Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Favorite Noise(s) Pt 2

Inspired by notquitereality, I decided I'd throw together a google map with samples of my favorite noises. This is an ongoing project and I'll try to put up as many noises of my liking as often as I get around to filming them. Along with the vid, sounds, and locations, I'm including a little blurb about why I've chosen these as my "favorites".

Google decided that the extreme close-up would be the best starting point. Zoom out to see the content here or hit the View Larger Map button below for a smoother presentation. Enjoy.

Kill Your Wrinkles

A good friend of mine is spending her spring (their autumn) in Buenos Aires shopping and strolling after helping oversee the elections in El Salvador. She has been updating me via email and facebook. Since we have regular discussions when she's in the States, it only feels appropriate to attempt the same practice online. Her last email sparked much contemplation about noise and art.

Her adventures took her to a modern art museum where she stumbled across Wrinkle (1968) by argentine artist Liliana Porter (1). It's a series of ten photographs depicting "a still life of a dynamic process" in which Porter systematically crumples a sheet of paper -- and, arguably, flattens it back out.

The photos are interesting but a interview by fellow artist Emmett Williams (1, 2) has been included alongside the prints. I found a blown up photo if you want to read the entire piece. Emmett questions himself in true Ken Wilber (1, 2) fashion (have you ever read A Brief History of Everything? (1, 2)) to dig into a very interesting view of art.

emm: ...wrinkles aren't very nice. wrinkling things up is messy... destructive.
ett: don't moralize, so is god. in nature, whenever anything shrinks or contracts...

I saw Kill Your Idols (1, 2) the other week. Its about the short lived No-Wave scene in New York (1, 2, 3) -- including interviews from great bands like Theoretical Girls, Sonic Youth, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc. Arto Lindsay (1, 2, 3) from DNA struck a chord with me (no pun intended) when he discussed why noise was so prevocative at the time. He insisted that what ideas New York No Wave was tussling with were centered around re-construction. Noise music didn't need chords because blues-oriented "punk" bands were covering that. Noise didn't necessarily need rhythm, for that matter, and artists were trying to grapple with redefining the building blocks of music, perhaps by wrinkling it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Favorite Noise

youTube user Not Quite Reality (1) made this quirky little vid about his favorite noise. He's not the most credible source for what good noise should be -- he lists "eating Oreos makes you run faster" under his profile's cheat sheet of 'Fun Facts'. But, he is from Albuquerque, which is undoubtable legitimate.

The video reminded me of why youTube blew up. It's hilarious to see what people will do with a camera in their own homes. It also reminded me of what my favorite noises are. I've been making mental notes of these while walking around town. To answer Not Quite Reality's question, currently my favorite noise is the air intake vent on the west side of Popejoy Hall. I take my smoke breaks there frequently and have become very comfortable with how the air moves into the building. The motion and subsequent noise is almost surreal.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Man Who Makes Pedals Plays Pedals

Oliver Ackermann designs pedals under the flashy Brooklyn-based branding Death By Audio. They make custom pedals for bands like U2 (1) and Wilco (1) says the River Front Times.

Ackermann's also the guitarist/vocalist for "New York City's loudest band" A Place To Bury Strangers (1, 2). They put out a 10 track self-titled L.P. last year that's been receiving incresingly colorful reviews. Pitchfork called it "tinnitus-inducing noise-pop against a tension-wracked Joy Division-meets-Ministry backdrop". Stylus Magazine said the debut was laced with "layers of errant, mystical roars born from man’s relationship between his guitar, a chord, and a speaker". But, all are finding a connection to the Jesus and Mary Chain.

At any rate, the band has been a perfect demonstration ground for showing off Ackermann's pretty little noise boxes. And with catchy names like Octave Clang, Interstellar Overdriver, or Supersonic Fuzz Gun, I think my wishlist will soon be dominated by Death By Audio creations.