“Noise music is a category consisting of multiple discrete genres of music that have employed noise as a musical resource.
It includes a wide range of musical styles, and sound based creative practices, that feature noise as a primary aspect. It can feature acoustically or electronically generated noise, and both traditional and unconventional musical instruments. It may incorporate live machine sounds, non-musical vocal techniques, physically manipulated audio media, processed sound recordings, field recordings, computer generated noise, stochastic processes and other randomly produced electronic signals such as distortion, feedback, static, hiss and hum. There may also be emphasis on high volume levels and lengthy, continuous pieces. More generally noise music may contain aspects such as improvisation, extended technique, cacophony and indeterminacy, and in many instances conventional use of melody, harmony, rhythm and pulse is often dispensed with….”
Yeah, BDSR uses all of that stuff, with the possible exception of “stochastic processes” which I don’t know what that means. Nevertheless, any true fan of Noise would surely agree that BDSR is not that. In the early days, we accepted that label, knowing it wasn’t accurate, because it seemed easier than trying to explain the difference between Noise and noisy, chaotic, mostly improvisational and often poorly executed experimental music. You want noise – check out Merzbow, Whitehouse or Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. That’s Noise.
BDSR is, for lack of a better pigeonhole, experimental. Sometimes, the experiments don’t work, but that’s the nature of experiments. However, in contrast with Noise, BDSR uses deliberate tunings, modes, riffs, melodies, rhythm and structure. Surely, these things are frequently masked by layers of feedback, buried under drones and marred by technical failures, but they are there. We are firmly and assuredly attempting music, not Noise. (Note, I use the editorial “we” when referring to BDSR.)
Noise is great stuff. We have learnt much from it. We dig it, though we do find some aspects of it to be unfortunate. Like all established genres, Noise suffers from being an established genre, which is to say, it is narrowly confining. There is a “right” way to do Noise. Certain elements are expected; others verboten. Most troubling, Noise tends to have a visual aspect that is misogynist, to say the least: women in bondage, women in compromising positions, women as objects and objects of abuse. Noise titles – band, song, recording titles – frequently glorify or ridicule rape or other forms of violence. This is shit which BDSR cannot abide or condone. Nudity and sexuality are good and great things and we have employed and enjoyed both and we’re not pacifists, violence does have its place, but never, no, not ever, have we used exploitive imagery, nor will we.
This is not to say that BDSR will never release a Noise cd or cassette. At this writing, no such project is in the works, but we have put out a cd-length download of plunderphonics, Breakfast In Amorica, and a cd of acoustic guitar noodlings, Cat Shit Ananda. Another download, Ukiyo, was described by the label that released it as having “kind of a HM distortion black metal sound”; our cd Ghost Dance Party Hits is pure drone, as are several other pieces we’ve contributed to compilations, of which we’re most proud of our rendition of “Amazing Grace” on Droning Earth Vol. 35; and Pagan Futility Ritual is a single drum track, manipulated very slightly. Our “Beng Dreng In Me Skeng Releng” is thirty-plus minutes of samples piled on a dancehall reggae rhythm. The concept behind The High Lonesome Zounds Of… was the what-if a 1919 stringband tried to do harsh Noise. That one came off pretty hard to sit through, but in no way comparable to anything by the Haters or New Blockaders. We have long threatened to execute a piano-based onkyo-ma piece (that our piano is currently part of a local forest ecosystem may make that one more ma than onkyo).Given this history of dabbling in the realm of unpopular musics, it wouldn’t be surprising if we put together a release of manipulated lawnmower roar and feedback skree, titled it Metal Machine Muslim and found a Noise label to put it out. But we still wouldn’t be a Noise band. We might just as likely beg, borrow and/or steal an accordion and a tuba, the use of which would not make us a Polka combo.
Noise isn’t likely to become popular anytime soon, but there was a happy time when punk seemed firmly beyond the pale and that shite has now been castrated, defanged and sanitized by the mainstream music machine. Fame is something BDSR has no need of or desire for. Ours is a religion which flourishes best in the dark, deep depths of the underground, down in the ground where the dead men grow, where the rumblings of Mother Earth’s guts round out the low end of our chthonic sonics. If and when Noise becomes co-opted and Masonna teams with Madonna for a Superbowl half-time show, BDSR will still be prowling the musique concrete alleys of the experimental ghetto, rattling beads in coffee-cans, mindbending steel strings and channeling the glossalalias of the ancestral ghosts, and calling it a joyful noise, not Noise.