17 September 2009

Chasing That Monday Blues Away: Nihilist Spasm Band's Proto-Noise Musings - Is There A Noise Continuum? Part 5

Feeling that Monday blues and not sure what to do to rid yourself of that dreaded feeling? Try picking up an instrument, find a few friends, locate a friendly venue and jam. This was what kick-started the non-career of the group of un-self-conscious folks in Canada way back in 1966 (The band was, however, formed earlier in 1965). The most distinctive sound of the band is the kazoo and of course the joyous noise-making which has been documented since 1967 and a year later, the band released their debut album, entitled "No Record" to almost universal neglect but over the years a few heads did chance upon it and picked it up...

The noise of NSB (their preferred acronym) is about a celebratory human communal activity of interaction, buddy-hood and all-round good-time vibe. Nothing about subverting the powers-to-be, no ambition beyond the need to express themselves in a small town in North America and most important of all, no thoughts about "making it" at the end of the day. The fact that they are now revered by many underground freaks and noise connoisseurs all over the world validated the non-vision of this collective: that more so than Punk, they are doing it themselves and doing it right.The fusion of jazz, primitive rock moves and folk-inflected improvisations of the NSB just sound so ahead of their times that put many current "hip" acts to shame with their measured and calculated manoeuvers.

Noise as freedom, as expression and as a resolutely non-careerist move (actually many amongst the group are professionals in their work life, e.g. one of them is a doctor)should give us the inspiration to do something about our life of merely consuming and consuming. In its own way, NSB's noise can be more subversive than the more self-ruminative musicians/music critics/fans as it taps into the basic human instinct to simply go out there to create.

Go to NSB to find out more about them.

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