Yesterday I linked to a video of a live concert performance by a classic rock-and-roll instrumental group The Shadows. Today, I want to discuss a really recent phenomenon.
I am of the age that grew up with rock-and-roll. When it took the world by storm, many of our elders scorned it, saying that it was not ‘real’ music of the kind sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, which were melodious and tuneful. “What is that noise?” was their cry. Of course the difference between music and noise was clear even then. We knew it and so did our elders and but alleging that this new form of music was indistinguishable from noise was convenient as a put-down.
But I recently came across what is known as ‘harsh static’ or ‘harsh noise’ music that deliberately seeks to blur the line between music and noise by creating music that seems almost indistinguishable from the sounds we associate with static noise. It is apparently a sub-genre of something known as ‘noise wall’.
I learned about it from our university’s student newspaper The Observer that reported that a programmer at our student-run campus radio station, who apparently liked to play such music, quit in a huff because the station’s general manager had asked him to stop doing so because of complaints she had received from listeners who were wondering why they were getting so much static when they tuned in.
So what does this music sound like? Listen to performer Merzbow and his piece Woodpecker No. 1.