I first got into noise music as a college student wandering the streets of New York City. The constant crush of sheer sound was both exhilarating and strangely calming, like the way white-noise is used to sooth infants and insomniacs. I remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to propel noise back out into the world. I couldn’t walk down the street without the screech of brakes piercing my eardrums, and I thought: this is war!
Nowadays I feel more attracted towards the idea of sound enveloping and coddling my poor rattled brain in a blanket of ambient comfort. I dream of throbbing pink-noise ecstactic transcendence. Warm waves of aural bliss.
Createdigitalmusic brought to my attention that today is the 100th anniversary of Luigi Russolo’s “Art of Noises” manifesto. A great reminder to finish reading 2 documents I have waiting in my Kindle app! One of which is the very manifesto I just mentioned, and the second being a very interesting book on Russolo and his dealings with the occult, Luigi Russolo: Futurist.
If you don’t know about Russolo:
Luigi Russolo was perhaps the first noise artist. His 1913 manifesto, L’Arte dei Rumori, translated as The Art of Noises, stated that the industrial revolution had given modern men a greater capacity to appreciate more complex sounds. Russolo found traditional melodic music confining and envisioned noise music as its future replacement.
He designed and constructed a number of noise-generating devices called Intonarumori and assembled a noise orchestra to perform with them. A performance of his Gran Concerto Futuristico (1917) was met with strong disapproval and violence from the audience, as Russolo himself had predicted.
Coincidentally, (though I am cognisant of so much syncronicity on a daily basis that I’m not sure I believe in coincidence), my wife and I were taking an afternoon stroll and somehow got onto the topic of how Noise is the only thing still capable of effecting a world numbed to music. I’m not even sure that’s true. As this very blog post attests, noise is nothing new. Big-name noise artists like Merzbow, Prurient or Kevin Drumm have all taken the idea to the Nth degree. Sure, Russolo’s concert caused a riot a century ago, but what would the reaction be today?
What do you think? Listen to some of Russolo’s work at Ubuweb and decide…