Paul Hegarty: “Noise Music: A History”

Paul Hegarty is a philosophy lecturer at University College Cork, with an interest in what he wouldn't call the genre of noise (“music”). A book either giving a history of noise's development, or an exegesis of its socio-philosophical implications would have been interesting. Unfortunately, this is neither.

The opening chapter sets off at a fine intellectual gallop "for Kant ... for Russolo. for Cage... Attali too. As... Ardono" – this is from a single page! Elsewhere, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bataille, Hegel et al. All appear… a little too like the first attempt at a doctorial thesis, then in later chapters citation either runs out completely or revolves around another of Hegarty's interests – Adorno on Jazz, but not the Jazz here, (and why Jazz?). Bataille on Sade. There are inclusions – too many: Improv, Punk, The Grateful Dead, Prog Rock! and self confessed notable exclusions – and others not Reich's pendulum music Lou Reed's “Metal Machine”, The Gamelan, Harry Partch. The whole New Zealand phenomenon.

How Hegarty gets away with this derives from two of his arguments, first that anything can potentially be called "noise", as in his long example of Yes's Tales of Topographic Oceans – well yes! –, but no mention then of Abba or Mantovarni. And secondly, that the avant-garde in music has often been described pejoratively in its beginnings as “noise”, or, as in the famous case of Sir Thomas Beecham, as shit – but this is beside the point. The point being "noise" applies to a particular phenomenon in music as an identifier and not a critique (Pop Art is not Pop Art because it is or was “popular”).

We know, and Hegarty certainly does, that such games can be played with definitions – this is Wittgenstein's famous “game”. To conflate the genre of noise, the “thing” with the same word applied as an attribute or subjective opinion of any music or sound is something of what I would call an ontological mistake of the first order. Or is it a strategy because it allows Hegarty to discuss any artist he wants to.

For instance, the space given to Cage and his silences – relevant by being irrelevant to the point of being a binary opposite – he might say? When after several chapters we get to actual Japnoise, and a further chapter on Merzbow, the irrelevance of much what went before becomes obvious. But here Hegarty fails to deliver what the patient reader might want – might expect, a detailed account – it’s all apologies. «This chapter will not so much deal with the specificity of noise music from Japan».

He then goes on to a consideration of McLuchan on globalization, to raise the question: «what kind of world is in or behind world music». «World music»? I'm confused? This is a very confused history, and one which fails to pick up on the development of noise from Japan back to the USA and Europe, where it has been taken up as a definite genre, having its own festivals, labels, retail outlets both on and off-line, and even now its own proto-industry of designed and manufactured devices marketed by such as noisefx.com.

Widespread broadcasting on US University campus's and across Europe as radio and webcasts, of dedicated websites to the promotion of noise labels such as PacRec, artists like Wiesse and The Rita.

As a history the book this is chronology flawed, as a serious study the attempt to buttress certain artists (irrelevant to the genre in many cases) by relationships to certain philosophers seems strained. The book lacks structure and appears more like a set of articles, some written in an academic style, others not.

A detailed chronology, discology would have been useful. Works are referred to where perhaps a copy of the score might have been illuminating, even some pictures would help what is aesthetically a remarkably dull book. An accompanying CD or at least pointers to MP3s on an associated site would also have helped. I think that there is a sufficient body of material, artists, events, labels, online and actual retail outlets, manufacturers, chronologies and general dissemination of what can be called noise to warrant a study which does not piggy back on to it philosophical critiques of Cage, Jazz, Prog Rock, Punk and Rap, amongst others. Unfortunately, that's what Hegarty appears to do.

Maybe we can justify such irrelevance in this communication (of a history of noise music) as being itself yet another example of “noise”, but the genre of noise music is nothing to do with the unwarranted junk found in communication, or if it is, how is it, and why is it?

[Book by Continuum > hagshadow@hotmail.com]

jliat / Vital Weekly



No seguimento da idêntica iniciativa já levada a cabo no ano transacto, o Projecto Videolab, em conjunto com o Laboratório de Artes Criativas e a Área 55, vai promover, nos dias 1, 2 e 3 de Novembro, o VIDEOLAB LAGOS 2007.

