Escape from Noise

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Escape from Noise
Studio album by Negativland
Released 1987 (original)
1999 (reissue)
Genre Avant garde
Experimental
Sound collage
Length 42:12
Label SST/Seeland Records (original)
Seeland (1999 "un-remixed" reissue)
Producer Negativland
Negativland chronology
Over the Edge Vol. 1: JAMCON'84
(1985)
Escape from Noise
(1987)
Helter Stupid
(1989)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [1]

Escape from Noise is a 1987 concept album by Negativland. It marked the band's first release on an established independent record label, SST Records. On this album, they continued to develop their experimental style. The group also incorporated elements of pop music with shorter tracks and more conventional melodies. "Christianity Is Stupid", a track featuring samples from the propaganda movie If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, layered over a buzzing and droning hard rock groove, proved to be an enduring signature song. The band and the release gained widespread attention due to a press release falsely implying that murderer David Brom had listened to the song before killing his family members.[1]

Release[edit]

The original album came with a yellow bumper sticker with black letters reading "Car Bomb", and a booklet outlining the history of the band, along with photos of band members and reviews of previous releases.[2] In the booklet, Crosley Bendix (Don Joyce) describes how Negativland's studio/apartment and recording equipment were destroyed in a two-alarm fire discovered by Negativland member Mark Hosler at 11:50 pm late on "Friday the 13th of February, 1987".[3] The fire started in Smart Laundry, a dry cleaning business located at street level below Negativland's apartment, 10028 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito, California. When he saw flames leaping up past their kitchen window, Hosler yelled to his friend Tera Freedman in the next room to call 9-1-1 to notify the fire department. Hosler and Freedman collected the finished master tapes and artwork for Escape from Noise and quickly left the building, just as fire crews arrived. Cleaning solvents in the laundry accelerated the fire and caused extensive damage to the building before fire crews gained control. Afterward, the band grimly assessed the total destruction of the recording equipment and the materials from previous releases. Together, they traveled to Los Angeles to meet with SST executives and "reaffirm their album commitment".[3]

Even though the songs "Nesbitt's Lime Soda Song" and "Backstage Pass" include profanity, the album, due to it being released and reissued on indie labels, does not have the Parental Advisory sticker.

In 1999, Seeland Records reissued the album in a new "un-remixed" edition, adding no bonus tracks and blowing up the photo on the LP to fill the entire CD front cover and the original LP cover's words from Bendix were moved into the booklet. A sticker was placed on the album, saying:

An old album from Negativland: Digitally exacto-remastered 3313 RPM compact disc re-issue of Negativland's classic 1987 LP with no added bonus tracks of any kind!

Don't let the new cover design fool you – your audiophile friends might think that such classics as "Car Bomb" and "Christianity Is Stupid" sound crisper and cleaner on this newly un-remixed edition, but they're dead wrong! And even though there are no longer eleven time zones in the Soviet Union (and no Soviet Union, either) this re-release sounds exactly the same as the original. The only thing different is the sticker you are reading right now.

The original LP is still in print on SST Records, even though the band re-released the record in 1999 on Seeland.

Controversy[edit]

In February 1988, a 16-year-old from Rochester, Minnesota named David Brom murdered his entire immediate family (both parents, a brother, and a sister) with an axe. When Negativland was forced to cancel a planned tour in support of their album Escape from Noise for financial reasons, the band issued a press release claiming that they had been "advised by Federal Official Dick Jordan not to leave town pending an investigation into the Brom murders." The press release implied that Brom had listened to Negativland's song "Christianity Is Stupid" before the fatal quarrel with his religious parents.[1]

In reality, there was no official named "Dick Jordan", and Brom did not possess any Negativland music. The murder investigation later discovered that he was on SST's mailing lists, but he only owned "Zen Arcade" by SST band Hüsker Dü.[citation needed] Nevertheless, pundits and journalists took the press release at face value, and the hoax received widespread media coverage.[4] Negativland encouraged the spread of the story by steadfastly refusing further comment, supposedly on the advice of their attorney "Hal Stakke", another fictional person invented by the band. Much of this media coverage was negative, and band member Richard Lyons' home in Oakland, California was pelted with rocks by an unknown vandal.[1] Negativland subsequently used samples from the media frenzy in their 1989 album Helter Stupid.[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Announcement"
  2. "Quiet Please"
  3. "Michael Jackson"
  4. "Escape from Noise"
  5. "The Playboy Channel"
  6. "Stress in Marriage"
  7. "Nesbitt's Lime Soda Song"
  8. "Over the Hiccups"
  9. "Sycamore"
  10. "Car Bomb"
  11. "Methods of Torture"
  12. "Yellow Black and Rectangular"
  13. "Backstage Pass"
  14. "Christianity Is Stupid"
  15. "Time Zones"
  16. "You Don't Even Live Here"
  17. "The Way of It"
  18. "Endscape"
  • A hidden track is after "Endscape". It is performed on the No Other Possibility video compilation as "Fire Song".

Personnel[edit]

  • Mark Hosler: Singing, synthesizers, guitars, voice tapes, percussions, rhythm loops, bomb parts, David manipulation, tiny metal banjo, recorder, lots of other noises, mix
  • Don Joyce: Yelling, talking tapes, electric tympani, synthesizer, lyrics, singing, Booper bee, bomb parts and assembly, noises everywhere, mix
  • Chris Grigg: Drums, synthesizer, singing, computer & software, field recordings, mix
  • David Wills: Talking, shortwave, family tape, bomb parts, regular Booper
  • Richard Lyons: Singing, lyrics, voice
With contributions from

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c PRANKS! – Pullout – Music Quarterly – The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper
  2. ^ "Escape From Noise". Negativworldwidewebland. Background Info. Retrieved July 22, 2010. "The LP edition was originally issued by SST Records with a 20-page booklet featuring article reprints, reviews and photographs from 1979 to 1987 (the printing negatives for the book are now lost) and a yellow "Car Bomb" bumper sticker." 
  3. ^ a b Bendix, Crosley. "Is It Over Yet?" Twenty-page booklet from album, pages 1–2. Rec Rec Music, SST Records.
  4. ^ Reviews – Escape From Noise
  5. ^ Guerrilla culture-jam (Metro Times Detroit)

External links[edit]