Noise rock

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Noise rock is a style of experimental rock[1] rooted in noise music. The genre, which gained prominence in the 1980s, makes use of the traditional instrumentation and iconography of rock music, but incorporates atonality and especially dissonance, and frequently discards typical songwriting conventions.[2][3][4] Noise rock developed from early avant-garde music, sound art, and rock songs featuring extremely dissonant sounds and electronic feedback. The New York no wave scene, featuring such artists as Mars and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks in the late 1970s, was an essential development in noise rock.[5] A number of noise rock bands emerged in North America in the 1980s. These included Caroliner, and Grotus (San Francisco), Big Black[3][4] (Chicago), Butthole Surfers,[3][4] The Jesus Lizard,[4][6] Scratch Acid[7] (Texas), The Melvins[4][8] (Montesano, Washington), Dinosaur Jr. (Massachusetts), Sonic Youth,[2][3] Live Skull, Swans,[2][3] White Zombie,[2][3] The Thing, Blow 454 and Helmet[4][9] (New York), Laughing Hyenas (Michigan), Pussy Galore[3] and Royal Trux[3] (Washington DC), among many others.

A similar scene also began to develop in Osaka, Japan, spearheaded by Hanatarash and the Boredoms,[2][10] The British shoegazing groups developed an entirely distinct form of noise rock, largely derived from the so-called noise pop related genre.[11] Some math rock groups like Don Caballero and Hella are also considered noise rock.[12] The 1980s noise rock bands were significant influences on Nirvana[13] and Hole,[4][14] The powerviolence scene was close to noise rock, with Man Is the Bastard eventually dissolving into unstructured noise music.[15]

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Providence became the center of a new crop of noise-rock bands, largely a product of the RISD scene.[2] After 2000, noise rock groups formed all over the world. Post 2000 noise rock often features tribal polyrhythmic drum patterns. Noise rock groups that formed after 2010 include Roomrunner, Dope Body, Nü Sensae, METZ, Disappears, Dumb Numbers, as well as new Japanese acts such as Nisennenmondai and Bo Ningen.

Style[edit]

Noise rock is a genre of music descended from early avant-garde music and sound art.[3] Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore has said that

Visual and conceptual elements[edit]

Many noise rock groups have a confrontational performance style that mirrors the aggression of their music. This reaches back to The Who and Jimi Hendrix, who were famous for destroying their instruments on stage.[16] Other artists such as Iggy Pop, of the Stooges, and Darby Crash, of The Germs, lacerated their own bodies during performances.[17][18]

1980s noise rock musicians tended to adopt a simple, utilitarian mode of dress influenced by the hardcore punk ethos as a rejection of the more ostentatious elements of punk fashion. Steve Albini articulated an ethical stance that emphasized restraint, irony, and self-sufficiency.[19] The Butthole Surfers were an exception as they dressed as bizarrely as possible.[20] Several bands also made public references to drug use, particularly LSD (Jimi Hendrix, Butthole Surfers[20]) and heroin (The Velvet Underground, Royal Trux[21]). Many contemporary noise rock musicians, such as The Locust, Comparative Anatomy, and Lightning Bolt, have a very theatrical performances and wear costumes.[2] Some bands incorporate visual displays, such as film or video art.[20]

History[edit]

Precursors[edit]

The origins of noise rock are rooted in rock songs featuring extremely dissonant sounds and electronic feedback. Examples of commercially successful figures that pioneered these elements include the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix,[22] The Who,[23] and Neil Young.[24] Underground rock musicians such as The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, and the MC5 incorporated elements of free jazz[25] and minimalism, notably The Velvet Underground's self-titled debut and their second album, White Light/White Heat, which incorporated free musicianship and drone sounds.[26] More obscure musicians such as The Monks,[27] San Francisco's Fifty Foot Hose,[28] and Japan's Les Rallizes Dénudés,[29] also incorporated the effects of dissonance. German Krautrock bands were also significant influences on noise rock, most notably Can and Faust.[30] The New York no wave scene, featuring such artists as Mars and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, which began to coalesce in 1978, was also an essential development in noise rock.[31] While no wave included a variety of post-punk, experimental tendencies, with different groups incorporating elements of free jazz, soul, and disco into their performance, the most abrasive groups would find their innovations streamlined into noise rock tradition. Chrome, from San Francisco, produced their own style of psychedelic punk that shared some common ground with the no wave groups.[32]

