Noise rock

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Noise rock (sometimes called noise punk) [2] is a noise-oriented style of experimental rock [3] that spun off from punk rock in the 1980s. [4] [5] Drawing on movements such as minimalism, industrial music, and New York hardcore, [6] artists indulge in extreme levels of distortion through the use of electric guitars and, less frequently, electronic instrumentation, either to provide percussive sounds or to contribute to the overall arrangement. [4]

Noise music is a category of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect.

Experimental rock is a subgenre of rock music which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Contents

Some groups are tied to song structures, such as Sonic Youth. Although they are not representative of the entire genre, they helped popularize noise rock among alternative rock audiences by incorporating melodies into their droning textures of sound, which set a template that numerous other groups followed. [4]

Sonic Youth alternative rock band formed in New York, New York, United States

Sonic Youth was an American rock band based in New York City, formed in 1981. Founding members Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo remained together for the entire history of the band, while Steve Shelley (drums) followed a series of short-term drummers in 1985, rounded out the core line-up.

Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1980s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock. Although the genre evolved in the late 1970s and 1980s, music anticipating the sound of the genre can be found as early as the 1960s, with bands such as The Velvet Underground and artists such as Syd Barrett.

Characteristics

Noise rock fuses rock to noise, usually with recognizable "rock" instrumentation, but with greater use of distortion and electronic effects, varying degrees of atonality, improvisation, and white noise. One notable band of this genre is Sonic Youth who took inspiration from the no wave composers Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham. [7]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Atonality Music that lacks a tonal center or key

Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality, in this sense, usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day, where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale function independently of one another. More narrowly, the term atonality describes music that does not conform to the system of tonal hierarchies that characterized classical European music between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. "The repertory of atonal music is characterized by the occurrence of pitches in novel combinations, as well as by the occurrence of familiar pitch combinations in unfamiliar environments".

White noise random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies, giving it a constant power spectral density

In signal processing, white noise is a random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies, giving it a constant power spectral density. The term is used, with this or similar meanings, in many scientific and technical disciplines, including physics, acoustical engineering, telecommunications, and statistical forecasting. White noise refers to a statistical model for signals and signal sources, rather than to any specific signal. White noise draws its name from white light, although light that appears white generally does not have a flat power spectral density over the visible band.

Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore has stated: "Noise has taken the place of punk rock. People who play noise have no real aspirations to being part of the mainstream culture. Punk has been co-opted, and this subterranean noise music and the avant-garde folk scene have replaced it." [8]

Thurston Moore American guitarist

Thurston Joseph Moore is an American musician best known as a member of Sonic Youth. He has also participated in many solo and group collaborations outside Sonic Youth, as well as running the Ecstatic Peace! record label. Moore was ranked 34th in Rolling Stone's 2004 edition of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." In May 2012, Spin published a staff-selected list of the top 100 rock guitarists, and ranked Moore and his Sonic Youth bandmate Lee Ranaldo together at number 1.

History

The Velvet Underground have been credited with creating the first noise rock album in 1968. Velvet Underground 1968 by Billy Name.png
The Velvet Underground have been credited with creating the first noise rock album in 1968.

While the music had been around for some time, the term "noise rock" was coined in the 1980s to describe an offshoot of punk groups with an increasingly abrasive approach. [5] An archetypal album is the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat (1968). [9] [5] Treblezine's Joe Gross credits the "cult classic" with being the first noise rock album, accordingly, "perhaps it’s an obvious starting point, but it’s also the starting point. Period." [5]

The Velvet Underground American rock band

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise. The band was initially active between 1965 and 1973, and was briefly managed by the pop artist Andy Warhol, serving as the house band at the Factory and Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable events from 1966 to 1967. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, was released in 1967 to critical indifference and poor sales but has become critically acclaimed; in 2003, Rolling Stone called it the "most prophetic rock album ever made."

<i>White Light/White Heat</i> 1968 studio album by The Velvet Underground

White Light/White Heat is the second studio album by American rock band the Velvet Underground, released in 1968 by record label Verve. It was the band's last studio recording of new material with bassist and founding member John Cale.

