Caught Emeralds and Caribou at The Clubhouse last night. Both blew my mind.
I’ve been searching for music that fits the my “Phoenix” season in life. I think I’ve found it, with electronic / ambient / noise.
Let me preface this by a humble admission that I’m new to these genres, myself.
Noise is the music that we imagine we’ll listen to in the future — but never will. We imagine it because we possess these odd utopian images of future humanity–constructed by Hollywood–and characterized by emotional restraint–precise emotional restraint–smart, well tailored dress, and a cool objectivity. Most of which is bullshit. I don’t doubt that our environments will continue to evolve–the iPad on the sofa definitely seems like a device straight out of the future, not to mention the microwave. But we won’t. We’ll be very much the same sloven, depraved, ambitious bunch then we are now. We’ll be ever bit as human. And we’ll be listening to country music and overproduced hip-hop, not noise. As much as we fancy the notion that everyone will listen to noise in 2020. I suspect our future to be much of the technologically infused back-woods nowhere of Firefly than the intellectually refined future of A.I.. (Who knows? In 2060, this blog will be here. I’ll check back then–let you know how my predictions panned out.)
But noise. Check out this gradient: white noise, traffic noise, noise. Or, extended: white noise, traffic noise, noise, ambient, electronic, electro-pop, hip-hop, pop, 97.1, KISS FM.
That’s what noise is. It’s the distillation of the melodies and harmonies of modern society. Of a thousand billboards, TV specials, magazines, advertisements, people–bumping, shoving, pushing, loving. It’s a hundred thousand honking horns and screeching tires, distilled into its essence: the rhythms and motions of humanity.
I imagine noise being created in an urban basement (the five C’s–cash, car, credit-card, condominium and country-club membership). The disaffected, seizing their environment–something mechanized, distant, cement, plastic–and producing something of dissident, revolutionary quality.
And, to listen to it, noise really is dissident. It’s an intellectual manifesto. An out-and-out condemnation or endorsement of our modern age. It’s something. It’s a natural response to blogs and Blackberrys. It embraces or it excoriates. I can’t say which.
But it’s eminently modern. It’s eminently now. It’s something you can connect to–if only for its embodiment of a lack of connect. Or, of the supplanting of digital connection for human connection.
Emeralds played for 45 minutes without pause, break, or respite.
It strikes me how much “electronic” is created with “real” instruments. Played on guitars, on drums. It’s not a cold, calculating compilation using Pro Tools. It’s a felt, hammered, slid, drummed expression. It’s immediate. The sound of the guitar–thrice distorted–may not be recognizable. But its human genesis absolutely is.