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Introduction: Noise In-Itself

Like an ear-shattering car bomb on acres of desolation, the room fills with static and feedback. Onlookers watch silently, wading through an all-but-tangible cesspool of sound. Don’t make eye contact.
       Though often perceived as a child of the futurist art movement, “noise music” has possibly existed for as long “music”. More akin to primal spiritual sound than classical and popular genres, perhaps humans basked in noise before they resonated with music. Shrouded in mystery and nonentity, noise has wormed its way through culture since it began. An abstraction, an antithesis, an exorcism, noise unspools chaos from order.
       As the genre finds its way to more ears than ever before, the ultimate question remains: Can anti-music usurp mainstream attention in an organized society? If so, what sort of world is left in its wake? We’ve observed countless times that “life imitates art.” In his 1985 work, “Noise: The Political Economy of Music,” social theorist Jacques Attali writes: “Music now seems to be more than a little clumsy excuse for the self-glorification of musicians and the growth of a new industrial sector.” He then offers noise as a predictor of social change, a new code that frees the listener from institutional meaning and allows each to create or derive personal meanings. Part nihilism, part existentialism, and part anarchism, we arrive at the sound of a new age. Though darkness clouds this age, hope shines through in the experience of creating sound and not in the sound itself. NOUMENOISE will focus similarly, discussing methods, influences, and ideologies behind the sounds and not their result. NOUMENOISE will not advertise products such as albums, tapes, or digital releases, but will focus a wider perspective on what the movement represents in philosophical, spiritual, and sociopolitical contexts, starting with upstate New York, a strange habitat for a life in noise, and eventually, beyond.

written by Jesse James Kaufman


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