A grande novidade da presente edição é a substituição de sessões de âmbito generalista por sessões dedicadas ao tema "Imagem-Corpo".

Neste sentido, o VIDEOLAB LAGOS 2007 é composto por três sessões com diferentes abordagens ao "Corpo", e por um conjunto de quatro instalações vídeo, a decorrer no Espaço Jovem e no Laboratório de Artes Criativas, respectivamente.

Shadow's veil

without face
but the spirit is containe

The darkness has always divited the souls. Quiet's zone or infinite space which become claustrophobic. A shadow's veil can make stand out hidden beauties, alter the appearance by sudden and improbable plays of light and shade.

But how look the reality when a shadow's veil is imposed? How each matter which separates, however thin and intangible (it's devastating the psychological shadow's violence), the result is always transformed in a limit which sketches visual fields and of action, where the imposition enfeebles the freedom. The inner and the outside undergo alterations which can condition both the individual and the community.

Maybe only stimulating to the maximum our sensibility we can try to break that detachment which makes us silent observers.

[Shadow's veil - art & social instalation]

A text by Ruggero Maggi
Photos + Image: R.R


Interview: Beequeen

Kings of the sound beehive

Freek Kinkelaar, Frans de Waard and Olga Wallis

When talking of dutch alternative music, it is just impossible to detour from Beequeen, and, consequently, one of its creative halves, Frans de Waard. Which also means approaching other projects and subjects. GPInformation has the pleasure to present the direct speech of its favourite collaborator.

First than all, a contextualization. When, where and why did the Beequeen project began?
Frans de Waard (FdW): We met in 1988, when Freek [Kinkelaar] contacted me believing I was a hardcore Legendary Pink Dots fanatic. Little did he know. We did share a taste in adventurous music though and soon we found ourselves listening to cassettes filled with strange music for hours. Not long after that we met up. We decided it would be a good idea to see if we could produce music together. This became the “Mappa Mundi” cassette.

Which are the main concepts behind Beequeen's sound work?
FdW: There isn't a concept as such. Beequeen is about two people making music together. As our lives, environments or musical tastes change, the music changes as well. This makes Beequeen a bit like a soundtrack to our lives.

Taking in account the longevity of Beequeen's career, which are the clearest evolutions and differences you would point in its production, throughout the years?
FdW: Probably the clearest evolution (also for the listener) would be after we'd produced “Treatise”, and we realised we could make music like that for ever if we wanted to. We didn't, so we let our love for the "song" influence our music. Thus “Ownliness”, and then “The Body Shop”, were born. Another – perhaps more subtle – changing point for us was when we did “The Surrough Gate”, which was a definite step forward when it came to recording and composing.

How is to work to another person – in this case Freek Kinkelaar – for such a long time?
FdW: Actually I work with more people, like Peter Duimelinks and Roel Meelkop, and also for quite some time, so it's not odd. I like to work with people who do something else than I do, or can play a real instrument. Freek can really play a tune or two. I can't.

Surely you are two very different persons. How do those differences reflect in Beequeen's final result?
FdW: We are indeed very different persons, but we also share quite a lot. We do have a long history together. There are times when we annoy each other profusely, but we also make up a lot and have a lot of fun together. We've known each other for 19 years, so we know a lot about each other. It is a bit like a marriage.

You never were a "one-project man". What side work are you maintaining these days, besides Beequeen?
FdW: I do Goem solo these days, since we have a hard time finding time to work as a trio. I do Freiband and a bit of work under my own name. Not much.

The dutch avant-garde/experimental/outer limits scenario was always quite interesting (with Staalplaat being, probably, its strongest "magnet"). What’s your vision on the role that you – Frans de Waard – had and still have on that same cultural scenario, through your activities?
FdW: Hardly, I think. I am not part of any scene. To some scenes remotely and do things, but more on a consulting level than on creative level, like some of the “work” I do for Extrapool, in Nijmegen. But I am not part of the noise scene or the official avant-garde posse. We (Beequeen, Kapotte Muziek and its varying members) are all outsiders, I guess.