While noise rock has never really had any mainstream popularity, the raw, distorted and feedback-intensive sound of some noise rock bands had an influence on grunge. Among them are Wisconsin's Killdozer, and most notably San Francisco's Flipper, a band known for its slowed-down and murky "noise punk". The Butthole Surfers' mix of punk, heavy metal and noise rock was a major influence, particularly on the early work of Soundgarden. [10]

Grunge is a rock music genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop and the region's underground music scene. By the early 1990s its popularity had spread, with grunge bands appearing in California, then emerging in other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.

Killdozer was an American rock band, formed in Madison, Wisconsin in 1983, with members Bill Hobson, Dan Hobson and Michael Gerald. They took their name from the 1974 TV movie, directed by Jerry London, itself based on a Theodore Sturgeon short story. They released their first album, Intellectuals are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite, in the same year. The band split in 1990 but reformed in 1993, losing guitarist Bill Hobson and gaining Paul Zagoras, and continued until they split up in 1996. Their farewell tour was officially titled "Fuck You, We Quit!", and included Erik Tunison of Die Kreuzen in place of Dan Hobson on drums and Jeff Ditzenberger on additional guitar. The band released nine albums, including a post-breakup live CD, The Last Waltz.

Flipper (band) American band

Flipper is an American rock band formed in San Francisco, California in 1979, continuing in often erratic fashion until the mid-1990s, then reuniting in 2005. The band influenced a number of grunge, punk rock and noise rock bands. Their slowed-down, bass-driven and heavily distorted style of punk is also considered a key forerunner to sludge, and influenced bands such as the Melvins and Nirvana, whose bass player Krist Novoselic played with the band in the 2000s.

Starting in the 1990s, noise punk developed mostly as a form of party music, with the band Lightning Bolt serving as key players in the 2000s noise punk scene in Providence, Rhode Island. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

No wave was a short-lived avant-garde music and art scene that emerged in the late 1970s in downtown New York City. Reacting against punk rock's recycling of rock and roll clichés, no wave musicians instead experimented with noise, dissonance and atonality in addition to a variety of non-rock genres, including free jazz and funk, while often reflecting an abrasive, confrontational and nihilistic worldview. In the later years of the scene, it adopted a more playful, danceable aesthetic inspired by disco, early hip hop, and world music sources.

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock. As grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream in the 1990s, it came to be used to identify those acts that retained an outsider and underground perspective. In the 2000s, as a result of changes in the music industry and the growing importance of the Internet, some indie rock acts began to enjoy commercial success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.

Dream pop is a subgenre of alternative rock and neo-psychedelia that developed in the 1980s. The style is typified by a preoccupation with sonic texture and atmosphere as much as melody. It often overlaps with the related genre of shoegazing, and the two genre terms have at times been used interchangeably.

Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1980s built on the post-punk and new wave movements, incorporating different sources of inspiration from subgenres and what is now classed as world music in the shape of Jamaican and Indian music. It also explored the consequences of new technology and social change in the electronic music of synthpop. In the early years of the decade, while subgenres like heavy metal music continued to develop separately, there was a considerable crossover between rock and more commercial popular music, with a large number of more "serious" bands, like The Police and UB40, enjoying considerable single chart success. The advent of MTV and cable video helped spur what has been seen as a Second British Invasion in the early years of the decade, with British bands enjoying more success in America than they had since the height of the Beatles' popularity in the 1960s. However, by the end of the decade a fragmentation has been observed, with many new forms of music and sub-cultures, including Hip Hop and House music, while the single charts were once again dominated by pop artists, now often associated with the Hi-NRG hit factory of Stock Aitken Waterman. The rise of the Indie rock scene was partly a response to this, and marked a shift away from the major music labels and towards the importance of local scenes like Madchester and subgenres, like gothic rock.

Proto-punk is the rock music played by garage bands from the 1960s to mid-1970s that presaged the punk rock movement. The phrase is a retrospective label; the musicians involved were generally not originally associated with each other, and came from a variety of backgrounds and styles, but together they anticipated many of punk's musical and thematic attributes.

