The Difficult Pleasures of Noise Music

I prefer noise music live. Part of the experience is feeling the sound in your whole body so recordings only give you a very small part of it. Once I went to a drone noise show that was inside a giant corrugated metal half pipe set in the middle of some kind of industrial park in Oakland. The vibrations were incredible. Sometimes it’s so loud and chaotic it can make you feel nauseated. Sometimes it can make your skin tremble.

Part of the experience is being in a room full of other people who are weird enough to willingly subject themselves to this stuff.

Finally, it’s being in a place where it’s too loud to think, listening to sounds that are somewhat painful, or at least not advertised as fun, and the only way to not experience it as pain is to be very present or to drift into a trance state, both of which are things I enjoy.

It’s not for everybody. I’ve always been xenophilic, so if something was weird I had to try it, especially music.

I got into noise music via industrial, which can get pretty noisy, but I felt betrayed that most industrial was not industrial noises at all. Someone suggested that if I wanted real noise I should listen to Merzbow. I was living in NYC at the time so I went to Generation Records or Other Music and got whatever they had at the store, which happened to be Mort Aux Vaches: Locomotive Breath.

I used to listen to it when I couldn’t get to sleep. It hurt less than my thoughts.

The world was so overwhelming, and you can’t turn NYC off, and I couldn’t turn my brain off, so I found something louder than either.