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Noise music
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Noise music

Noise music is a term that succinctly sums up this genre by its name alone. Noise music is loosely related to industrial, sharing its DIY ethos, independence and ethic of using "non-musical" sources. Often punishing and abrasive, Noise music can be difficult listening, ranging from the free-form extreme electronic music of Whitehouse and Merzbow to the more sculptured sounds of Otomo Yoshihide.

Fans of the genre distinguish between "pure noise", with essentially no structure, and "rhythmic noise", which contains elements of conventional musical structure, especially rhythm. Many industrial and electronic artists incorporate noise elements into their work.

The genre became popular in Japan, with a large following in Tokyo and Osaka. Musicians such as the aforementioned Merzbow, Otomo Yoshihide and other names like KK Null, Masonna, The Gerogerigegege and Hanatarash (founded by Boredoms frontman, Yamataka Eye) have made this nation something of a mecca for this style.

Another form of music has come out of noise, fusing rock to noise, aptly entitled noise rock. Some bands included in this genre are Melt-Banana and The Boredoms.

Lou Reed's double-LP album Metal Machine Music released in 1975 is an early, well known example of noise music. Despite speculation that Reed intended it only as a way to get released from his record contract, he himself insists (for what this is worth) that he was "very serious" about this work. Certainly Lou Reed must have been familiar with the work his Velvet Underground cohort John Cale had done with electronic drone music with artists such as Tony Conrad and LaMonte Young in the mid-60s (see the CD release of Inside the Dream Syndicate Volume 1: Day of Niagra).

In recent years European musicians associated with jazz, electronica and black metal have been active in the Noise music arena. In Canada the Nihilist Spasm Band has been performing acoustic-based noise music for decades. In the early 1990s, the noise operas of Lisa Crystal Carver and Costes in Suckdog placed a new emphasis on drama and histrionics in noise music. This led, in part, to Chicago's free glam movement adding an emphasis on cultural and social dissonance to the concept of noise music.

Sound sample

See also

EBM - Old-school EBM - Futurepop - Hardcore - Noise

Electronic art music
Musique concrète - Noise

Electronic music | Genres
Ambient | Breakbeat | Electronica | Electronic art music | House | Techno | Trance | Industrial | Synth pop