Noise pop is a subgenre of alternative or indie rock that developed in the mid-1980s in the United Kingdom and United States. It is defined by its mixture of dissonant noise or feedback with the songcraft more often found in pop music. Shoegazing, another noise-based genre that developed in the 1980s, drew from noise pop.

Post-hardcore is a punk rock music genre that maintains the aggression and intensity of hardcore punk but emphasizes a greater degree of creative expression initially inspired by post-punk and noise rock. Like post-punk, the term has been applied to a broad constellation of groups. Post-hardcore began in the 1980s with bands like Hüsker Dü, Black Flag, and Minutemen. The genre expanded in the 1980s and 1990s with releases by bands from cities that had established hardcore scenes, such as Fugazi from Washington, D.C. as well as groups such as Big Black and Jawbox that stuck closer to post-hardcore's noise rock roots. In the 2000s, post-hardcore achieved mainstream success with the popularity of bands like My Chemical Romance, AFI,Underoath, Hawthorne Heights, The Used, At the Drive-In and Senses Fail. In the 2010s, post-hardcore bands like Sleeping With Sirens and Pierce the Veil achieved success and bands like Title Fight and La Dispute experienced underground popularity.

<i>White Light, White Heat, White Trash</i> 1996 studio album by Social Distortion

White Light, White Heat, White Trash is the fifth album by American punk rock band, Social Distortion, released on September 17, 1996, by 550 Music/Epic Records. The album was produced by Michael Beinhorn. White Light, White Heat, White Trash is the last Social Distortion studio album to feature guitarist Dennis Danell before his death on February 29, 2000. He did however appear on live album Live at the Roxy in 1998. It is also the band's last release on Epic Records. The album received Social Distortion's highest chart position at the time, entering the Billboard 200 album chart at #27. In the first week of its release, White Light, White Heat, White Trash sold 30,000 copies. Stylistically, the album is harder and considered a return to their punk roots.

Underground music musical genres beyond mainstream culture

Underground music comprises musical genres beyond mainstream culture. Any song that is not being legally commercialized is considered underground.

Punk blues music genre

Punk blues is a rock music genre that mixes elements of punk rock and blues. Punk blues musicians and bands usually incorporate elements of related styles, such as protopunk and blues rock. Its origins lie strongly within the garage rock sound of the 1960s and 1970s.

<i>The Word and the Flesh</i> 1991 studio album by Band of Susans

The Word and the Flesh is the third studio album and fourth album overall by American noise rock band Band of Susans. For the first time in the band's history, they were able to find a settled lineup to back up the band's core-line up of band leader Robert Poss, Susan Stenger and drummer Ron Spitzer, after Karen Higlof and Page Hamilton departed the band following the release of Love Agenda (1989). With Anne Husick and Mark Lonergan replacing them, the band entered their "classic line-up" and recording The Word and the Flesh in New York City in spring 1990, with Poss acting as producer.

Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. These communities produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.

Steven Blush is an American author, journalist, record collector and film maker who is best known for his book American Hardcore and the movie of the same name. Blush has written five books, is the founder of Seconds magazine and has written articles for many magazines. Two of his books have been made into movies. Blush's work mainly specializes in hardcore punk music.

References

  1. Gardner, Noel (March 30, 2016). "The Sound Of Impact: Noise Rock In 1986". The Quietus. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  2. Felix 2010, p. 172.
  3. Osborn, Brad (October 2011). "Understanding Through-Composition in Post-Rock, Math-Metal, and other Post-Millennial Rock Genres*". Music Theory Online . 17 (3).
  4. 1 2 3 "Noise Rock". AllMusic . Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Terich, Jeff. "Hold On To Your Genre : Noise Rock". Treblezine .
  6. Blush 2016, p. 266.
  7. "Rhys Chatham", Kalvos-Damien website. (Accessed 20 October 2009).
  8. Sisario, Ben (December 2, 2004). "The Art of Noise". Spin .
  9. Gross, Joe (April 2007). "Essentials: Noise Rock". Spin . 23 (4).
  10. Azerrad (2001), p. 439.[ full citation needed ]
  11. Sisario, Ben (December 2, 2004). "The Art of Noise". Spin .

Sources