a name!

But there's nothing psuedo about my Satanism, let me assure you!

I prefer to call my philosophy "bleeding-heart, aesthetic fascist, Buddhist, anti-intellectual, pro-critical analysis."

Which puts me somewhere between Oscar Wilde, Chris Matthews and the Dalai Lama. But way more humble! ;-)

jay said...

I'd say it's the "macho" (or at least aggressive) aspect of noise that appeals to me most. There doesn't seem to be a lot of music that has physicality and rage anymore, and it's a shame because (like it or not) it's an important part of the human experience.

Anger and violence are often seen as solely destructive, when it can in fact be productive and cathartic. Without it you're a lobotomized, perma-smiling emasculated automaton.

Grimeology Records said...


i deleted my previous comment because i didn't want to say anything i'd later regret. i don't even know you. i just think its unfair to make uneducated comments like you did for apparently no reason - i don't feel like you were ever planning on going to the show, so why badmouth it and the corresponding (albeit nonexistant) scene? just because you namedrop Merzbow doesn't make me think that you know anything about noise.

i just felt your comments were ignorant and posted for the sake of starting some kind of argument. i dislike drama, especially on the internet. if you want to have a long in-depth discussion about noise and the intents and philosophies behind Snake over a beer or two, that would be fine by me.

in summary, yes i do "give a shit." i'm not doing noise to be cool, because its not, or to be macho, because i'm not, or to be fashionable, because its not, or to put myself on some sort of pedestal, because there is none. my music is extremely personal to me and is an extension of myself and when people question the legitimacy of it, yes i can get a little "mad."

one more thing... you said "even challenging art needs to be challenged." in my opinion, ONLY challenging art is challenged... thats why its challenging. who is going to get in an argument over a Norman Rockwell painting?

thanks to all who came to the show last night. take care,


casey said...

I would've gone to the show, if it didn't involve a plane ticket. I haven't heard your stuff, but I like Oak a lot.

I lived in Burlington for 15 years and reported on its music scene for three, so I feel well enough informed to poke a little fun at it. Especially its penchant for unchecked boosterism, which I regularly took the piss out of when I lived there.

This has nothing to do with your music, which I'd love to hear.

As far as the Merzbow name-dropping goes, that was meant to be a joke. You know, pick the most obvious example of "blank genre." I guess some stuff just doesn't translate through the tubes.

You said:

"in summary, yes i do 'give a shit.' i'm not doing noise to be cool, because its not, or to be macho, because i'm not, or to be fashionable, because its not, or to put myself on some sort of pedestal, because there is none. my music is extremely personal to me and is an extension of myself and when people question the legitimacy of it, yes i can get a little 'mad.'"

Which is well-put. Just keep in mind that I take the art of criticism as seriously as you do your music.

But perhaps I'm just playing my own little game of hypocrisy and bewiderment. If so, I've grown tired of it. On to the next entertainment!

I hope you guys had a fun night of music.

Jason said...

This passive/aggressive commentary is unbecoming of you, Casey. We all know noise=rock and roll. Hell, I consider Lennon's voice on "Plastic Ono Band" noise...pure noise coming from the purest source: the throat. As a singer you must know that the best performances come when the syllables no longer have meaning, the sentiment is primal and you're just putting your point across emotionally regardless of what the lyrics are.

As far as it being "easy to play"...we both know that music might be easy to play by yourself in your bedroom, but it's much harder to play in front of people. You really have to believe in what you're doing to have the balls to do it for an audience (three acts I've seen come to mind that were obviously trying to put one over their crowd: Alice In Chains, Arrested Development, and Will Oldham ('95 at Toast...were you there for that?)). Matt has the balls to scream his guts out. It's not easy.

Even if the current noise sucks I'll take it over any ska suckfest a million times over...or any poserpunk band like the River City Rebels. You're channeling your art of criticism to the wrong place.