This program draws parallels between various approaches to playing Noise and Metal. Although distorted riffs and guitar feedback play a major role in Metal, it is not generally in search of the chaotic sound signatures of Noise. The latter tend only to provide background in Metal, against which compositional rigor and the players’ precision can stand out all the more dramatically. This is quite different from Noise where the chaotic overlaying of the greatest possible amount of interference, feedback, distortion, buzzing, crackle, drone and their often unpredictable permutations is the actual material of the music. Despite this, since the advent of Black Metal’s preference for rich overtones in the high-frequencies, noise has become increasingly important in Metal – doubtless the fundamental reason why the marriage of Noise and Metal is currently producing so many exciting projects. Yet other influences are also helping catalyze new developments: the tendency to abstraction for example, or the transmutability of Jazz, or narrative elements taken from Folk and Gothic.
Differences notwithstanding, Noise and Metal are driven by many similarities: the physical sensation of sound intensity taken to the highest extreme, complete immersion in sound, aggressively confronting the audience with a massive wall of sound. The extreme tension between amorphous chaos and rigorous control, between eruptive noise and precise composition, between devotion and control fantasies, creates the special experience of both genres, in terms the sound and the absorbing dramaturgy. Above all, Metal and Noise musicians love to stage themselves as tamers of the destructive, dark forces embodied in sound.
If sound is conceived as fluid and malleable, Noise musicians embrace it unconditionally, wrestling to give it form, never resting and yet never quite able to – and not willing to – completely win the upper hand. The struggle is everything. In contrast, the Metal musician, draws slightly more authority by maintaining a degree of distance. As in a necromantic legend, the fluid forms into matter before him, writhing, spitting and spraying while he plunges violently into its innards.
Metal and Noise: each is in search of an ecstatic catharsis, of purification by sound.