Escape from Noise

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Escape from Noise
Studio album by
Released1987 (original)
1999 (reissue)
Studio'Our home and other people's homes'
LabelSST/Seeland Records (original)
Seeland (1999 "un-remixed" reissue)
Negativland chronology
A Big 10-8 Place
Escape from Noise
Helter Stupid
Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauB+[2]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[3]
The Great Alternative & Indie Discography6/10[4]
MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide[5]
Rolling Stone[6]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[7]

Escape from Noise is the fourth studio album by Negativland. It marked the band's first release on an established independent record label, SST Records. On the album, they continued to develop their experimental style, as well as incorporating 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?, proved to be an enduring signature song: the band and the release gained widespread attention a year later due to an SST press release falsely implying that murderer David Brom had listened to the song before killing his family members.[8]


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.[9] 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".[10]

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".[10]

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.

In 1988, the group released a press release suggesting that the song "Christianity Is Stupid" was connected to murders by David Brom, and that the group was forced to cancel a planned tour in support of Escape from Noise. However, there were no connections with the murders, and the tour was cancelled only due to shortage of funds and free time. Their next album, Helter Stupid, made use of the event by sampling news reports of the claims made in the press release.

Track listing[edit]

All music is composed by Mark Hosler, Don Joyce, Chris Grigg, David Wills, and Richard Lyons

Side One
1."Quiet Please"2:17
2."Michael Jackson"2:08
3."Escape From Noise"2:36
4."The Playboy Channel"1:32
5."Stress In Marriage"1:35
6."Nesbitt's Lime Soda Song"3:08
7."Over the Hiccups"1:28
9."Car Bomb"2:03
Total length:21:07
Side Two
10."Methods of Torture"1:23
11."Yellow Black and Rectangular"2:14
12."Backstage Pass"1:15
13."Christianity Is Stupid"3:55
14."Time Zones"5:28
15."You Don't Even Live Here"2:30
16."The Way Of It"1:12
Total length:21:16
  • A hidden track is after "Endscape". It is performed on the No Other Possibility video compilation as "Fire Song".


  • Mark Hosler: Singing, synthesizers, guitars, voice tapes, percussions, rhythm loops, bomb parts, David manipulation, tiny metal banjo, recorder, many 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


  1. ^ "Negativland - Escape from Noise Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  2. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Negativland".
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 5. MUZE. p. 3891.
  4. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1999). The great alternative & indie discography. ISBN 9780862419134.
  5. ^ MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. 1999. p. 803.
  6. ^ "[Negativland & Seeland Records]".
  7. ^ Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. 1995. pp. 266–267.
  8. ^ PRANKS! – Pullout – Music Quarterly – The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ a b Bendix, Crosley. "Is It Over Yet?" Twenty-page booklet from album, pages 1–2. Rec Rec Music, SST Records.

External links[edit]