Noise
Future Music|Autumn 2021
With roots as far back as 1913, noise is the genre that’s also a state of mind

This month’s genre is also a technique, a style and a radical artistic philosophy. We never promised you that genres were simple.

Unlike most genres, the name ‘noise’ alone probably conjures a good mental image of what we’re talking about. The name has retrospectively been applied to more than half a century’s worth of experimental music which was known by different names at the time, but the common threads are exactly what you’re probably thinking: distortion, non-musical sounds, atonality and dissonance.

Let’s start with Italian Futurist artist Luigi Russolo’s 1913 manifesto L’Arte dei Rumori (‘The Art of Noises’), which posited that the modern human ear was bored by traditional musical sounds, and argued for a future in which industrial and artificial noises were considered art in themselves: “The variety of noises is infinite. If today, when we have perhaps a thousand different machines, we can distinguish a thousand different noises, tomorrow, as new machines multiply, we’ll be able to distinguish ten, twenty, or thirty thousand different noises, not merely in a simply imitative way, but to combine them according to our imagination.”

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