1980s[edit]

A number of noise rock bands emerged from many different scenes in North America in the 1980s. These included Caroliner, and Grotus (San Francisco), Big Black[33][34] (Chicago), Butthole Surfers,[33][34] The Jesus Lizard[34][35] Scratch Acid[36] (Texas), The Melvins[34][37] (Montesano, Washington), Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth,[38][33] Live Skull, Swans,[38][33] White Zombie,[38][33] The Thing, and Helmet[34][39] (New York), Pussy Galore[33] and Royal Trux[33] (Washington DC), among many others. These bands were initially referred to as "pigfuck" by Robert Christgau,[40] in a reference to Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris, though the increasingly melodic tendencies of many of these groups quickly rendered the tag misleading. The Minneapolis label Amphetamine Reptile[34][41] released a great deal of music in this tradition. Industrial groups such as Throbbing Gristle developed in parallel to, and sometimes in collaboration with, the noise rock groups.[38] Many of these bands went on to temper the initial ferocity and amelodicism of their approach. IAO Core covered and were influenced by The Stranglers,[33] Sonic Youth spoke highly of The Beatles,[42] Pussy Galore covered and were influenced by The Rolling Stones,[43] Black Flag drew inspiration from Black Sabbath,[44] and the Butthole Surfers worked with John Paul Jones[45] and emulated Jimi Hendrix.[46] Some math rock groups like Don Caballero are also considered noise rock.[47] Post-hardcore,[48] screamo,[49] and some riot grrl groups[50] also take influence from noise rock.

Grindcore[edit]

Main articles: Grindcore and Japanoise

Beginning in 1986, the British group Napalm Death created "grindcore" by melding the noise rock of Swans[51] with hardcore punk and death metal.[52] While later grindcore groups tended to move in the direction of death metal, American bands such as Anal Cunt continued in an extremely dissonant, freeform vein.[53]

A similar scene also began to develop in Osaka, Japan, spearheaded by Hanatarash and the Boredoms,[54][55] who composed extremely short, fast "songs", marked by blasts of rhythm (reflecting an influence from grindcore),[56] screaming, and overloaded guitars. Boredoms singer Yamantaka Eye also worked with the New York City jazzcore group Naked City.[57] The Boredoms eventually evolved towards a far more meditative sound, taking inspiration from Krautrock.[58] Gore Beyond Necropsy,[59] Ground Zero,[60][61] Zeni Geva,[60][62] Guitar Wolf,[63] and Melt-Banana[60][64] extended the Japanese noise rock style. These bands also reflected the impact of the Japanoise scene pioneered by Merzbow.[54]

Noise pop[edit]

Main articles: Noise pop and Shoegaze

Early 1980s underground band The Membranes coined the term "pop noise" to describe a noisier precursor to the scene. Early American bands like Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo and Dinosaur Jr., who mixed rock song structures with guitar distortion, were immediate forerunners. The Jesus and Mary Chain's 1985 debut, Psychocandy, was considered the archetype for the noise pop genre. Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev brought the sonic teachings of noise to the psychedelic terrain, with special influence from Syd Barrett. These two bands, have had a similar evolution, since in addition to having shared members in certain stages of its race, later they left almost at the same time the noises sounds to invoice discs much more pop.[65]

Later in the 1980s, noise pop was a major inspiration for the British shoegazing movement.[66] Influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine started to experiment with a fusion of 1960s pop music and noise on their EP, The New Record by My Bloody Valentine, paving way to their forthcoming shoegazing sound.[67] Noise pop continued to be influential in the indie rock scene into the 1990s.[66]

1990s[edit]

The 1980s noise rock bands were significant influences on Nirvana[68] and Hole,[69][70] and as a result had some mainstream currency during the period when grunge was played on the radio.[71] Nirvana's album In Utero is particularly evident in its debts to 1980s noise rock, and was produced by Big Black frontman and noise rock icon Steve Albini.[69][72] Industrial metal groups, such as Ministry,[73] Nine Inch Nails,[74] and White Zombie,[75] were also indebted to noise rock. In 1992, Melt-Banana started in Japan, afterwards being picked up by John Zorn and Steve Albini and became a known act in Europe and the United States at the end of the nineties and a famous example of ultra fast noise rock. In France, Diabologum experimented with a mixture of dadaist collages and noisy rock. English power electronics band Ramleh also started to experiment with rock music structures in the early 1990s,[76] laying foundation for "improvisational noise rock."[77]

