22 February 2010

Boxes of Noise

Is it just me or has Noise been more and more recognised as a valid genre of music in its own right with its attendant canon of artists who are now receiving their belated accolades via deluxe box sets, radio programmes and even a conference (coming up in July this year, more on it later)? Just last year alone, we have the Hijokaidan 30 CD retrospective behemoth set which, I think, came second due to the existence of the unbeatable 50 CD Merbox released back in 2000. Incapacitants, another Noise veterans also have a 1990s overview set unleashed last year, and it is now out of print. Government Alpha, a second generation Jap Noise act has its due saluted with a 4 CD box too.

Then this year, a 6 LP/DVD set has just been released of seminal noise 'out'fit from the Los Angeles Free Music Society axis, Smegma, from the 1970s/1980s. Sudden Infant, the mainstay of the Schimpfluch Gruppe, has also been canonised with a 2 volume 4 LP set out this month. Whew! And I am just talking about the sets which I am aware of. Hefty.

This somehow goes to support my feeling that Noise is now a proper, valid genre on its own: unlike a decade ago when Noise had been discussed as any form of musical/cultural fission of the status quo/musical practices/mindset which can range from Elvis to punk, it now has its own set of past progenitors and current practitioners. With record shops like Tochnit Aleph being one of the key flagship shops promoting and selling all things Noise as well as others, which champion the cause of Noise as a genre (Volcanic Tongue, Second Layer, for example)loudly on their websites.

Actually late last year, after I have found out that Salford University is organising a conference on Noise, I decided to crystalise some of my ideas about Noise in a proposal for the conference on, yes, Noise as a musical genre with a distinct past, present and future, as well as peripheral auxillary support network of record labels, magazines and festivals. I will be sharing some of my ideas for the proposed paper in this space in the near future.

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