On the other hand, how do you, as a citizen, see the present days in The Netherlands, both from the artistic and social points of view? Has the country changed?
FdW: The populist movement is quite strong, but people have very little understanding of the word “freedom”, whereas they call for new oppression. Not for themselves but for others. Sad, but the case. I am sure it will change in the future. No repression is ever lasting.

Beequeen's technically flawed show at Nancy, France

Focusing on sound production, what is Beequeen preparing for the near future?

FdW: We are currently working on the final mixes of the new Beequeen studio CD, entitled “Sanddancing”. This is an evolvement of our work with “Ownliness” and “The Body Shop”. We are both very excited about “Sanddancing”. It is probably the best of this trilogy.

Can you advance some more details on the "Sanddancing" production, as well as on its sound?
FdW: It's not a unified thing. It's a new album, the third more pop, like one. Like with “The Bodyshop”, we gave the rough recordings to Erik Drost, former guitarist of the Legendary Pink Dots to shape it, take out some unwanted hiss, put things in its place and mix it. “The Bodyshop” was already great, but this new one is more a unified whole thing.

What are you planning for your other projects?
FdW: I'd love to do a new Goem CD, when I have time to work on it. Roel and me completed a CD as Zebra which nobody wants to release. Roel, me, Guiseppe Ielasi and Howard Stelzer will have a CD on Port, in Japan. Beta-Lactam Ring is supposed to release five CDs from me (three as Freiband, one as Shifts and one as Frans de Waard), but it's unclear when that will happen. And I started to release CDRs again under My Own Little Label, which I think is great fun.

Are you releasing just your own work, or do you also publish other artists?
FdW: Well, if I wanted to release other people's work on My Own Little Label, I would have surely called it Our Own Little Label, which I didn't. My = me = me. And, oh, there are releases from very close friends who have as little faith in the music industry as me, such as Roel Meelkop. I even will release shortly a business card CDR from my eight year old daughter, who did some field recordings and composed a small piece of it. Korm Plastics and Plinkity Plonk will, of course, continue to release music from others.

Speaking of other persons, you once mentioned to have being involved in the return of Steven Stapleton/Nurse with Wound to live performances. What can you say on that?
FdW: I worked in 2004 and 2006 for the Earational festival, and it wasn't my action, but the festival director got Steve out of his place and present a surround sound mix of “Salt Marie Celeste”, by Colin Potter. Now they are everywhere, but nobody credits Earational. They also did the comeback of The Hafler Trio in 2003, but then also there others take the credit.

This last question brings us to your own live presentations. How would you describe a Beequeen concert, if possible?
FdW: We play once a year, so what can I describe? Two guys on stage, one plays a laptop and one a guitar. We don't dance around.

Nuno Loureiro
Photos: R.R.

This interview is also available at Chain D.L.K.


Artur Lasoñ

A mística do som

Artur Lasoñ

Compositor e executante de música electrónica computorizada, jornalista, docente, terapeuta, místico.

Todas estas actividades resumem (talvez de forma sumária) a carreira – já com cerca de 20 anos – de Artur Lasoñ, tão multifacetada como a personalidade artística de alguém que privilegia a descoberta interior em detrimento dos holofotes da notoriedade pública.

A discrição adoptada por Lasoñ não invalida, porém, que tenha vindo a participar em vários eventos, nomeadamente os mais importantes festivais de música electrónica realizados na Polónia [ZEF – Zlot Elektronicznych Fanatyków (Gathering of Electronic Fanatics) e Bliskie Spotkania z Muzyka Science Fiction (Close Encounters with SF Music)], assim como a Nocne Czekanie na UFO (The Night Awaiting for an UFO) e os Miedzynarodowe Spotkania Muzyczne – Ambient 2000 (Internacional Music Meetings). Aqui, teve lugar a apresentação ao vivo que se constituiria, porventura, como a mais marcante da sua carreira, quando interpretou uma peça improvisada em conjunto com Hans-Joaquim Roedelius, figura lendária da kosmische muzik, que integrou projectos como Kluster, Cluster ou Harmonia. «Foi um evento maravilhoso», recorda.

Roedelius e Lasoñ

Numa vertente mais interdisciplinar, promoveu em 1999 a série de espectáculos “MMM – Music, Multimedia, Mysticism”, acolhida pelo Museu da Ásia e Pacífico, em Varsóvia.