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Providence became the center of a new crop of noise-rock bands, largely a product of the RISD scene.[78] These groups tended to owe less to traditional rock song structures, and were more minimal and drone-like. These included Lightning Bolt,[78] Arab on Radar,[78] Six Finger Satellite,[79] and Pink and Brown.[80] Black Dice[78] were originally part of this scene, but moved to Brooklyn, where they aligned themselves with groups like Gang Gang Dance.[81] As journalist Marc Masters puts it, these groups "trafficked in a kind of art school version of 90's scum rock, mixing in overloaded effects, damaged electronics, and gimmicks like masks and in-mouth mics."[82] These groups were also related, in part, to the San Diego scene that emerged from screamo, most famously The Locust,[78] and to Wolf Eyes,[78] from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Noise rock also spread into the American South with bands such as the Ed Kemper Trio from Montgomery, Alabama. Heavily influenced by the sound of SST and Touch and Go, Ed Kemper Trio was the focus of the 2004 documentary People Will Eat Anything. Harry Pussy and To Live and Shave in L.A. formed in the early 1990s in Miami, Florida.

Mike Patton[83] is also an advocate of the noise rock scene, maintaining the label Ipecac.[84]

Noisecore[edit]

Main article: Noisecore

The powerviolence scene was close to noise rock, with Man Is the Bastard eventually dissolving into unstructured noise music.[85] The Locust also picked up from Man Is The Bastard and created a synth-driven powerviolence sound. Contemporaneous groups like Neurosis[86] and Today Is the Day[87][88] began to blend noise rock with extreme metal. Many of the resulting innovations have been incorporated by the more experimental practitioners of metalcore, such as Converge,[89] Botch,[90] and The Dillinger Escape Plan.[91]

2000s[edit]

During the 2000s, noise rock groups formed all over the world. These included mclusky, Scarling, Black Dice, An Albatross, Deerhunter, The Death Set, Oneida, Parts and Labor, Fuck Buttons, Indian Jewelry, Yuck, Health, Neptune, Fiasco, Aa (Big A Little a), Skeleteen, Girls in Love, Magik Markers, Mohamed UFO, Mindflayer, Part Chimp, Japanther, and Hella. In San Francisco, some of the numerous examples include Deerhoof, Boxleitner, Erase Errata, So So Many White White Tigers, Total Shutdown, Numbers, Crack: We Are Rock, Burmese, and Pink & Brown. More examples of modern noise rock bands include No Age and Foot Village based in Los Angeles, Double Dagger, The New Flesh, and Ponytail from Baltimore, The Lowdown from Santa Cruz,[92] The Intelligence from Seattle, Pre, Part Chimp, Male Bonding, and Action Beat from the UK, The Maharajah Commission from Malaysia,[93] Japandroids from Vancouver, and AIDS Wolf from Montreal. In 2007, San Francisco's IAO Core announced that after 23 studio albums, they would only release recordings of their live performances, many of which are ritually located and time or date specific, and often several hours long. Experimental luthier Yuri Landman has experimented with a variety of extended techniques, with instruments created for the benefit of numerous groups in the scene, including Sonic Youth, Lightning Bolt, Liars, and Jad Fair.

The post 2000 noise rock often features tribal polyrhythmic drum patterns. Recent bands have carried on older traditions while branching out and furthering their theatrics. Bands such as Comparative Anatomy, Lightning Bolt, and The Locust are known for wearing outlandish costumes.[94]

2010s[edit]

Noise rock groups that are notable after 2010 include Roomrunner, Dope Body, Body/Head, Iceage, Guerilla Toss, Perfect Pussy, Whores, Girl Band, Nü Sensae, METZ, Disappears, Dumb Numbers, as well as new Japanese acts such as Nisennenmondai and Bo Ningen. In 2010 Daughters gained popularity while changing their sound to more of a noise rock one.

Labels[edit]

The following is a list of record labels that specialize in noise rock.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Allmusic Genre: Noise rock. [2] Access date: August 25, 2008. According to Allmusic, noise rock grew out of punk rock and was later brought to a wider alternative audience when pioneers Sonic Youth began to incorporate melody into their droning sound. Some bands like the Swans and Big Black, however, took a much darker, more threatening approach, while other bands as Royal Trux, Pussy Galore and Butthole Surfers used guitar noise to create a dirty, decadent and repulsive atmosphere.
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