A docência é outra das vertentes onde Artur Lasoñ explora a relação entre mente e som. Desde 1996, ensina Ecologia da Mente e Técnicas de Meditação, cooperando ainda com a publicação “Cwzarty Wymiar” (“Fourth Dimension”), onde escreve sobre músicos que inspiram o seu trabalho em experiências meditativas e metafísicas.

A carreira jornalística começou, porém, três anos antes, quando passou a assinar a coluna “Moogazyn”, primeiro na revista “Enter”, e, posteriormente, na “Estrada & Studio” (“Stage & Studio”). O lado técnico desta análise materializar-se-ia num livro para principiantes no uso da tecnologia na música: “Introduction to a MIDI – Or let’s drift along the right channel”.


Misticismo e meditação não são materializados, necessariamente, em música new age. A esta, Artur Lasoñ contrapõe o conceito new rage, que explica no álbum “Hue Rage Music”, editado pela sua própria etiqueta, FEMME - For Electronic & Meditative Music Evolution. «Se a arte não estimula, causa indiferença – como uma parede nua para a qual não se olha, porque foi construída com um outro propósito», afirma, metaforizando: «Implica evitar o esforço, como uma cadeira onde se senta porque o chão está meio metro abaixo. Isso mata a imaginação».

A “raiva” proclamada por Lasoñ, contudo, não se reflecte directamente no produto sonoro final, que oscila entre o ambient, a electroacústica e a simples composição melódica. Em causa está um inconformismo imaginativo, fruto da miríade de universos percorridos. Na música e na mente.

Nuno Loureiro
Fotografias: D.R.


RAMsilver: “Songs for Love & Destruction”

A alg-a lançou recentemente online o álbum “Songs for Love & Destruction”, o primeiro trabalho do projecto RAMsilver, anteriormente conhecido como Subgenio.

Estas “Songs for Love & Destruction” são compostas por 11 temas de «fragmentación sonora, ruído e velocidades, digital hardcore, glitch e noise».

> english

Alg-a has recently released online the “Songs for Love & Destruction" album, the first work by RAMsilver, previously known as Subgenio.

These “Songs for Love & Destruction” are composed by 11 tracks of «fragmented sounds, noise and velocities, digital hardcore, glitch and noise».


People Like Us: "Honeysuckle Boulevard" em MP3

A notícia já não é nova, mas é sempre útil. O (já esgotado) 10" "Honeysuckle Boulevard", de People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz, está disponível para download no site do projecto de Vicky Bennett ou, em alternativa, no blogue da WFMU.

O ficheiro inclui ainda dois temas extra – "Social Folk Dance" e "Bad Restaurant Boogie" –, assim como uma reprodução do trabalho gráfico original e um texto informativo.

Entretanto, Vicki e Ergo estão a trabalhar numa série especialmente produzida para podcast, que será concluída no próximo ano.

Fotografia + Imagem: People Like Us


V/A: “Elffriede Soundrawing”

The musical pieces, all 34 on the CD, were inspired by the drawings made by Austrian Elffriede, a visual artist. Her drawings are in a simple style, almost cartoon/comic like, but with words, in German and Dutch (the 7" sized booklet was printed by Knust/Extrapool in lovely Nijmegen), which have a poetic character.

There is, I think, quite an uniform character among the drawings/text, which is important to keep in mind when we listen to the music. Elffriede asked 34 musicians to make a musical piece, inspired by her drawings.

These pieces are by a wide variety of musicians, operating in many styles. From Phill Niblock, Murmer, Jgrzinich to Incite, Jörg Piringer to Wohnzimmer, Zemmler which means from pure soundscape and serious composition to click/beat to naive lo-fi songs on cheap keyboards and acoustic instruments. It's a bit hard to like them all, I think, but I thought of it as a radio program: you switch it on and start listening to whatever comes, and things may not always have a relation.

Elffriede's book may serve as the program guide, which you can flip through when playing the CD, or simply put aside when you are done with it, and continue to enjoy the music, picking it up every now and then.

[CD/Book by Transacoustic Research]

Frans de Waard / Vital Weekly